The gardens at Saling Hall compress into the relatively small space of
12 acres much of the tradition of the English country house, its park and pleasure grounds. They have been created in their present form over some eighty years, by two owners. For the past forty years Hugh and Judy Johnson restored and enlarged the already admired work of Isabel Lady Carlyle, who moved to Saling in  1936.

Their contribution was to maintain and adapt what they inherited, and to double its size by landscaping what was formerly a paddock and gravel pit, during World War II a camp and subsequently a poplar plantation. Since 1972 this has gradually become an arboretum with ponds and a temple. Now, in the 2000s, it is more of a woodland garden. With its vistas and alleys, pools and sculpture, it was described in 2010 by the director of London's Garden Museum as 'the most Kentian, Elysian garden created in modern times'. The Johnsons sold Saling Hall in 2013 and the new owners are now making their mark on the gardens.




Saling is a garden of moods. The philosophy in designing it was to evoke different responses by deliberately enclosing or releasing the visitor in tighter or more open spaces, each with a mood of its own. Some are bright, airy, high-coloured, others romantic with the play of water in shadow, or tranquil with patterns of trunks and leaves. It uses sculpture as reference points to memories of the classical world or the orient. It uses plants for their intrinsic beauty and botanical interest, but also for the many different senses of place and mood they can contribute to a frankly escapist horticultural excursion.

You can use the website as a virtual tour of the garden, or just to visit out of curiosity. It shows photographs of various named areas changing with the seasons and lists the 1,000 or so permanent (more or less) woody plants to be found.

Welcome to Saling Hall.

Some facts and figures

Saling Hall Garden is 12 acres or 5 hectares of rural Essex , 300 feet above sea level on chalky boulder clay (including patches of gravel). Average rainfall is 23 inches, the highest since 1990 being 34 inches and the lowest 16. Previous to this last winter, when the minimum temperature was -12' C, the last winter with extensive cold damage to woody plants was in 1982. Frosts have been rare between April and November in recent years.

Two gardeners work here full time. Eric Kirby from 1974 and Aileen Foulis from 1995.
Their approach is not fanatically organic, but what the French call ' lutte
raisonnée ' or 'reasonable battle' against pests and diseases. Bird life is rich and mammal life too rich (in grey squirrels, rabbits, muntjac and sometimes roe deer).

Designed and Produced by John Crosland (BA Hons) Graphic designer