25 Gardens to visit this season

PUBLISHED: 16:45 27 April 2009 | UPDATED: 15:59 20 February 2013

Past times- Alfriston Clergy House

Past times- Alfriston Clergy House

Sussex has a wealth of beautiful gardens. Leigh Clapp selects some of the very best and you'll also find some ticket offers exclusive to Sussex Life...


Alfriston Clergy House

The first house bought by the National Trust, in 1896, is set in very pretty cottage gardens and also has a small vegetable patch. Old-fashioned pinks and scented roses frame views across the River Cuckmere. Both the 14th century hall house and garden embrace the sense of past times.
Opening times
Alfriston Clergy House, Alfriston, East Sussex
The National Trust
Mon, Wed, Thurs, Sat, Sun
14 March to 1 Nov (10-5)
Adm. £4.30, chd £2.15

Ambrose Place Back Gardens
It is unique to find 13 neighbouring town gardens opening together. For 25 years the residents of Ambrose Place, with its attractive row of Regency terraces, have opened their gardens through the National Gardens Scheme. There are tiny courtyards to larger plots, with a variety of styles from traditional to Mediterranean. The day is a real focal point for the street and is greatly enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
Opening times
Ambrose Place Back Gardens, Worthing, West Sussex
The National Gardens Scheme
Sunday 14 June (11-1 and 2-5)
Combined adm. £4, chd free

Bakers House
Large Wealden garden of great elegance and charm. Various areas spread out from expanses of lawn, including a scented knot garden, large lake, a bog garden, herbaceous borders, a secret white garden and shimmering laburnum tunnel. With over 200 roses and an attractive potager as well, this is a quintessential country landscape, guided by owners Mark and Margot Burrell.
Opening times
Bakers House, Shipley, West Sussex
The National Gardens Scheme
Suns 17 May, 14 June (2-6)
Adm. £4, chd free

Bankton Cottage
Exuberantly planted walled, cottage garden. Home of Rosie and Robin Lloyd, former owners of Pots and Pithoi, and county organiser and treasurer respectively of The National Gardens Scheme for East Sussex, which ensures a garden of great interest. Imaginative planting and decorative urns combine with formal parterres, woodland areas, a wildlife pond, raised vegetable beds and blowsy borders. Described by The English Garden magazine as "quite one of the most delightful gardens I have visited" and it is one of only a handful of Sussex gardens included in this year's Good Gardens Guide.
Opening times
Bankton Cottage, Crawley Down
The National Gardens Scheme
Sats 4, 15 Aug (2-5.30)
Adm. £3.50, chd free
Evening, Fri 19 June (6-8.30) £5, wine

Atmospheric Jacobean home of Rudyard Kipling from 1920-1936 set in lovely Arts and Crafts garden and grounds. Much loved by Kipling, you can see yew hedges and a rose garden that he planted as well as a pear alley and pond he built. Herb beds fill the air with scent as you journey into the garden to discover herbaceous borders, an orchard, broad lawns, a pleached lime avenue and even a mill that still grinds wheat into flour.
Opening times
Bateman's, Burwash, East Sussex
The National Trust
Sats to Weds 14 March to 1 Nov (11-4.30)
Adm. £7.10, chd £3.55:
Two for the price of one
- on adult tickets only
Offer expires Sunday 19 July 2009

Bates Green
Plantsman's two-acre garden, brimming with texture and colour. Carolyn and John McCutchan have created interest year round with a succession of blooms - bulbs and woodland plants in spring, alliums, geraniums and kniphofia in summer, and salvias, asters and dahlias for an autumnal peak. Artistic combinations form tapestries of billowing hues against formal hedges and paths.
Opening times
Bates Green, Arlington, East Sussex
The National Gardens Scheme
Suns 5 April, 19 July, 13 Sept (11-5)
Adm. £4, chd free

Bignor Park
11 acres of gardens and parkland to explore, with stunning views to the South Downs. The Mersey family have opened their garden for more than 60 years through the National Gardens Scheme. Visitors enjoy the lovely mature trees in a woodland walk, a Dutch parterre garden, contemporary sculpture and walled flower and vegetable gardens. There is also a temple, Greek pavilion and a Zen pond to appreciate. This is a garden with a sense of the past, present and future, in a glorious setting.
Opening times
Bignor Park, Pulborough,
West Sussex
The National Gardens Scheme
Every Wed 1 April to 27 May (2-5), Sat 1, Sun 2 Aug (2-6), Every Wed 7 to 28 Oct (2-5) Adm. £3, chd free

Borde Hill

Historic, listed garden created from 1893, stocked with now mature species from the plant hunting traditions of the Victorian era. Award-winning collections of azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias. 220 acres of parkland and bluebell woods with cultivated garden areas. More than 100 David Austin roses are June highlight. Children's adventure playground, garden events through the year and lovely walks.
Opening times
Borde Hill, Haywards Heath, West Sussex
20 March to 13 Sept, 24 Oct to 1 Nov (10-6)
Adm. £7.50, chd £4
£1 off the adult price
Quote Sussex Life and receive entry to the garden only.
Quote reference BH09 - Valid June 09

