Thursday, 5 September 2019

All hands on deck at Borde Hill Garden this September

As weather suitable for climbing and rambling starts to subside (whether you’re a person or a plant), it’s all hands on deck at Borde Hill Garden this September. For starters the climbing and rambling roses will all need a good prune to reduce their height and protect them from the onslaught of wind that winter’s sure to bring.

Elsewhere, the late flowering perennials that have kept a pleasing sea of colour flowing through the garden of late will now need deadheading and watering where necessary, (the latter is especially relevant if we’re to have another Indian summer like those we’ve enjoyed in recent years).

Beyond that the perennials will need lifting and dividing. Most perennials benefit from division every two to three years to maintain health and vigour. If you want to increase the number of plants you have by dividing them, the task can be done more regularly.

The beautiful beech and hornbeam hedges, of which we are lucky to have a few, will all also need a light trim to ensure they all come back next year at their brilliant best. And the birch trees will get a similar treatment for the same reason.

And with our eye firmly placed on next year already, end of this month we’ll also set about planting spring flowering bulbs including fritillarias, alliums, narcissus, tulips, triteleias and muscari.

What to look out for in the garden this month:

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Borde Hill is out in the midday sun this August

Like the mad dogs and Englishmen made famous by Noel Coward, the team at Borde Hill Garden are hard at work in spite of the heat, as there’s plenty to be done to keep everything at its blooming best.

For starters the Rose Garden needs ongoing deadheading to promote further glorious flowering in the summer months. Elsewhere, August will be the perfect time to cut the box hedging – ideally we will wait for an overcast, dry day before tidying up any loose fronds that have started to appear.

We will also prune evergreens such as the yew hedges, as the same principles apply, and summer flowering shrubs such as Philadelphus will receive the pruning treatment too.

In contrast, the sumptuously fragrant lavender will be treated with more of a firm hand. It will be cut back as hard as we possibly can without venturing into the old wood – this will hopefully ensure a strong re-emergence of the flowers. 

Whereas when it comes to the wisteria, we will prune back new growth to four or five buds.

Perennials that have finished flowering, such as alchemilla, geraniums, nepeta and delphiniums, will be cut back this month too, to promote fresh growth and in some cases further flowering.

But quite apart from all the snipping and chopping, we will of course have to make sure that our many pots and anything that’s newly-planted is kept well-watered during dry spells. And we will apply this same principle to all the hard-working staff too.

What to see in August 
Japanese anemones

Musical Sundays 11 & 25 Aug, 1 Spet
Children’s Woodland Trail, daily
Sculpture Exhibition, daily
Specialist Plant Fair  and talk with Pippa Greenwood, 15 September

Book your ticket for Pippa Greenwood’s Talk at the Plant Fair 15 September 

Friday, 21 June 2019

Blooms, Opera and Gin – Perfect ingredients for a long hot summer at Borde Hill Garden

Borde Hill Garden in Haywards Heath, West Sussex has all the ingredients for a long hot summer of entertainment throughout July and August, including hosting the Sussex Festival of Gin and performances of Open Air Opera - all set within the Estate’s magnificent, bloom filled gardens.

Borde Hill’s series of beautifully planted and linked garden rooms are still bursting with colourful blooms through late summer and each of the garden spaces as its own distinctive character and style for visitors to enjoy.  

They can choose to stroll along Paradise Walk, which was designed by Garden Designer James Alexander Sinclair in 2013 and which boasts over 700 new plant additions including Astrantia’, Kniphofia, Catanache, Geranium,  Phlomis, Phlox and Sanguisorba, all combining to provide a vibrant carpet of colour.

For those seeking a cool botanical refreshment to enjoy while admiring the garden, Borde Hill has the perfect tonic, as on Saturday 13 July, the Estate hosts the Sussex Gin Festival which will take place in the South Park.

Sussex is a major player in the Great British ‘ginaissance’. The county has become a hotbed for producing bespoke, small batch and artisan gins from more than 200 gin distilleries.  Visitors will be able to try out a wide range of wonderful, locally distilled gins, watch captivating demonstrations on all things gin, and tantalise their taste buds with delicious artisan hot and cold food, whilst enjoying live entertainment throughout the day.

Those dreaming of balmy days in the Mediterranean can choose to step into the romance of Borde Hill’s Italian Garden, which centres around a formal pool. This area started life as the family tennis court, before being converted by Robert Stephenson Clarke in 1982.

The Lower terrace contains several unusual trees and shrubs including the Discaria discolour and a collection of Italian terracotta pots which will be brimming with warm colours of geraniums and agapanthus. The recently transformed upper terrace contrasts, with cool shade and subtle colours. 

Maintaining the Italian spectacle, Britain’s leading outdoor touring company, Opera Brava, will be performing two open air prodctions within the Garden, against the magical backdrop of the Elizabethan Mansion House. La Traviata takes place on 26 July and The Barber of Seville is being performed on the 27 July, with a chamber ensemble.

