Visit to Borde Hill Garden on 7th July 2016
A total of 19 members and guests joined the visit to Borde Hill Garden on Thursday 7th July. We were given a conducted tour of the garden by Nick Schroeder, one of the team of gardeners. He told us that this was a private garden, originally created by Colonel Stephenson Robert Clarke from seeds gathered by the Great Plant Hunters of the early 1900s, and subsequently tended by four generations of the Stephenson Clarke family (it has been a registered charity since 1965). He explained how the garden had been designed to have areas of interest throughout the year – during our visit Jay Robin’s Rose Garden and the Mid-Summer border were in full bloom, and he also showed us some of the remaining flowers on a rare Chinese Tulip Tree in the Garden of Allah.
He also pointed out a few of the garden’s Champion trees – trees which are the tallest, or have the largest girth, in Britain. Borde Hill has 83 Champions – one of the largest collections in a private garden. Between May and September each year the garden displays a number of sculptures which are for sale (prices ranged from £150 for an artichoke to over £20,000 for a Bird of Paradise fountain). The weather could have been kinder to us – we had the slightly doubtful honour of seeing the pattern of raindrops on the pool in the Italian Garden, which Nick explained used water with a dark dye to enhance the reflections.
Nevertheless, it proved an extremely enjoyable visit and I certainly plan to return to some of the other parts of the garden – September for the Autumn colours, March/ April for the camellias and magnolias, and May for rhododendrons and azaleas. And, when you feel like a break, Cafe Elvira has an interesting menu – a number of us had lunch there before the start of the tour, and others went back for a cup of tea and a snack later in the afternoon.