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Spectacular Borders Provide Inspiration

The summer months are always busy as DHHS members take advantage of the weather to explore gardens in the surrounding area. In July we visited the beautiful gardens at historic West Dean and were truly impressed by the changes undertaken by Head Gardener Tom Brown, who took over in May 2019. Stepping into the shoes of Sarah Wain and Jim Buckland was never going to be an easy task but his dry meadow planting near the winterbourne stream was the work of pure genius. The planting consisted of more-drought tolerant perennials capable of thriving in a sun-baked, low fertility site and more importantly, was completely covered in butterflies, bees, and bumblebees. And like the planting at Knepp, it demonstrated vividly that a border can be bursting with colour from the tawny oranges of kniphofia to the magentas of dianthus carthusianorum to the deep purples of various forms of salvia.

Woodhill Manor, Shamley Green

Our August visit to Woodhill Manor was a real treat, thanks to the incredible hospitality of the owners and gardening team. The passion of the gardening team was evident in every beautifully maintained border ablaze with colour, texture and shape. We were encouraged to stroll everywhere and we did so, admiring the views of the Surrey hills and asking questions about various plants. We loved head gardener Kate’s cut flower beds filled with dahlias, cosmos, nicotiana, sunflowers and other annuals. These beds are planned by the gardening team each year with an eye to creating an outstanding display throughout the year both in the garden and for the house. They encourage each other to step outside their comfort zone and try new plants. Most of the plants are grown from seed in their greenhouse or propagated by the team. Hats off to them for a fantastic garden and for providing us with so much inspiration.

And we were all envious of Kate and the gardening team's shed! What a beautiful place to design new borders, grab a cuppa and sort through seed catalogues. I would happily live there. Huge thanks to owners Paul & Julie and their brilliant gardening team making us feel so welcome and for answering all our questions. You can follow Kate on Instagram @katesinthegarden.

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