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A Hole new experience (and Sissinghurst for good measure).

On Thursday, 20th, 22 members went on the first trip of the year to Hole Park and Sissinghurst (NT) in Kent. Hole Park is a gem that few people seem to have heard about; we had its 16 acre gardens (out of a 2,500 acre estate) almost to ourselves. The Barham family founded Express Dairies in the 19th century and bought the estate, and Georgian House, 100 years ago and have created a garden with an interesting mix of formal and informal spaces and plantings in different "rooms" with their own architectural features. Something new round every corner, including woodland walks, ponds, carvings. Well worth the visit (and the cafe is good too).

By contrast Sissinghurst is organic, the weathered red brick buildings and tumbling borders, packed with colour (or just plain white) seem to have become organic, part of the landscape. The history associated with Vita Sackville-West and her rather louche coterie of aesthetes, also comes across strongly from the rooms and settings open to the public.

Putting the two together made for a very interesting and worthwhile day.

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