Borde Hill Garden is celebrating a special anniversary this year and opens up to welcome all the family to enjoy its stunning horticulture
Borde Hill Garden, the Grade II* listed garden set within 383 acres of heritage parkland in Haywards Heath and renowned as a Plant Hunter’s Paradise, has reopened for a new season. The award-winning destination garden has an abundance of horticultural interest as well as a rich calendar of curated events to inspire plant lovers and entertain families throughout the season.
There have already been some colourful highlights. Throughout February and March, the garden’s renowned collection of magnolias and camellias reached their peak, and visitors were able to enjoy their colour on a self-guided walk. Other vibrant, emerging signs of spring included snowdrops, hellebores, crocuses, daffodils, and some early-flowering rhododendrons.
Also in February, we were able to step inside the Victorian Glasshouse to view a selection of beautiful Cymbidium orchids at the height of their flowering. The Borde Hill Heritage Orchid Collection is in collaboration with McBean’s, the oldest Orchid Nursery in the UK, with many varieties linked to the Garden’s historic collection. In addition to the wonderful specimens, visitors will be able to learn why orchids became so popular in Victorian England by viewing documents from both the Borde Hill and McBeans’ historic archives.
As ever, there are plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy at Borde Hill. The Enchanted Garden kids’ trail is now open. Children can follow the story of Piccolo, the smallest pixie in the Fairy Garden, who needs to earn his wings by passing a series of challenges. During the trail, children will stop to make a wish on the Wishing Chair and take a photo in front of giant fairy wings. Families can also visit the Adventure Playground which is located within the garden and included in the admission price.
This year sees Borde Hill celebrate 130 years since visionary plantsman and owner Colonel Stephenson Robert Clarke first created the magnificent collection of rare trees and flowering shrubs across the Estate. Collected from explorations around the world, the nationally important collection of exotic plants and champion trees continue to represent the very best in British gardening.
To celebrate, ‘130 Years of Planting Excellence’ will be held in June, when visitors can pre-book access to the Elizabethan Mansion House and view the significant horticultural archive which unlocks the exciting history of the notable rare and unusual plants at Borde Hill. Each group will hear first-hand from the Borde Hill Archive team how Col. Stephenson R Clarke was a visionary Sussex gardener who influenced the way we garden today. Groups will then take a guided walk led by Head of Horticulture Harry Baldwin to discover trees and shrubs which have been carefully planted to celebrate the past, present and future of horticultural planting excellence.
Director Jay Goddard (née Stephenson Clarke), 5th generation family custodian of the Estate, says: “2023 heralds the start of an exciting new chapter at Borde Hill. We are delighted to unveil a bold new rebrand for visitors, both digitally via our new website, and when they next visit the garden. Our new brand identity celebrates a new season and new plantings in the garden, inviting all our visitors to experience ‘joyous balance’ through the beauty and tranquillity of all that Borde Hill has to offer.”
The Garden at Borde Hill will be open 10am-5pm until 31 October 2023, bordehill.co.uk