A hidden gem in the High Weald of Sussex, sensitively planted to enhance the natural landscape. A botanical treasure trove and classic English idyll make High Beeches one of the finest gardens in the South East


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Beautiful Eucryphias

There are two species of Eucryphia in the garden,  E. cordifolia and E glutinosa, and
three hybrids E. cv Grayswood, E. cv Nymansay and E cv Rostrevor.

Eucryphia glutinosa is a native of Chile and was introduced by R Pearce whilst collecting for
Veitch's Nursery in 1859.  It is hardy and flowers freely in July and August .Evergreen in the wild it  is not very common as it is difficult to propagate successfully and is becoming rare in Chile.

Eucryphia glutinosa
Eucryphia cordifolia was introduced in 1851 and is a native of the rain forests of Chile.  It is only hardy in the southern counties and is grown most successfully in the west country.

Eucryphia x nymansensis 'Nymansay'
Eucryphia x nymansensis 'Nymansay' is a beautiful tree of rapid growth which flowers in August/ September.  It is a hybrid between
(E. cordifolia and E. glutinosa) and was raised  by James Comber, Head Gardener at Nymans.

Eucryphia x intermedia 'Rostrevor' a hybrid between (E.glutinosa and E. lucida) a free flowering small tree raised at Rostrevor in Northern Ireland.  'Grayswood'  is similar.

Eucryphia x intermedia 'Rostrevor'

Monday, 13 July 2015

Wildflowers in the Garden

The wildflower meadow is still looking wonderful, full of seed heads and grasses and humming with insect life.

The garden is full of wildflowers too.

The Ivy leaved Bell Flower, Wahlenbergia
hederacea is a delicate, trailing perennial of damp ground.  It has pale blue flowers in June and the leaves are rounded with lobes like tiny ivy leaves.  It is not that common in the south east of  England.

Small Cow-wheat, Melampyrum sylvaticum.
A straggly annual,semi parasitic on the roots
of other plants and an indicator of ancient
It has a relationship with the Wood Ant.  The
flowers produce a sugary liquid from tiny glands
below the petals that the Ants are attracted to
and feed on.  The seeds of the plant are very
similar in appearance to the cocoons of the ant and are transported back to the nest where they can grow.
It is a food plant of the caterpillar of the rare
Heath Fritillary Butterfly.

Musk -mallow, Malvia moschata.
A hairy perennial  with pretty pale pink
flowers in July and August found in dry
grassy places.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Whites in the Garden

July is the month for all things white contrasting with the many, shapes, textures and shades of green provided by the huge variety of trees and shrubs in the garden.

The Styraxs, Stuartias, Cornus and Philadelphus are in flower and the Eucryphias will soon follow. The garden is also carpeted with wildflowers attracting clouds of butterflies.  There are many dragonflies to be seen on the ponds.

Styrax japonica
Styrax Japonica, a graceful tree, dripping
with pure white flowers.  A native of
Japan, China and Korea, it was probably first
introduced to Britain from China by
Wilson although seed was also collected
by Pere Farges in 1898.

Cornus kousa
Cornus kousa, another native of China and
Japan and also a Wilson introduction in
1907.  A beautiful tree with showy white
bracts.  The large tree here at High Beeches
was badly damaged in the storm of l987
but is now almost fully recovered.

Stuartia rostrata

High Beeches has the National Collection
of Stuartias although it is a struggle to
grow the American plants here.  Both
rostrata and pseudocamellia are in flower
and the monodelphas and sinensis will soon follow.  All are beautiful trees, flowering well with camellia like flowers and good autumn colour.

Monday, 15 June 2015

June in the Garden

June in the garden brings a
variety of trees and shrubs
in flower.

The beautiful ancient wildflower
meadow is at its best, a stunning carpet
of  Ox-eye Daisies, buttercups, yellow
rattle, orchids and many more.

Magnolia tripetala, the Umbrella
Tree.  One of the most common of the
American magnolias, it is a large tree
with large leaves and cream coloured
flowers in May/June.  A native of the
eastern US, introduced in 1752.
The one here was planted in 1932.

Rhododendron maddenii ssp crassum.
A large shrub with beautiful white/pink,
highly scented flowers which fill the
garden with fragrance at this time of year.
One of the hardiest of the group and a
native North Vietnam, SE Tibet and China.
It was introduced in 1906 by George Forrest.

Styrax hemsleyanus a lovely small tree
with white flowers borne in long racemes.
A native of China and introduced in 1900 by
Ernest Wilson.  The most impressive tree in
the country is in the walled garden at
Trengwainton in Cornwall.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015



A small genus of five species.  We have one at High Beeches and a selected clone.

Crinodendron hookerianum Gay
formely (Tricuspidaria lanceaolata)
the Lantern tree, has long-stalked
red lantern like flowers in May.
A large shrub here at High Beeches
was  planted in 1914.  A native of
Chile it was introduced by
William Lobb for Messrs Veitch,
 in 1848.

Crindodendrons prefer cool, moist, peaty soil
and are not always hardy, they are mostly to
be found in gardens  in the UK on the west coast and the Isle of Wight.

Crinodendron hookerianum 'Ada Hoffmann'
is a pale pink flowered clone selected in
the wild.  The plant here at High Beeches
was planted in 2009, flowering for the first time
in 2010.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

In praise of the beautiful Nothofagus

Nothofagus, the southern hemisphere beeches grow well here at High Beeches.

Related to Fagus, a genus of large ornamental, fast growing, evergreen and deciduous trees.
There are five in the garden here including:

Nothofagus dombeyi  a medium to large tree
from Chile and Argentina and introduced in l916 by F R S Balfour.  The beautiful old tree at High Beeches was a victim of the l987 storm but a young tree planted in 1989 is growing well.

Nothofagus fusca, the Red beech, can be frost tender when young but grows into a beautiful medium sized tree.  A native of New Zealand.  The one here was planted in 1931.

Nothofagus obliqua the Roble Beech.  A large
fast growing tree from Chile and Argentina
introduced  from Chile by H J Elwes.  The timber is not dissimilar to oak and has similar uses.  This one was planted in 1990.

Nothofagus alpina (N. nervosa).  A large, fast
growing tree with large leaves similar to
carpinus, colouring well in autumn.  A native
of Chile and Argentina introduced in 1913.
It produces fine timber used for wine barrels,
veneers and interiors.  This tree was planted
in l991.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Some of the smaller Rhododendrons at High Beeches

High Beeches has a large selection of the smaller Rhodendrons many to be found growing on Forrest's Bank with Rh. rex and Rh. Elsae towering over them.

Rhododendron primuliflorum
One of the most enchanting is Rhododendron
primuliflorum a small to medium sized shrub.
The leaves are small and white underneath and
the small flowers are daphne like, tubular
and pink in colour borne in small rounded
heads.  It won 'Best in Show' at Wisley last year.

Rhododendron russatum introduced by
George Forrest in l917 is another small
shrub of up to 1.2m high. It has flowers of
a beautiful deep blue-purple in April/May.

Rhododendron campylogynum is a very
pretty dwarf shrub which produces long-stalked, bell shaped, rose purple flowers and
was introduced by George Forrest in l912.
Rhododendron russatum

Finally Rhododendron Yellow Hammer
(Rh. flavidum x Rh. sulfureum) a beautiful
yellow hybrid which is flowering particularly
well this year.  Raised at Caerhays in Cornwall
it is to be found in flower throughout the year.

Rhododendron campylogynum
Rhododendron Yellow Hammer