Borde Hill Garden will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2018 with new tours suitable for groups, plus the opening of a magnolia grove.

Between 15th March and 15th April groups will be able to book magnolia and camellia tours to mark the 125th anniversary of the garden, which has been described as one of the most important plantsman and collectors’ gardens in the South East.

Borde Hill, near Haywards Heath in West Sussex, was purchased in 1893 by Colonel Stephenson Robert Clarke with the express intention of creating a ‘magnificent garden’. The Colonel was a horticultural pioneer and was responsible for sourcing and planting rare trees with 73 of his trees at Borde Hill now attaining ‘champion’ status including magnolias collected from China, America and Japan.

March and April are said to be the ideal months to enjoy them, so the new tours will be running then. The tours will see visitors able to trace the history of these trees and shrubs, brought to Europe across the high seas from China by the tea merchants of the 18th and early 19th Centuries. 

Groups can also discover how Colonel Stephenson R. Clarke of Borde Hill sponsored plant hunters, and how he raised the famous Camellia ‘Donation’ in the 1930s and received the Award of Merit in 1941.

The tours are suitable for 15 or more people at a discounted rate when pre-booked. GTOs can book by e-mailing or calling 01444-450326.

In addition to the new tours, the garden anniversary will be celebrated with the ‘Gardiner Grove’, a meadow planted with 48 specimen magnolia trees chosen by RHS Vice President Jim Gardiner.  Jim is a magnolia specialist and was a former president of Magnolia Society International.

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