We began the day with more than a little tripidation given the weather to date but as it turned out we were lucky and from the start at Grove Farm House we had a dry and even sunny day. After a warming coffee and biscuits, Tom Archer, Head Gardner who has been with the Piers Gibsons since they took over at Grove Farm House, guided us eloquantly round the spectacularly garden set in the South Downs. Originally a working farm with just a few shrubs and a willow tree the transformation to garden has required the laying a mass of drains to stop the water laying on the heavy soil, but the effort has been worth it. In the 20 years since they moved in they have created a stunning maze and brilliant boarders along with a range of different sized cut hedging that has produced a garden you feel relaxed and happy to be in.
Sculpture of stainless steel, yew and box by Piers’ Gibson’s sister in law.
Box, bay, laurel and a herb garden in front of the converted grain store.
The next stop was Town Place where owners Mr & Mrs McGrath have created a cathedral as big as a small church from hornbeam begging the question if it is ruin given it has no roof, but is growing rather than decaying!
Along with immaculate herbaceous borders, a walled garden, ornamental grasses, an ancient hollow oak, orchard and potager, there were topiary experiments to create Henry Moore style objects from yew.
After lunch at the Griffin Pub in Fletching we walked a few hundred yards up to our final garden of the day and what a treat it was. Clinton Lodge is a wonderful range of styles and plants and at every turn you see something different and captivating.
Gavin, the Head Gardener for the last 25 year, gave an entertaining and down to earth guided tour of a most lovingly cared for garden as Lady Collum was sadly delayed.
And to end the day, what better than a lovely cup of tea and some cake on the sunniest day for weeks!