Tuesday, September 21, 2010

West Sussex Gardens

Since the plane landed at 7 AM, we weren't interested in spending our first day sleeping; as a result, we sort of "hit the ground running."  Our itinerary was a combination of the "really famous gardens," as well as those recommended by other bloggers and gardeners I know.  In the end, we were delighted in the mix of gardens we saw.  The schedule was pretty much based upon opening days for some of those gardens, and where in the country we would be.

Since we landed at Gatwick, the first place we went was Nyman's Garden, which is one of the National Trust properties (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/).  As Americans visiting the UK, one of the best things we did was joining The Royal Oak Society a couple of months ago.  If you're planning a trip to England, Scotland or Wales and will visit more than three Trust properties, the membership pays for itself.  I really liked this property! 

There are extensive areas for strolling, and the photo below shows the first view one gets of the garden.  As with all of the photos, click on them to go to full size.
There's lots of information on the Trust site about Nyman's, but in short it's a very romantic property, built into the ruins of a Gothic mansion.  The Countess of Rosse lived there until she died in the early 90's, though it's been open as a Trust property since the 1950's.
 Perhaps my favorite part of the garden is the Walled Garden, with famous mixed borders (below).  All in all, it was a great first garden to visit.
Leaving Nyman's, the "Garmin Chick" directed us over the river and through the woods to Parham House.  I had chosen to visit this garden first because I had followed a series of articles written by the head gardener over a year in Fine Gardening magazine, and second, because the garden is largely geared toward cut flowers for the house, which is something I deal with at work on a daily basis.
When we got there, though, it was clear that the Garmin chick had made an error, since we saw this beautiful little cottage, above.  What turned out to be an awesome satellite mistake was that I had been directed to the gardener's cottage, and his wife was in the yard.  When she found out what happened, she directed us through the private road onto the estate....I was ecstatic at the twist!

The garden was really fabulous, and had lots of quirky surprises, like this life-sized sculpture under the apple tree.
What I really liked, however, was the human aspect, getting to spend a fair amount of time chatting with the gardeners, who were taking a break in a little hidden structure inside the walled garden.

Parham was really a fabulous house and garden, as well, and one I would recommend to other visitors.  It is privately owned and inhaabited, but open five days a week.  http://www.parham.co.uk/.  At this time of year, the lavender borders are just incredible!
By the time we made it to Brighton (Motel Schmotel), we really didn't want to do anything other than crash.  On the way to a fast dinner, I got a couple of good shots of the Royal Pavillion, against the storm clouds moving in. 
In hindsight, we should have allowed more time in Brighton, since there is much more to do there than one would initially expect from some of the travel websites.


  1. amazing....just amazing.

  2. This is going to be such a wonderful adventure for us followers. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank's for sharing the pic's of the gardens. Seems like a lot of fun and quite intresting. Have a great time.....

  4. Hey Tim,
    You were over here and we never grabbed a beer together......shame on you. Wow, 30 gardens eh? Do you have energy for work now? Looking forward to seeing your trip on here.