We go to Sussex. So as I was on my own this time and able to put a lot more time into getting there and back and have the day wandering around I decided to go Borde Hill Gardens. This is the change over from Spring flowering shrubs to Roses and I expected to see the rose gardens beginning to bloom. As it was I was a little too early.
The Camelias were done and there was a few azaleas remaining and many of the Rhododendrons were in battered bloom. The wind and the rain had taken its toll but they were still magnificent.
The gardens are laid out formally but the design is such that they seem to blend in with the woodlands – the two parts seem to sneak into each other and take the walker by surprise with sudden wild looking areas and formal planted areas that compliment each other, if not perfectly, with a natural satisfaction.
These are spring and autumn gardens although have an appeal in the summer, from what I can see of the plantings. The beauty of the gardens are that the public are not permitted to wander in the house or the near gardens but are directed around the dwelling. It is like peeking over the neighbour’s wall from the park – you feel invited to look but are offered so much else to see and enjoy that you prefer not to pry. A simple sign saying private is enough.
In addition to the formal gardens which make use of the stone quarries and the views over the hills there are woodland walks crossed by public footpaths for the energetic to take a walk in the area as well.
Walking in the woods was a strange mixture of trees both native and exotic with Rhododendrons and of all things a few Laburnums flowering happily in among the taller birches, pines and other green tall things. Peculiar was the the posts with letters in alphabetical order. Odd. Sod it, I am a walker not a ruddy detective – leave it as mystery.
Just a note on how I got there from the Sceptered isle of Sheppey?
Simple: A249 – A20- A25 – A22 – look the Crawley Road (A264) and Turner’s Hill to Hayward’s Heath and you will see signs for the gardens. Follow them. On the way I was worried because there were signs for the London to Brighton cycle ride and I was hoping it was on Sunday. Nevertheless the thought of all those Lycra clad bums going up and down was terrifying.
I managed to wander around in ever decreasing circles, too stubborn to trust to the Sat-Nav and unable to read the map on the move. I saw some interesting sights. I also got extremely miffed with the tailgaters – I do the speed limit because I am by law expected to do so – I do not mind drivers racing past, I can understand that their cars are not fitted with indicators, or that the rules of the road only apply to other drivers on weekdays, but the bloody tailgating is nasty; especially when you are a stranger in the area.
Anyway, back to the gardens. Lunch was nice but a bit dear. However the cafe is good and the food is tasty.
Walking the woodland area was a pleasure and I noted that not many people took it on. The walk was worth it. Highlights were the blue tulips, the wonderful lily pond and the view over the lakes from the Italian garden, the garden of Allah which was peaceful and again offered some pleasant views, and the adventurous sculptures.
In addition there were some exotic plants and the wild weather, wind, cloud and sunshine, and fortunately no rain, which all made for a pleasant day out. Take a walk around the lakes and admire the view back to the gardens, enjoy the calmness of the fishermen, the ingenuity of the horse gallopers and their jumps, and look for the crocodile!
In all it was a day trip worth taking despite the attraction of Wakehurst Place not far away, a National Trust garden of repute, but that is another story. And maybe another trip.
If it were not for the wind on the day the visit would have been perhaps less exciting, but then I may not have enjoyed the moods of the place so much, it may have seemed too tame.