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Benton End Revisited: Sarah Cook in conversation with Matt Collins

In this film Garden Museum Head Gardener Matt Collins and Sarah Cook, former Head Gardener at Sissinghurst, enjoy a stroll around Cedric’s garden at Benton End, Suffolk. In it they discuss history of the garden, the plants he bred there (particularly Benton irises), his influence over 20th century gardening, and what the future holds for the garden at Benton End. They also visit Sarah’s own garden nearby in Hadleigh, where she holds the National Collection of Cedric Morris Irises.

About Benton End

In 1940, Cedric Morris and his partner the artist Arthur Lett Haines bought a 16th century manor house outside Hadleigh in Suffolk called Benton End. There they established the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing – a sanctuary for a diverse range of influential artists, writers, musicians, and botanists of the 20th century. Morris made a garden as influential in its day as Sissinghurst for the irises he bred there; it became one of the first modern gardens of naturalistic design, developed as it was for the study of the unusual plants Morris chose with his keen artist’s eye.

The Garden Museum and the Pinchbeck Charitable Trust will revive and restore the former Suffolk house and garden of artist-gardener Sir Cedric Morris (1889 – 1982) as a new centre of gardening, art, and creativity. The Pinchbeck Charitable Trust acquired Benton End and has now transferred ownership of the house, a private home since Morris’ death in 1982, to the Garden Museum.

More about the Garden Museum’s plans for Benton End

  • Sarah Cook

    Bio »

    Sarah Cook

    Previously Head Gardener at Sissinghurst Castle for 14 years, Sarah was born and bred in Hadleigh and is the holder of the National Collection of Irises bred by Sir Cedric Morris.

  • Matt Collins

    Bio »

    Matt Collins

    Matt is head gardener at the Garden Museum and a freelance garden and travel writer for publications including The Guardian, Hortus and Gardens Illustrated. His most recent book Forest: Walking Among Trees was shortlisted for an Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award, and charts a journey through the woods of Europe and North America.