Clinton Lodge
Hidden behind high walls, this formal, yet romantic garden reflects the beauty of the English country garden style. The six acres of garden, which overlook parkland, is divided into a series of rooms. There is a canal garden, allees, a cloister walk inspired by a pre-Raphaelite painting, a medieval-style potager, and an atmospheric rose garden. And don't miss the copy of a 17th century herb garden and the small knot garden.
Lady Collum continues to develop the garden, taking inspiration from different historic periods and with the help of designer Julian Treyer-Evans.
Opening times
Clinton Lodge, Fletching, East Sussex
The National Gardens Scheme
Suns 10 May, 7, 28 June ; Mons 8, 15, 22 June, 6, 27 July, 3, 10 Aug (2-5.30)
Adm. £4, chd free

Coates Manor

An acre of flowing, clipped shrubs, highlighting foliage and form, surrounding a picturesque Elizabethan house. Created in 1960 from a bare field, the ever-enthusiastic Margot Thorp continues to exercise her artistic talents over the garden. There is an array of interesting perennials, scented climbers and coloured autumn foliage. Plants have been selected to complement the historic architecture and there are framed vistas to the surrounding landscape.
Opening times
Coates Manor, Fittleworth,
West Sussex
The National Gardens Scheme
Visitors welcome by appointment all year, Tel. 01798 865356
Adm. £3.50, chd free

Four-acre garden, designed for year round interest, with nursery and award-winning café. Home of renowned garden designer and writer John Brookes. This is a garden with ideas and plant combinations to inspire. Both traditional and innovative schemes, punctuated with focal points, make this a contemporary classic.
Opening times
Denmans Garden, Fontwell, West Sussex
Daily 9-5 (not 25, 26 Dec and 1 Jan)
Adm. £4.95, chd £3.95
2 for one - cheapest one goes free Valid to 31 May 2009 - bring this article with you

Great Dixter
One of the most revered and experimental gardens of our time. Originally designed in the early 1900s by Edwin Lutyens and Nathaniel Lloyd. It is Nathaniel's son, the late Christopher Lloyd, who officiated over these gardens for 55 years, whose influence is evident worldwide from his masterful planting combinations. The famous long border with its rich clashes of colour, the exotic garden, meadow flowers and clipped topiary ensure a long season of interest. Many plants available in the nursery.
Opening times
Great Dixter, Northiam, East Sussex,
Tues to Sun and bank hol Monday, 1 April to 25 Oct (11-5)
Adm. garden only £6.50, chd £3

High Beeches
Historic listed woodland and water garden. This is a landscape, of over 25 acres, to meander in. Carpets of spring bulbs, glades of rhododendrons and azaleas, a wildflower meadow, the National Collection of stewartias and a blaze of autumnal colour ensure an interesting visit throughout the season.
Opening times
High Beeches, Handcross, West Sussex
Daily (closed Weds) 21 March to 31 October (1-5), Adm. £6, chd free
Two adult tickets for the price of one - Quote Sussex Life, valid weekdays in June only, one offer per person.

Laurence and Rebeka Hardy have created a very diverse garden, full of surprises. Spread over eight acres there is interest for all ages - from colourful borders, unusual plants, water features, sculpture, painted raised vegetable beds and a sunken garden to a children's safari and scary path. As with many of the NGS gardens, don't miss the renowned homemade teas here.
Opening times
Latchetts, Danehill, West Sussex
The National Gardens Scheme
Frids, Sats 29, 30 May, 19, 20 Jun, 17, 18 Jul, 7, 8 Aug (1.30-5.30)
Adm. £4, chd free

Magnificent 200-acre woodland garden set around a series of seven lakes. Grade 1 English Heritage listed landscape with world-famous azaleas and rhododendrons in spring. Visitors also enjoy the wildfowl, wallabies, deer and miniature country estate models.
Opening times
Leonardslee Gardens
Lower Beeding, West Sussex
1 Apr - 31 Oct (9.30-6)
Adm: Adults £6.50, chd £4 (April, June to Oct) Adults £8-£9, Chd £4 (May)

Nymans is considered one of the greatest 20th century examples in the country. An historic collection of fine trees, shrubs and plants in a beautifully structured setting. It was started in 1890 by Ludwig Messel, who sponsored many Himalayan plant-hunters of the time. The garden still acquires rare plants, particularly from Chile. Beautiful bedding and a long season of interest.
Opening times
Nymans, Handcross, West Sussex
All year (not 25 Dec, 1 Jan) Wed to Sun and bank holiday Mon (10-5 - 4 Nov-Jan). Adm. £8.50, chd £4.30

Parham House gardens

Beautiful series of gardens in a vivacious style, tempered by its historic structure. Floriferous borders, a resplendent greenhouse, herb and vegetable gardens, a maze and fine lawns. New this year are guided parkland walks on Sundays, bank holidays and open days in August.
Opening times
Parham, Storrington, West Sussex
Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sun and
bank holiday Mon (12-5)
12 April to 30 Sept, Sundays in Oct
Adm. Garden only £6, chd £2.50
50p reduction on gardens only entrance (Including: adults, concessions and children)-
Valid for month of June 2009. Quote Sussex Life.

