On our first trip to Guernsey, we wanted to see some gardens, and Sausmarez Manor has a high profile in the literature. The so-called tropical garden is a disgrace. It is a narrow valley planted mostly with bamboos and azaleas. So there is no colour outside the azalea season. Clearly no-one had done any real maintenance or weeding for many years. Perhaps the garden was bright and interesting in the 1950s or 1960s, but now it is a sad relict of what was clearly once a loved garden. There are a couple of muddy ponds with a few mallard ducks. As for the sculpture. It is the type of dross that you see on a down market south London garden centre. There is a preponderance of naked nymph children (very 1950s and not what I would want in my garden post Saville).
The whole place has a sad, run down feeling. The car park is a free for all patch of dried out mud. The 'short golf course' is a pitch and put on a lawn which would be described as the rough at our local golf course (you'd need a nine iron). The tea area served the worst coffee we had in our week on Guernsey, although the lady was friendly and so was the copper smith. The train wasn't running, but there were adverts all over the place saying 'driver wanted'!
We had put £16 into the honesty box to go around the tropical garden (no one around to take our money) and I seriously considered breaking the box open after our visit to give myself a refund.
This place does have potential, but the owners should realise that it is now 2014, not 1954. They are living on past glory and seriously need to spend some money and get their act together.
Oh and the gents toilet needed cleaning.
For those wanting gardens, go to the council-run Saumarez Park. It is free and their Victorian walled garden is looked after by volunteers who gave a friendly welcome. Better still go to the Seigneurie Gardens on Sark and take the Wednesday morning tour led by the head gardener. That is a garden.
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