For some of you that might have happened upon us recently, we thought it would be a good idea to introduce Water Lane, ourselves, and our team to you.
We’re Nick and Ian and we’re the custodians of Water Lane, a walled garden near Hawkhurst in the High Weald on the Kent and Sussex borders. It’s a long-term project over years to come and our hope and ambition is to transform this historic site into a garden for all, combining recreation, dining, experiences, and education.
Just over an hour from London and 20 minutes down to Hastings and Rye, Water Lane is a beauty of a Victorian walled garden that we are slowly restoring back to its original purpose of growing vegetables, fruit, and herbs. Our garden team is led by Ian, Linda and Julia who tend to the 72 beds and glasshouses using organic methods and following the ‘no-dig’ philosophy; fruit trees are planted espalier against the garden walls, and we have Victorian glasshouses including the Carnation House, Pelargonium House, Peach Case, Melon House and Cucumber House. Much of the produce we grow is used in our restaurant, headed up by Jed and his team, and Rachel, our Restaurant Manager, and we often share seasonal recipes and thoughts and advice on how to grow throughout the year.
Our home-grown produce is also available for sale at our Produce Market every Saturday morning, alongside stallholders of artisan breads, pastries, cheese, chutneys and preserves, wine, kombucha, cider and honey. We have a small shop looked after by Pia, our shop manager, with a curated edit of things which combine beauty and function for the house and garden, plus a full calendar of workshops and events, and not forgetting our seasonal weekend-long markets in the Spring, Autumn, and Christmas, with stalls from some of our favourite independent makers and creatives.
As much as we embrace the role of restoring the garden, it’s also a chance to reimagine Water Lane ‘the place’, respecting its past glory as well as making it an inspirational and welcoming garden for the 21st century and beyond. Working with landscape designer Jo Thompson, our plans will progress in phases over the years to come. Last year we tackled the 35 metre long Melon House border and planted it with a predominantly pink and purple palette of shrubs, roses, perennials, and nearly 5000 spring bulbs, all of which will start to come into their own this year. Our future plans include a new garden in the south quadrant with perennial and stock beds, a rose arbor and a willow play area.
We have three pillars which hold up everything we do at Water Lane, Food, Flowers, and Friends; we look forward to welcoming you to Water Lane.