Great gardens in Sussex including Nymans, High Beeches, Borde Hill and Kew’s Walkehurst Place cluster in the Mid-Sussex area around Haywards Health. Nestling on the edge of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Mid Sussex gardens have a rich gardening heritage – many were originally created by famous Victorian families who employed the best Head Gardeners and sponsored planters armed with exotic plants collected from far off locations such as China, Tasmania, Burma and The Andes.
Nymans Gardens was the great creation of the Messel family and their Head Gardeners whilst High Beeches and Wakehurst Place were the creation of the Loder family and Borde Hill was created by the Stephenson Clarkes. Today some of these classic English gardens are still maintained by families. Acres of the High Weald in Sussex were covered with this fascinating new flora and the acidic soil in the area offered perfect conditions for the colourful blooms. Today the perfumes and colours of rhododendrons, azalea, magnolia and bluebells in Spring and the roses and wildflower meadows in Summer are a breathtaking experience for any visitor. If you’re new to gardens, the Mid-Sussex gardens are where you’ll fall in love with them.
Nymans Gardens at Handcross near Haywards Heath is a favourite Mid-Sussex Wealden garden popular with visitors all year round. Covering around 275 acres, Nymans’ themed gardens are spread around a central romantic ruined house and are dotted with beautiful features including temples and a dovecote. The Messel family who created it sponsored great planters like Ernest Wilson and Frank Kingdon-Ward and employed genius garden designer James Comber as Head Gardener in 1895. All the senses are thrilled here as you wander around historic lakes, natural woodland and gardens including a Wall and Rose Garden, Pinetum, a Sunken and Wild Garden. In Spring Nymans is awash with rhododendrons and magnolias whilst the roses take centre stage in the summer.
Beautiful Grade II listed Borde Hill with its 17 acres of formal gardens has been named as ‘One of the country’s truly great gardens’ by Country Life magazine and is famed for its exquisite Rose and Italian Gardens set within 200 acres of parkland. Affording glorious views across the Sussex Weald and Ouse Valley, Borde Hill contains many sub-tropical and rare plants. Note the Champion Trees and Shrubs brought in from the Himalayas and Andes! Seasonal highlights include in Spring the Camellias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas and in Summer the herbaceous flowers and the perfumed roses. A great garden for families, Borde Hill has a fun adventure playground with swings, zip wire and climbing frames and a choice of woodland walkers – dog walkers are warmly welcomed too!
Woodland, a Wildflower Meadow and Water Gardens are showcased here at High Beeches in the Handcross area. This Sussex garden changes with the seasons. In early Spring the daffodil fields are on show. In early May its bluebells and rhododendrons and in late May/ early June azaleas are in bloom. In Summer see the most beautiful wild flower meadow here at High Beeches and look out for the beautiful blue Willow Gentians flower in late August.
Wakehurst Place is Kew's international botanic country garden situated at Ardingly near Haywards Heath. A variety of seasonal highlights are here including in Spring the bluebell woods, daffodils, snowdrops, rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias and in Summer the colours of the Iris Del and sweet scents of the Giant Himalayan lilies.
Woodlands contain trees from the temperate zones of the world and see the four national collections of Skimmias, Birches, Southern Beeches and Hypericums here at Wakehurst Place. The garden is also home to the world’s largest seed bank conservation project! Areas across the complex are divided into zones including the Gardens, Conservation, Seed Bank, Woodland and Loder Valley Nature Reserve zones. The gardens surround a mansion house and include a Walled Gardens, Spring Border, the Winter Garden, Southern Hemisphere Garden and the Mansion Pond.