Delicious seasonal fare at Pashley Manor garden café

Mr Sellick collects some of the summer's harvest in a traditional Sussex trug

Mr Sellick collects some of the summer's harvest in a traditional Sussex trug - Credit: Archant

Much of the delicious seasonal fare at Pashley Manor’s garden café is home-grown in the beautiful walled kitchen garden, one of the highlights of any visit

Pashley Manor in Ticehurst is one of those gardens that people return to again and again, whether it’s for a special event such as the Tulip Festival or just to enjoy the voluptuous displays throughout the season and the welcoming atmosphere. No visit to Pashley is complete without sampling the delicious homemade fare in the café, especially as the seasonal produce and menu is so intrinsically linked with their impeccably cared-for potager.

When James and Angela Sellick purchased Pashley Manor in 1981 the garden was overgrown and there was no kitchen garden. The transformation to the award-winning quintessentially English garden you see today involved redesigning and planting a range of areas, including a formal hedged rose garden, long herbaceous borders, woodland walks and the decorative potager. This is still very much a family home, with the Sellicks actively involved in all areas, guiding a very happy team, and taking pleasure in sharing their garden with visitors through the season.

In 1992 the garden opened to the public for a couple of afternoons a week. At first the Sellicks served the odd cup of tea on request from the back door of the house. Then people started asking for cake so Mrs Sellick, an accomplished cook, began baking each day. When people started asking for ploughman’s lunches the family converted the cellars into kitchens and started serving from there. Winning the prestigious HHA/Christies’ Garden of the Year award in 1999 inspired an influx of visitors and the Garden Room Café and courtyard was built to accommodate the increased demand.

It is clear that for the Sellicks’, growing and eating seasonal produce is an essential element of their lifestyle. “I have always been interested in good food,” says James Sellick. “During the war years my mother and father supplemented our rations by growing excellent vegetables and we had a good orchard of apples, plums, pears and the like, so I grew up eating the produce we grew. An interest in growing edible things has continued over the years.” Each winter he plans the planting for the potager with kitchen gardener Bob Johnson as well as input from the café team.

The menu at the café incorporates seasonal produce from the garden, with main items accompanied by a selection of salads, bountiful in summer with freshly picked lettuces, tomatoes, beetroots and carrots, as well as delicious puddings that may include a delectable lemon tart adorned with lavender or fresh fruit pavlova with raspberry coulis. A special dish is also served every day, designed around what is available in the kitchen garden. “Our kitchen garden at Pashley gives me great pleasure – we grow all sorts of delicious fruit and vegetables. From June we have superb baby broad beans, young spring cabbage, delicious globe artichokes, lettuces of all colours and shapes and gooseberries in abundance. This is followed by peas and a large quantity of black, red and white currants, then courgettes, raspberries and wine berries, figs, pears, apples and squash. Like all gardeners I love to eat what I grow and very much enjoy cooking and eating what we have produced as well as seeing it in our café,” comments the ever affable James Sellick.

They clearly must be getting it right at Pashley: visitors love to chat with the team as they pick lettuces and herbs in the garden and customers in the café are always interested to learn what produce has made it from the garden to their plate. “We get lots of nice comments and quite a lot of people tell us we have the best scones and quiche they have ever tasted. We get compliments on the homemade soup and good selection of fresh salads too,” says General Manager, Kate Wilson.

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Opening times

Pashley Manor, Ticehurst, TN5 7HE

Gardens, café and shop - open until 30 Sept, Tues to Sat, BHM and special event days (11-5)

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