Borde Hill’s brilliant spring and summer programme is just around the corner

There’s only a couple of weeks left until the start of the spring and summer programme at Borde Hill Garden.

Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 5:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 5:21 pm
Spring and summer at Borde Hill
Spring and summer at Borde Hill

On Mothering Sunday, March 31, visitors can enjoy an springtime walk to view the garden’s beautiful magnolias, camellias and early spring bulbs. People can also book in advance to have a vintage afternoon tea, served inside the marquee with live musical accompaniment.

Younger visitors are well catered for too in 2019 with Easter Adventures and May Half term activities. Bertram Bunny returns to Borde Hill from Saturday, April 6, to April 22 with his latest garden quest. The event costs £2 per trail and the admission price will include a chocolatey prize. From Saturday, May 25, to Sunday, June 2, Nature: No App for That! will provide a full week of activities (including a garden trail) that aim to connect children with the natural world. The £2 cost of admission includes a prize.

From July 27 to September 15, kids can discover fairies and goblins in The Enchanted Garden, a magical trail taking place on selected days.

Spring and summer at Borde Hill

There’s also plenty of horticultural events for green-fingered visitors including a series of lectures by BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Juliet Sargeant. The Saturday, May 4, ‘Plants For Free’ workshop costs £52–£65 and explains how you can take successful cuttings and plant your garden for free. Juliet’s ‘Practical Pruning’ workshop on Thursday, May 16, offers essential tips and tricks.

There will be a spring talk by RHS Vice President Jim Gardiner on Thursday, April 25 (£22.40-£28). Titled ‘Shrubs for Seasonality’ the illustrated lecture will identify a wide selection of shrubs that can be used in gardens of all sizes to make them look interesting all year round.

The month-long Marvellous May offers an opportunity to see the Colonel’s eye-popping Azalea Ring (plus the rhododendrons), as well as the collection of flowering champion trees, which include late flowering magnolias.

Borde Hill’s Horse Trials take place on August 17 and 18.

Spring and summer at Borde Hill

This year’s Rose Weeks take place from Monday to Friday, June 17-21, and Monday to Friday, June 24-28, and include pre-booked tours of the Garden and House where groups (15-plus) can admire the beauty of 750 David Austin roses at their peak. On Thursday, June 20, there will be a talk by Michael Marriott from David Austin Roses titled ‘The Wonderfully Variable and Versatile Rose’. This includes a presentation, tour of the Rose Garden and lunch.

From May 10 to September 30, Borde Hill Sculpture Exhibition will present a diverse collection of pieces. It’s a significant year as this 2019 show celebrates the 20th anniversary of exhibiting sculpture in the 17-acre formal garden.

For theatregoers, Open Air Opera by Opera Brava returns to Borde Hill on Friday, July 26 with La Traviata. The Barber of Seville will be performed on Saturday, July 27. Both performances start at 7.30pm, offering first-rate acting and singing, lavish costumes and beautiful sets.

Gangsta Granny will be at the venue on August 2. Ideal for children, David Walliams’ hugely popular book will be brought to life in a wonderful outdoor performance.

Spring and summer at Borde Hill

A spokesperson said: “Borde Hill Garden in West Sussex is home to a significant treasury of plants, and holds one of the largest private collections of champion trees, including rare flowering trees from China collected by the Great Plant Hunters of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Four generations of the Stephenson Clarke family have lived in the historic Elizabethan Mansion House near Haywards Heath.

“The Garden is probably best-known as a plant hunters paradise, containing as it does, many rare shrubs and trees from seeds sent home to Colonel Stephenson R Clarke by plant hunters including George Forest, Frank Kingdon Ward, Reginald Farrer, Joseph Rock and EH Wilson.

“The Garden is a festival of colour in spring with the flowering of the champion trees including many magnolia and the newly planted Italian Garden featuring tulips, 300 Fritillaria imperialis ‘Rubra’ and many varieties of alliums. Also new perennial plants will being added for summer colour.

“Special mention should be made of the striking Emmenopterys henryi, which flowered in 2018: prior to this flowering, the tree had only bloomed four times in the UK on record since its introduction in 1907. Described by the great Edwardian plant hunter EH Wilson as “one of the most strikingly beautiful trees of Chinese forests”, the Emmenopterys henryi attracted garden visitors in their droves in August (2018) and helped re-establish Borde Hill as a centre of gardening excellence.”

The spring and summer programme begins on March 25 and 2019 events continue until November 3 (open daily 10am-5pm).

Admission is £9.50 for adults, £6.35 for children and £7.35 for groups. Family tickets cost £28.50. Find out more at, call 01444 450326 or email [email protected]

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