Date for your diary: The Test Valley Garden & Literary Festival – 11th – 12th June 2016

The 11th -12th marks the first ever weekend Test Valley & Garden Literary Festival at the lovely NGS Hampshire garden Bere Mill. Not only will you be able to spend the weekend celebrating the Q…

Source: Date for your diary: The Test Valley Garden & Literary Festival – 11th – 12th June 2016

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Worth Abbey & Gardens

Visit the beautiful surroundings of Worth Abbey, with its ancient wildlife rich woodlands and magnificent Grade 2 listed modern Abbey Church, designed by Francis Pollen.  Occasionally mistaken for a space ship (!), this is an iconic landmark on the Sussex landscape and is an active English Benedictine monastery.

 Pond to Abbey

Set in 500 acres of glorious countryside, on a ridge of the High Weald, the site has stunning views towards the South Downs. The garden was originally laid out in the late 19th century, when it formed part of the Paddockhurst Estate purchased by Lord Cowdray. A Prep School was founded in 1933, but the school was evacuated to Somerset during the war and Canadian troops took over. An independent Senior School was established in 1959 and continues to this day. The Clock Tower and Model Farm were built by Robert Whitehead, inventor of the Torpedo.

Worth School Building

Enjoy the pleasant walks around the monastery and school grounds, and pause in the 100 year old Quiet Garden (Sussex Heritage Trust award 2001), a place for meditation and prayer. There is also a small Pinetum, livery stables and sheep, a rock garden surrounding a large pool, and a variety of plants and trees.  Some of the larger trees at Worth date back to 1880 and earlier, with one probable County Champion specimen (the tallest in Sussex).


Cream teas and cakes will be served in the Whitehead Room. This was formerly the music room of the Victorian house, with stained glass windows. You are welcome to bring your dog too, on a lead, but only assistance dogs are allowed in the buildings.

Open Thursday 14 April and Sunday 17 April, from 2pm to 5pm. Admission £4.50, children free. For more details see Worth Abbey & Grounds

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Visit A Beautiful School Garden In Worthing

Palatine Primary School is a community special school in Worthing, with a many roomed mature garden of varied planting and plenty of features. There is a wildlife corner, ponds, themed gardens and children’s outdoor art features, plus rockeries, living willow, labyrinth, mosaics and an interesting tree collection, along with a very special reason for being open.

The school caters for pupils with moderate, severe or profound learning needs, many of whom have associated sensory, motor and communication difficulties including Autistic Spectrum Conditions.  Constructed and maintained by teachers, volunteers and the children themselves, the gardens never cease to surprise visitors with their beauty!


The school has also recently introduced the Forest School programme, which is an outdoor education programme taking place in a designated area within the school grounds. It is a holistic way of ‘child lead learning’, whereby the children learn skills and processes during activities and experiences in the natural environment and with natural materials. Nicky Hawkins, from the school, explains “We build shelters and explore the area, cooking on an open fire.  There is also a mud kitchen, craft area and hammock, and we look at natural things using all our senses.  For our very sensory learners it is an amazingly positive experience. The outside environment has a real calming effect on children with the most challenging behaviours.” 


Forest School lets a child take supported risks using tools and activities to progress and enhance their learning by letting them have control of their own behaviours, which, in turn, encourages better behaviour inside the normal classroom.  The programme builds self-esteem and confidence, helps with communication, emotional and social development, as well as physical and intellectual development. Palatine School has always believed in giving the children a wonderful outside environment, which changes and adapts to the needs of the children.  This brings out the positives in the children and now with Forest School, they can all achieve.

New volunteers are very welcome, as help is always needed with light garden maintenance and art projects. If you can offer any help, please get in touch with Nicky Hawkins at the school, on 01903 242835.

