The Garden of England was traditionally used to describe the area from the Kent\Sussex border east through the Weald and into the Medway basin. It always was very fertile but its legendary status in many minds owes much to The Darling Buds of May and other stories of the Larkin family written by HE Bates.
In those stories the sun always poured down on a ripe harvest of apples, cherries and strawberries and every farm had its own hop garden to add flavour to the local brews. Local characters were just as ripe and in Pa Larkin's words the world was "perfick"
Back in the real world - apples are imported from New Zealand, hops from Germany and poly tunnels are the only way for local farmers to get an early crop of strawberries and beat the imports. Hop gardens like this have become redundant, the villages are now commuter dormitories for London and most 4x4s are driven on the school run and to the supermarkets.
I heard in a recent news announcement that even the title of Garden of England has been reallocated to a different area as so little is grown here now.
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