Glorious gardening near home

5 June 2017

Glorious gardening near home

If you’re missing some of the delights of Chelsea Flower Show already, as we are, make a date to rediscover some of the gorgeous gardens here on our doorstep.

Stansted Park at Rowlands Castle has 1800 acres of formal gardens, parkland and ancient forest to explore. See if you can escape the maze formed from more than 500 yew trees or simply enjoy some of the colourful borders for some local, green-fingered inspiration. 

West Dean Gardens in Chichester offers a wide range of historic features showing off its rich heritage as ‘one of the greatest restored gardens open to the public in England’. There’s also a rather nice ‘Gardens’ restaurant and gift shop looking out over the Lavant valley and West Dean Park. The gardens are open from February until December and dogs are welcome on a short lead so your four-legged friend can enjoy the blooms too!

Within the city walls of Chichester lies Priory Park, once owned by the Duke of Richmond who presented it to the City in 1918. There is a children’s play area, a bowling green and a cricket square as well as plenty of open space for picnicking or enjoying the weather while taking a stroll through the trees. The Priory Park Festival will be held this year on 7, 8 and 9 July for a weekend promising ‘music, food and the arts’.

If you haven’t yet found your way to visit Bishop’s Palace Gardens next door to Chichester Cathedral, it’s worth seeking out. Here you’ll discover a formal garden, a rose pergola, herbaceous beds with warm colours to the east becoming cooler toward the west, an alpine garden and a wildlife garden as well as a beautiful arboretum. You can even walk along the ramparts of the City Walls to enjoy a different perspective.

Arundel Castle attracted more than 176,000 visitors last year, with 40% saying their particular favourite is the gardens. It’s easy to see why. The Collector Earl’s Garden was opened by Prince Charles in 2008 and leads a cut flower garden, organic kitchen garden, a stumpery and a rose garden among other delights (including a peach house built in 1850!). Until 24 June, visitors will be treated to an ‘Allium Extravaganza’ throughout the walled gardens, with some of the 14 varieties up to five feet high. 

The National Trust has beautiful grounds and gardens across the country including a selection here in West Sussex. Unusually however, you have to pre-book a visit to the 26 acres at Woolbeding Gardens just outside Midhurst, from where a complimentary mini-bus will take you to the gardens as there is no parking on site. The private gardens, which are open on Thursdays and Fridays until the end of September, include a fountain garden, well garden, orangery and even a tulip folly. The National Trust describes the gardens as a ‘modern masterpiece’.

At Parham House & Gardens in Storrington you’ll discover a beautiful, four-acre walled garden with landscaped pleasure grounds beyond. Parham also has its own garden shop and nursery grown by the Parham team who can also offer gardening advice. Do check the opening times and days before setting off, especially as they are closed most Saturdays, Mondays and Tuesdays. Dogs are welcome and will enjoy the circular walk around the pleasure pond but must be kept on leads as there may be wild deer roaming. 

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