It happens that my birthday, and those of my sister and of my wife all fall within a few days of each other. It makes a good excuse for a big celebration when the mood strikes. It was my call, and as a special treat, I decided I'd like a weekend away so we bundled off, me, Anita, my sister and her husband, for a night at the Gravetye Manor Hotel, not far from East Grinstead. It has a Michelin starred restaurant, and a famous garden. What's not to like? It has also, we found out when we arrived, friendly staff and comfortable rooms.
The gardens were originally designed by one William Robinson, of whom I had never heard. He had held several prestigious appointments before he started working at Gravetye Manor, and his enthusiasm for gardening led him to publish a weekly journal "The Garden", that he edited for 29 years. His publishing business made his fortune, and he ended up buying the manor. I tip my hat.
It has to be said that March isn't the best time of year to visit and English garden, but you can get a feel for the lie of the land, and at least the daffs, camellias and crocus were out. The round, walled veg garden was impressive, if only for the fact that there was not a weed to be seen. How do they do that? I especially liked the "Onion gate" at one end of the walled garden.