Monday, 11 November 2019

November in the Garden

As winter starts to approach in earnest, you’d think it’d be all cups of tea and extra layers to keep warm, but in truth we’re still a hive of activity.

This month we’ll be planting the tulip bulbs in tubs, in preparation for next season. The tender plants will continue to be put to bed, which is done by cutting them back and covering them to ward off the elements.

Now that we’ve had the first frost, the dahlia tubers can be lifted. Dahlias are always lifted once the foliage has been blackened by the first frost. We cut off the old flowering stems 5cm (2in) from the base and trim away any thin roots. These stems can then be composted. The hellebores will need some attention too before flowering, so this month we’ll be removing all their damaged and diseased foliage.

As the perennials continue to die back, we’ll carry on cutting them down. By autumn, many herbaceous perennials are running out of steam, with old foliage and flowers beginning to die back, which means it’s a good time to cut the old foliage back to the ground. The crown (the base of the plant) will remain dormant over winter and produce fresh shoots in the spring.

As the leaves merrily dance to the ground, we have a job on our hands this month to net all the ponds, to stop them falling in. And similarly, there’s a lot of work to be done clearing leaves across the garden – especially on the lawns. Any leaves that we have detected to be diseased will be burnt this much, such as rose leaves with blackspot, for example.

Elsewhere, it’s all about planting trees and shrubs across the garden, and cleaning the greenhouses out so that we can bring in any tender material for the winter. In that same vein, now’s the time to check all the greenhouse’s heating systems are working as they should, to make sure everything’s kept safe and warm inside.

What to look out for in the garden this month

Autumn leaf colour across the garden, in a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues
Nerine bowdenii (Bowden lily)
Ornamental grasses
Berries galore, namely:
Callicarpa bodinieri (Bodinier's beautyberry)
Berberis (barberry)
Malus (apple tree)
Gaultheria mucronate (prickly heath)
Euonymus europeaeus (spindle tree)

Friday, 4 October 2019

Glorious Autumn at Borde Hill Garden

Our gardeners have got plenty to be getting on with. As glorious autumn hues spring up across the garden, new evergreens and a broad range of other trees and shrubs will be planted, (including new alliums and Fritillaria raddeana - see below photo), and young evergreen shrubs will be moved. 

There will be cutting back across the garden - the Buddleia, Lavatera and Cornus alba for example will need reducing by half to prevent wind rock. The essential pruning of the climbing roses and cutting of deciduous hedges will need finishing before November darkens our door. 

Also the ongoing task of dividing the perennials will continue. The more tender of these will need bringing undercover as the weather takes a seasonal turn.

As to the lawns, new turf will be laid and all lawns renovated, to allow them to bounce back at their brilliant best in the spring. Leaf clearing will be near constant through the month.

Halloween and half-term collide in spooktacular style this month, and to celebrate we’ll be opening the Borde Hill Academy of Witches & Wizards. Between 26th October and 3rd November, help Sapphire the Witch’s cat regain her magical powers on a bewitching garden trail full of spells, potions and mystery (£2 a child, free to Friends).

What to look out for in the garden this month
Late flowering perennials – aster, rudbeckias, 
Liriope muscari 

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.