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


Thursday, 10 December 2015

A splash or two of colour in the garden

Berberis and Pampas grass

Acer palmatum Corallinum

Taxodium distichum
There is still colour to be found on a walk around the garden at High Beeches in
early December.  A berberis provides a fiery backdrop to the pampas grass.

Acer palmatum Corallinum has held on to
some of it leaves as has Taxodium distichum
brightening a dull day.

Acer palmatum Corallinum, the coral bark maple, is a rare and distinct cultivar.

Taxodium distichum, the swamp cypress,
is a large deciduous conifer.  A native of the US, it was introduced to the UK by John
Tradescant in 1638.  It can be grown in wet soil but grows better on well-drained soil and thrives in dry sandy soil.  It has fibrous reddish brown bark and pretty feathery green foliage which turns reddish brown in autumn.  A long
lived tree and wind hardy.  The famous tree in
Santa Maria del Tule, Oaxaca in Mexico has the largest girth of any known tree, measuring
35.8m in 1982

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Magnolia Seed

Magnolia Alexandrina

Magnolia Charles Raffill
Magnolia Seed

It has been a good year for seed on the
Magnolias.  The exotic and strange shaped
pods are often pink and split open to reveal
bright red seeds.

Magnolia Alexandrina (Magnolia x soulangeana 'Alexandrina') a hybrid between
Magnolia denudata and Magnolia liliiflora,
 M. Alexandrina is a named form and one of the most popular of magnolias.  It is free flowering in April and the flowers are white and flushed purple at the base. It is a
small tree here at High Beeches.

Magnolia  campbellii var. campbellii x var. mollicomata  'Charles Raffill'.  A cross made by C P Raffill at Kew in 1946.  A vigourous tree with large flowers which are deep purple on the outside and white with a purple marginal flush on the inside.

Magnolia globosa

Magnolia grandiflora 'Goliath'
Magnolia globosa is a large shrub with nodding creamish flowers produced in June.  It was introduced by George Forrest in 1919
from China and first flowered in the UK
at Loch Inch in 1931.  It is closely related to
M. wilsonii and M.sieboldii and is not
particularly common in cultivation.

Magnolia grandiflora 'Goliath' has large white flowers almost a foot across and flowers throughout the summer into the
autumn.  One of the trees here at High Beeches was badly damaged in the storm
of 1987 but has now fully recovered.
The timber of Magnolia grandiflora (Southern Magnolia) is harvested in the US and used for among other things, furniture and veneers

Monday, 26 October 2015

Nyssa Sylvatica

Nyssa sylvatica High Beeches

Nyssa sylvatica
There are a number of  Nyssa sylvatica trees at High Beeches Garden all lighting up the garden even on a cloudy day. 

Nyssa sylvatica (Tupelo tree) is a native
of the North Eastern US and one of the
best trees for autumn colour.  Nyssa sylvatica 'High Beeches' was awarded the the First Class Certificate by the RHS for its
brilliant coloured and glossy foliage.  Nyssas sucker and some have been allowed to grow on creating this beautiful group.

This Nyssa was planted as part of a group with
Nothofagus fusca, Stuartia monodelpha and
Eucalyptus gunni.  The tall fastigiate tree in
front of it is Ginko Biloba which has yet to
turn yellow.

Nyssa sylvatica

A relatively young Nyssa planted close to the
garden entrance with a backdrop of Beech
and framed by Kalopanax pictus and Acer flabellatum.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015


Sorbus sargentiana

Stuartia rostrata
Berries and Seeds

There are so many plants fruiting in the
garden here at High Beeches that I could
fill several pages.

Sorbus sargentiana produces large heads of
red berries of up to 15cm across.  Sorbus
do not thrive particularly well here but S.
sargentiana does better than most and almost
always puts on a good display of berry and
autumn colour.  It is a native of Western
China and was introduced by Ernest Wilson
in 1908.

The Stuartias all have seed heads this year.
S. rostrata has beaked fruit and is one of the better Stuartias for autumn colour.  A native of China and introduced to the USA in 1936.

Magnolia globosa
The Magnolias are covered in seed pods many
are large and odd shapes.  Those of
M. globosa are a striking red.  This magnolia is related to M.wilsonii, the
flowers and fruit are similar.  A native of
China, Nepal and India, it was introduced by George Forrest in 1919.

Euonymous oxyphyllus
Euonymous oxyphyllus has very striking
fruit and beautiful purple red autumn foliage.
It is an excellent addition to the autumn garden.
A native of China, Japan and Korea it was
introduced in 1892.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

September colour in the Garden

Hydrangea paniculata 'Unique'

September colour in the garden.

It looks as though Autumn will be earlier
here than last year.  There is already colour
throughout the garden.  The Acers are all
turning red and yellow and the
Liquidambers, the Nyssas and Parrotias
all are showing colour and the promise of a
spectacular autumn display.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Unique' is turning
a beautiful shade of pink and the many clumps
of grasses are starting to flower.  Stipa
gigantica is looking especially pretty this

Stipa gigantica

Acer palmatum  Senkaki

Acer palmatum Senkaki  and a young beech
glowing in the September evening sun soon
to be joined by the Golden Ash and the
Disanthus cercidifolius.

It is also a very good year for berries.

The garden is open until the end of
Young Beech

There will not be any Halloween events
at High Beeches at Half Term.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Late flowering wildflowers

Three wildflowers flowering in the garden.

Mentha aquatica
There are still many wildflowers flowering in
the garden.  Among them are Mentha aquatica
(Water Mint), Hypericum, perforatum (Perforate St John's Wort) and Pulicaria dysenterica (Common Flea Bane).

Water Mint is a hairy perennial that smells
strongly of mint.  It is found in damp ground,
is very popular with insects and is common
through Europe and some parts of Asia.

Perforate St Johns-wort is an upright perennial,
Hypericum perforatum
native to Europe and Asia.  A herb which is
sometimes used to treat mild cases of depression.
Research is going on into its antibacterial
properties.  It is poisonous in large doses
to grazing animals.

Pulicaria dysenterica

Common Flea Bane is a creeping perennial
found on heavy soils in damp places and is
also common throughout Europe and Asia.
It has been used in the past as an incense to
drive away insects and has been used in the
past as a treatment for dysentry.