WP_20150515_12_13_25_ProAfter leaving Emmetts Garden on our way home from Sussex last week, we also stopped off to see a place that I’ve wanted to visit for a long time- Red House, in Bexleyheath, London. The house and garden designed by Philip Webb with fellow Arts and Crafts man William Morris, is a wonderful monument to all that exuberant artistic endeavour of the mid and later 19th centuries.We had a stimulating guided tour of this lovely house and garden that has been a major influence on English architecture and garden design.

Part reaction to the impact of industrialisation, part a response to its social consequences, William Morris and the movement- which had close ties to the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood and early socialist thinkers- have perhaps become most closely associated with floral prints in wallpaper and fabric. I hold my hands up- we are definite fans and have some Morris designs in the Old School.

The garden here rather plays second fiddle to the house, which was meant to be ‘something medieval’ and does conjour up images of courtly love, knights in armour and Arthurian legend…

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But the garden sets off this fabulous building very neatly and today also boasts a kitchen garden. The original design was as unique as the house, with Morris insisting on integration of the design of both. The garden was divided into four, small square gardens by trellises on which roses grew. The flower beds were bordered with lavender and rosemary while lilies and sunflowers had also been planted in the garden. White jasmine, roses, honeysuckle and passion flower were planted to climb up the walls of the house.

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Further information:

National Trust website


Old School Gardener