9th January 2013

High Beeches Woodland and Water Garden, Handcross, West Sussex

A smooth journey south and through the capital to the West Sussex countryside for a work project assisting this woodland and water garden in the Weald with their safety arrangements. The garden is open to the public from March for 6 days per week in the afternoons. At this time of year, even though not open, there are early flowering specimens in evidence, a very early rhododendron, witch hazel in yellow flower, even a daffodil appearing. A very enjoyable and hopefully constructive day with generous hospitality.

High Beeches Garden comprises 27 acres of rare plants, trees and shrubs. It is recognised as an exceptionally well preserved example of a landscaped woodland garden, dating from the early 20th century. High Beeches has now been home to the Boscawen/Bray gardening dynasty for almost fifty years. Before that, it was the original home of the Loder family; members of whom went on to found other great Sussex gardens at Wakehurst Place and Leonardslee. Colonel Giles Loder was one of the outstanding gardeners of his day. He subscribed to overseas plant collecting expeditions - plants surviving from his day include historically important specimens collected by Ernest Wilson, Frank Kingdom Ward and George Forrest. These and other plant hunters travelled to places such as China, Japan and North and South America to find rare and beautiful plants, bringing back the best of each species in terms of flowers, fragrance and foliage.

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