Prairie Gardens, Henfold, Sussex
The gardens were opened to the public in 2009. They are Britain’s largest ‘Prairie’ or ‘Naturalistic’ garden with 8 acres of stunning space to roam around.
We were given an introductory talk to explain how, when and why the garden was created, It was a fascinating story involving the transportation of many thousands of plants across the channel from Belgium.
We then had exclusive access to the gardens during the morning. The weather was warm and sunny, the heat being disguised by a brisk steady wind. The network of woodchip tracks and wide grass paths, with many sitting areas, allowed us to take in the huge colourful borders of herbaceous perennials. The swathes of colour & texture and sweeping curves were beautifully designed to create an atmosphere of peace and restfulness.
The teashop, with Art Gallery, made a pleasant venue to relax over a sandwich and homemade cake.
Woolbeding Gardens (NT)
In the afternoon we moved on to Woolbeding Gardens (NT). They are a horticultural haven; immaculate formal garden rooms with meticulously composed colour themed borders complimented by architectural follies and a waterfall that merges into the landscape of the River Rother.
In contrast you can then lose yourself in an air of mystery and surprise created by the Long Walk. The Orchard Cafe served teas and a selection of tempting treats and an opportunity to take shelter from the afternoon heat.
Pictures by John Pilfold and Ken Reeves.