For further information about all the Summer Events at Borde Hill and to find ticket prices, please visit or call 01444 450326 for details.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Roses looking better than ever & two weeks early too!

Our roses are looking better than ever this year and two weeks early too!

You won’t need to be told to look out for them, because they’re everywhere and looking nothing short of glorious this month. You’d be mad to miss out on seeing them at their best!

The Rose Garden is a real feast for the senses with 750 David Austin rose plants and 100 varieties filling the air with a glorious fragrance.

And aside from the vibrant sea of colour they provide across the Garden, we also still have alliums in flower, planted hither and thither across the grounds, peeking at you around every corner.

From 17-28 June, Borde Hill is delighted to be holding ‘Rose Celebration Weeks’ when groups can have special guided tours of the Rose Garden and rare access to the Elizabethan House decorated with rose arrangements.

The Rose Garden, designed by Robin Williams and planted in 1996, contains the most valued and popular roses developed by David Austin, including Gertrude Jekyll, Winchester Cathedral and Graham Thomas. It also contains the most popular roses sold in the last 12 months in the UK including Olivia Rose Austin, Lady Emma Hamilton and Darcy Bussell.

Head Gardener, Andy Stevens, says “Jay Robin’s Rose Garden is undoubtedly the main highlight of the summer displays, with the sight and fragrance of over 750 David Austin roses being something to behold.”

On the 20th of June from 10.30am to 2pm, we are privileged to have a Talk and Tour with Michael Marriott of David Austin Roses. Join one of the country’s leading rose experts for a fascinating talk offering advice on choosing and caring for the best varieties. Tickets for this are available to buy online now.

Other interesting parts of the Garden is the Italian Garden offering a further seasonal surprise, in as much as the alliums are well and truly in bloom surrounding the charming water feature there – a stunning sight to behold, you can’t fail to be impressed by them. 

The towering kinetic wind art and mythological figures continue to transform the historic garden into a stunning outdoor gallery, for a special 20th anniversary exhibition. At once modern and classical, there’s something to suit every taste – and many of them are even interactive and tactile. Perfect for keeping younger visitors enthralled as you take in the vast display of plants on display at this time of year. 

Plants out this month
Alliums, Styrax, Philadelphus, Catalpa, Delphiniums
The final hurrah of the Magnolias and Rhododendrons

Looking ahead
11 July Designing a Romantic Rose Border Workshop with Juliet Sargeant
13 July Sussex Gin & Food Fest
14 & 28 July, 11 & 25 Aug, 1 Sept Musical Picnics – Live music in the Garden
19-22 July Magical Music Festival 2019
26 July Open Air Opera: La Traviata
27 July – 15 September Kids Summer Fun: The Enchanted Garden – Trail & Activities
27 July Open Air Opera: The Barber of Seville

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

May in bloom

Spring has well and truly sprung here at Borde Hill, which is why now is the perfect time to pay the garden a visit. 

There are many rhododendrons and deciduous & evergreen azaleas galore, as well as a carpet of bluebells and wild garlic down in the Woodland. Herbaceous plants have popped up and look set to bloom all across the Garden, and there’s even one gorgeous early rose – make it your mission to be the first to discover her.

Strategically placed around the Allium Globemaster, there are 400 new perennials planted in the Italian Garden, which will spring forth to provide a sea of colour later this summer.

Then just above the Italian Garden, the gardening team will start replanting Josephine’s Way (so named after the late Colonel Clarke’s beloved granddaughter) this month with a design by notable British gardener Noel Kingsbury. It was originally awash with dahlias, and in homage to this he will create a vision of single flowering dahlias and intermingled with grasses. Be sure to take a look at his progress through the month.

In the Garden of Allah you’ll find what Head Gardener Andy Stevens describes as “the best tree in the garden”, Liriodendron chinense, namely a rare Chinese Tulip Tree. Collected by the great Ernest Henry Wilson and planted at Borde Hill in 1913, it first flowered here in 1926. How do we know this wonderful fact of yesteryear? Why because joyously the original letter congratulating Colonel Clarke on the event has survived the test of time and remains in the family’s possession. While admiring it, take a look at the
unusual truncated ends to its leaves and its orangey-green golf ball-sized flowers which will pop out and greet us this month.

And just beyond that, if you have a penchant for magnolia you’re in luck, (and you’ll smell them before you see them), as our three champion magnolias (M obovate, fraseri & officinalis) will be a wonder to behold when they are in flower over the next few weeks.

But if all that fantastic plant-life isn’t enough to sate you, you’ll be delighted to hear that the 20th Anniversary Sculpture Exhibition can now be found across the Garden.

Out This Month
Chinese Tulip Tree
champion tree Magnolias obovata, fraseri & officinalis
Halesia corolina

Looking Ahead
Rose Celebration Weeks (Jun 17 – Jun 28)
The Wonderfully Variable & Versatile Rose – Talk by Michael Marriott (Jun 20, 10.30am – 2pm)
St Peter & St James Hospice Midsummer Stroll (Jun 2, 9am – 5pm)