In 2016, the gardens are open on 27 March and 10 July. Teas are on offer, along with plants for sale. Dogs are welcome on short leads.  For more details, click here: Palatine School Gardens


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6 Acres of Exquisite Floral Magic

Aldsworth House garden provides a peaceful, magical setting this Mother’s Day, Sunday 6th March…

Plenty for the whole family to see and activities for children…


Set in 6 stunning acres, Aldsworth House garden contains a walled and gravel gardens, numerous borders and 2 mini arboretums packed full of a wide variety of unusual trees, shrubs and perennials.  Particular specialities are hellebores, peonies, roses, epimediums, hostas, magnolias and clematis. In the walled garden, there are some very old fruit trees, some of which are believed to have been planted in the 1880’s and one of these was the only known specimen, until grafted cuttings were given to the Royal Horticultural Society and the Brogdale Fruit Collection.


There is a mention of the house dating back to 1785, in a Mr Barwell’s map of the Stansted estate. Many changes have taken place since then, and the house has been in the current owners’ family since 1918.  At that time, there were two full-time gardeners who provided enough vegetables and fruit for the household of 12, as well as tending an extensive flower garden.

The vegetables were grown in the inner walled garden and the outer garden and during the war in part of the hen field.

In 1920 the owner gave each of his four daughters a basket full of spring bulbs to plant under the plane tree, and it is these bulbs which have naturalised and spread. There are now sheets of colourful croci and golden daffodils under the 200 year old tree.


A short film will be shown of the garden in the 1930s, and there will also be a children’s quiz.

For further details see  Aldsworth House



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Cissbury, in Nepcote Lane, Findon BN14  0SR is returning to the NGS after 33 Years, to open for the Snowdrop Festival.

 Geoffrey and Etta Wyatt are delighted to be opening their garden as part of the Snowdrop Festival on Saturday 27 February and Thursday 3 March.

The Wyatt Family have lived at Cissbury for over 200 years and the tranquil, ten acre garden is set in its own parkland within the South Downs National Park, with far reaching views towards Cissbury Ring the largest Neolithic hill fort in Southern England, whose history dates back 5000 years.


From the house, the bank rises steeply; each lawn is stepped. On the south side there is a large Buxus sempervirens with a passage through the middle that leads up to the top of the hill, where the summerhouse is. This is round in shape and has galletted flintwork (small pieces of flint pushed into the mortar) on the outer walls.

On one side of the summerhouse there is a flat area of lawn bordered on one side by a yew hedge that has five small semi circular alcoves cut into it, one for each child in the dining room. Each alcove is planted with a different type of hedge including privet and berberis. From the summerhouse the Hill Walk extends east through an area of woodland known as the Wilderness, towards Cissbury Ring and up to the Hill Barns via Evelyn Wyatt’s picnic spot. This is crescent shaped, with the fence extending out into the field to allow better views over the park and towards Cissbury Ring and, on the south side, views of the sea.


The garden was redesigned after 1945 by Oliver Wyatt, who was a prominent member of the Royal Horticultural Society. He planted the cedar trees and holm oak hedge down the drive and the metasequoia glyptostroboides tree by the pond. He also designed the Shrubbery Walk that originally had extensive flower beds on either side of the path and the Aubretia Walk.

There are spectacular drifts of snowdrops, bluebells, and daffodils – Oliver Wyatt was a snowdrop enthusiast who discovered and named two varieties of snowdrops, namely Galanthus Maidwell L and Maidwell C, after Maidwell Hall Prep School, where he was Headmaster. The snowdrop has a small green cross inside the white petals and there are many of them planted at Cissbury.



The outline of the walled kitchen garden appears on an 1875 map and is divided into three main areas. In the middle of the walled garden is an L-shaped greenhouse, which was built as a wedding present to Evelyn Wyatt. The greenhouse contains all the original features including the cork screw winding gear that is still in partial working order. The lean-to part of the greenhouse consists of five separate bays, two of which are for vines and one for orchids. The walled garden has twenty five vegetable plots that are let out to Findon Gardening Club members.

Cissbury is open on Saturday 27 February and Thursday 3 March (10am – 4pm). Admission £4.00, children free. Home-made teas in the marquee & plants for sale.

For full details of Cissbury please visit Cissbury



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