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The Galloping Gardener

"It's necessary to cultivate your garden," Voltaire wrote in Candide.

Your garden might be your job, your family or the US budget (if you were the US President or a Senator, say). In Charlotte Weychan's case, her garden is her blog website, The Galloping Gardener. She writes and photographs the best of British gardens on a daily basis. And "gardens don't get much better than here in the United Kingdom in the summer months!"

An author, photographer and traveller who searches the world for new gardens, Charlotte brings us to gardens which restore our spirits. Here is a part of her post on the little-known garden of Restoration House, in Rochester.

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Restoration was built in 1587 - a handsome brick house at the heart of this thriving cathedral city - and it's said that Charles II stayed here on 28th May 1660 at his Restoration. Hence the name. But for garden lovers this is a hidden gem waiting to be explored, along with the rest of the city. Privately owned and maintained, the garden has been open to the public since 2000 and extends to just under an acre.

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The pond is based on the design of a Queen Anne Mirror.

Restoration House is famous not just for its Royalist connections, but was also immortalised by Charles Dickens in "Great Expectations" as the Satis House where Miss Havisham lived. Little history is known about the garden, but it is the current owners who have done most of the work here. They arrived in 1994 and have created not just the magical garden at the rear of the house, but have also rescued  an adjacent plot from the clutches of property developers and are planning to extend the garden.

At the rear of the house is the garden, which is divided into levels by mellow brick walls. Close to the house there are low box hedges and a network of brick and stone paths. Particularly impressive is the ornate parterre which replicates the design of the Jacobean doors at the front and rear of the house.

The owners were determined to follow Batty Langley Principles of Gardening 1728 when they embarked on this project: "The end and design of a good garden is to be both profitable and delightful: where should be observed, that its parts should be always presenting new objects, which is a continual entertainment to the eye, and raises a pleasure of imagination". . .

Though Charlotte confesses she's galloping to keep up with family and gardens, her posts have an informed and leisurely air. We hope the Galloping Gardener is profitable. It's certainly delightful.

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