Pashley Manor
Widely regarded as one of England's finest gardens. Beautifully combined planting schemes and areas dotted with sculpture, around a listed Tudor house. Mr and Mrs James Sellick have been opening their garden since 1992, after restoring and enhancing its beauty under the guidance of landscape architect Anthony du Gard Pasley. Very popular events include the Tulip Festival, Rose Weekends and Lily Time. Allow plenty of time to admire the planting, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the fabulous homemade food in the café.
Opening times
Pashley Manor Gardens, Ticehurst, East Sussex
2 Apr to 30 Sept
Tues, Wed, Thurs, Sat, bank holiday Mon (11-5)
Adm. £7.50, chd £5
Oct Mon to Fri (10-4) garden only open

33 Peerley Road
This is a must-see for anyone gardening by the sea. Owner Trudi Harrison offers expert advice on coastal gardening. This small garden is packed with densely planted areas, full of ideas for suburban gardens as well. Every inch of space has been used to create a sense of colour and fun for adults and children alike.
Opening times
33 Peerley Road, East Wittering,
West Sussex
The National Gardens Scheme
Suns 14 Jun, 13 Sept (12-4)
Adm. £2.50, chd free

Sandhill Farm House
Elegant garden with masterful combinations of choice plants in a pretty country setting. Owner Rosemary Alexander is a garden designer, author and lecturer as well as the principal of the English Gardening School, and Sandhill beautifully showcases many of her ideas, blending the practical with the romantic. The one-acre garden, set on several levels, consists of a series of densely planted areas within a framework of clipped accents.
Opening times
Sandhill Farm House, Rogate,
West Sussex
The National Gardens Scheme
Sats. Suns, 18,19 April, 6,7 Jun, 19, 20 Sept (2-5)
Adm. £3.50, chd free

Sheffield Park
Magnificent 120 acres of landscape laid out in the 18th century by Capability Brown and Humphry Repton. Particularly noted for spring colour from bluebells, rhododendrons and azaleas, as well as superb autumn displays from the many deciduous trees. Reflections in the lakes make this a memorable place for a late season stroll.
Opening times
Sheffield Park, East Grinstead,
West Sussex
All year adm. £7, chd £3.50

Hillside garden around an Arts and Crafts house designed by architect Philip Webb in the 1890s. Large terraces and lawns combined with more intimate areas, including a quarry garden, kitchen
garden and bamboo garden with pools and cascades and wodland walks.
Opening times
Standen, East Grinstead, West Sussex
Weds to Suns 14 Mar to 1 Nov, Mons 27 Jul to 31 Aug (11-5.30)
Adm. garden £4.90, chd £2.45

Wakehurst Place
Historic garden with a fine collection of hardy plants and trees. Since 1965 the National Trust has leased the property to the Royal Botanic Gardens, resulting in it being known as Kew's country garden. This is a place for the botanist, plantsman and garden lover.
Opening times
Wakehurst Place, Ardingly, West Sussex
Daily (except 24-25 Dec)
Adm. £10, chd free

The Walled Garden at Cowdray
Adjacent to the Cowdray ruins, this restored walled garden designed by Jan Howard draws visitors with its contemporary interpretation of a Tudor pleasure garden, replicating the formality of the Tudor period. Box hedging encloses seasonal displays, from tulips to dahlias, and there is a large rectangular lawn with a centralwater feature, a tropical border, vegetable and herb areas.
Opening times
The Walled Garden at Cowdray, Midhurst, West Sussex
All year Wed to Sun (10-5), Mon, Tues by appt. Phone in case closed for private event 01730 816881
Two for the price of one until the end of 2009 - bring the article from the May eidtion with you.

West Dean

Historic garden of 35 acres in the Downs. Parkland areas, splendid trees and shrubs, herbaceous borders and a water garden.
Of particular note is the large, restored walled kitchen garden with a vast collection of fruit and vegetables. Thirteen impressive Victorian glasshouses filled with exotic orchids and fruit give a glimpse into past.
Opening times
Daily, Mar to Oct (10.30-5), Nov to Feb (11-4)
Adm. £6.75, chd £3.25
Two for one garden entry Cheapest free weekdays only in May 2009 excluding bank holiday Monday.
(Please bring the article with you on your visit)


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