As I used to live in Sussex, I know the garden at Borde Hill well although on my recent visit, there were several exciting new developments – especially the Jewel Box!

Nowadays, it’s a bit more of a trek for me to get to Borde Hill but the garden is easily accessible from Brighton – or London – as it’s only 1 1/2 miles north of Haywards Heath.

The formal garden is spread over seventeen acres and is divided into a series of linked garden rooms, all very different from one another.

The Mediterranean Garden is full of terracotta pots while the

Italian Garden is a wonderful place to sit and relax – it started life as a tennis court and was converted by Robert Stephenson Clarke in 1982.

The Round Dell was created by Sophie Walker in 2019 and symbolises a boat ‘slicing into the sub-tropical garden’. It was designed as part of the Garden’s 125th anniversary and was formerly a quarry filled with sub-tropical plants. Walker’s design reflects her interest with wilderness and how we respond to it.


The ‘Jewel Box’ was originally designed by Gabrielle Evans for RHS Hampton Court in 2015 and has been installed here by Brighton Garden Designer, Jade Goto.

The Garden of Allah was originally part of the Parkland that was developed in 1920s with rhododendrons collected by Frank Kingdon-Ward. This part of the garden is very peaceful and was named by Sir Ralph Stephenson Clarke.



The History of Borde Hill

Stephen Borde built the house between 1583 and 1590 and it remained in the Borde family until the death of William Borde in 1720. The estate then passed through several hands until it was bought by Colonel Stephenson Clarke in 1892. Clarke laid out the present garden and planted many ornamental trees. His son Colonel Ralph Stephenson Clarke continued the work and in 1965 established a charity to maintain the garden. It is now managed by Mr and Mrs A Stephenson Clarke although much of the surrounding estate is in private ownership.

There’s a cafe on site as well as a plant nursery and also the award-winning Restaurant, Jeremy’s – a real treat.

                                                                       Flame by Simon Probyn


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