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A return, after a years’ absence, to the walled gardens at Penshurst Place in Kent. This time around, the famed 100m long peony border was looking fine, colourful and fragrant, growing lush and up through the wire grid, and with a long way to go before it will run out of steam. With the rain forecast for the week ahead, I should think within a couple of weeks it will be absolutely splendid, assuming it is not battered to pink mush.

But for me today, it was a fine sight and happily, it was popular but not to the point that I couldn’t take a clean set of images with visitors out of view. There are four varieties in the scheme, in a long avenue bounded by lilacs on one side and a clipped Berberis hedge on the other, with long grass and mature trees and views over to the wilder rose gardens. Not quite there with the roses though.

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The 11 acre gardens are divided into several rooms, some sizeable, others more intimate (the red, white and blue Union Jack garden is huge, the sunken Magnolia garden a little gem, with the sentinels of Yew). The wild rose garden with its rustic pergola is very wild, with mown paths through the long grass. The formal rose garden is a little tired, I must add. Miles and miles of clipped hedges, some bright, intense planting though by no means full, long views, narrow gaps in the Yew leading you on, the wider landscape and views back to the Tudor collection of buildings – it was a pleasure to revisit.

A little look in the tiny plant centre, a sausage sandwich in the Porcupine Pantry and off to Downderry Lavender Nurseries …