This room was once home to George Plumptre, the third son of the 21st Baron FitzWalter and now renowned horticulturalist. Growing up in ‘one of the loveliest gardens in Kent’, as British journalist Hugh Massingberd once called it, must have been idyllic for a young boy with an avid interest in horticulture. In 2011, George Plumptre became CEO of the National Gardens Scheme, a scheme that opens gardens to the wider public as a means of raising money to be donated to charity. Before this, he focused on roles such as his position as gardening correspondent for the Times in the 1990s, and on lecturing on horticulture. He later founded the online specialist garden organisation, Greenfingers, the largest of its kind. He has also published numerous titles on gardening and gardens such as the well-known guide The Yellow Book, about 3,800 gardens which raise money for horticultural and healthcare charities. Homage has been paid to his interest in the design of this bedroom. Brilliant shades of yellow, blue and cream embellish this light-filled room with its two large windows, and the floral headboard and brightly-coloured chaise-longue create a warm yet lavish character.
The walls of the room are lined with classical landscape paintings as well as modern horticultural-themed art, a juxtaposition that, like the house, reunites the dichotomies of modernity and history so well. The two large windows provide a view over the portico façade, one of the most notable architectural traits of the house, onto the gardens on the west side of the house, picturesquely tiered into a grassy amphitheatre by the 5th Baron FitzWalter in the 1840s. Fragments of family stories and history are ubiquitous here, in the Japanese pottery made by another of the 21st Baron FitzWalter’s son, William, and in the old books about Jane Austen, who once enjoyed walking through Goodnestone’s gardens when visiting her brother Edward, who married into the family.
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