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


Monday, 23 February 2015

The view from the Colonel's seat - Before and After

Winter in the garden brings one of the
longest jobs for the gardeners.  When all
the leaves are off the trees they have to
be cleared, either raked up or blown on to the beds.  When the job is down the garden looks
tidy and the moss glows in the winter sunlight.

The fallen leaves are important to the garden
as they provide mulch on the beds and they
are also blown into the gills (streams) to help
slow down the flow of water.   In recent years,
although the volume of water has not
increased, the amount of water flowing through the garden has increased at any one time.
This causes erosion of the gill banks and
in some places is undermining the bridges.
The only solution seems to be to slow down the
flow of water.

Mulch is important to feed, protect the plants
and retain water in the summer.  After the big
storm of l987 the garden lost a great deal of
its overhead cover and so produced less
mulch and for the first time we had to start
buying it in.

To take a break from the monotomy of
clearing leaves some planting has been done
along with a considerable amount of
pruning.  Clearing the prunings is a challenge
here as it is not possible to bring machinery
into the garden during the winter as the ground is too wet and the paths would be damaged.
 The gardeners either chip or drag everything to
 bonfire sites outside the garden.
 You need to be fit to work here!

Garden reopens on Saturday 28th March.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Flowers in December

I can always find a dozen plants in flower in the garden on Christmas Day but was surprised to find many of them already in flower this year.

A very early primrose enjoying the warmth.

Rhododendron Yellow Hammer, a hybrid rhododendron which delights throughout the year. 

A number of other rhododenrons also have a smattering of flower.

Mahonia japonica, the Japanese Mahonia, beautifully fragranced, an asset for the winter garden.
Hamamelis mollis, the chinese witch hazel, already showing colour.  The flowers produce a glorious scent in the winter sunshine.

I also found flower buds on Magnolia grandiflora Goliath. 

Monday, 3 November 2014

End of Season

Betula utilis with Nyssa sylvatica in the back ground

The end of the season is always a time for reflection.  We miss our visitors but at the same time we have space to plan for the next season.
Planting will be going ahead in the next few weeks mainly out in Tank Meadow, where Russell and Balint will be planting two small copses and a number of specimen trees.  Two more Prunus will be added to the exisiting collection along with three Betula costata.  The plan is to add to the autumn colour already there provided by two young Nyssas and three
Carpinus with another Carpinus and an Acer Sacchrum.  The Prunus have also been chosen
with autum colour in mind.
Acer palmatum and Magnolia grandiflora, top right
Some of our visitors this year have been very complimentary comparing High Beeches to Sheffield Park.  Thank you to all of you who have visited and enjoyed the garden this year.

I took these photos today with the exception of the fourth which was taken a week or two ago.
There has been heavy rain in the last 24 hours but the sun came through just before the light started to go.  There was a beautiful sunset.
Miscanthus sinensis malepertus

The Garden will be open from 28th March until 1st November, 2015, 1pm - 5pm every day except Wednesdays.  Coaches welcome by appointment at any time.

A particularly good Acer seedling, Sorbus sargentiana, Pinus Montezuma with a background of Fagus sylvatica

Monday, 13 October 2014

Autumn Yellows

Aesculus parviflora

THE AUTUMN YELLOWS are lighting up the garden.

Many of the great Fall trees put on a beautiful display of yellow before taking on their more familiar spectacular reds and oranges.

Decaisnea fargesii
Fothergilla major

Liquidamber styraciflua

Nyssa sylvatica High Beeches

Friday, 3 October 2014

Disanthus cercidifolius

Disanthus cercidifolius, a member of the hamamelidaceae family, is lighting up the garden with the spectacular colour of its heart shaped leaves.  A native of Japan and China it was introduced to the UK in about 1893.  It is a woodland plant, an acid soil lover and fairly hardy.  There are seven plants flourishing in the garden at High Beeches.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Seeds and Berries

Early signs of Autumn

Sorbus hupehensis
Early Autumn is bringing a taste of the spectacular colour to look forward to.  The acers are starting to turn yellow, orange and red.  The liquidambers and parrotias are already showing signs of colour.  The grasses are looking good too.

It is the time of year for berries and seed and this is a particularly good year.

Sorbus hupehensis is covered in bright pink berries.  A Rowan native to central and western China.  It was discovered by Ernest Wilson in 1910.
Acer caudatifolium

Acer caudatifolium, a beautiful snake bark maple from Taiwan.

Symplocos paniculata
Symplocos paniculata a delightful deciduous shrub with white, fragrant flowers in June and bright blue fruits in autumn.  A native of China, Himalaya and Japan.  First introduced to the USA in 1871 and then to England.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

September Wildflowers at High Beeches


There are still many wildflowers to be seen in the garden at High Beeches.  It is a particularly good year for the Devil's-bit Scabious, succisa pratensis which is flowering freely throughout the meadows and garden.  The Devils-bit scabious, a beautiful lavender blue, was used to treat Scabies and is a good source of nectar, it is also a food plant of the Marsh Fritillary butterfly

There are large clumps of Common Fleabane, Pulicaria dysenterica, to be found, its name comes from past use as an incense to rid the house of insects and it was also used in the treatment of dysentry. Water Mint, Menta aquatica, grows in the ghylls, a valuable source of nectar for bees and butterflies as well as a food plant for caterpillars.

Lesser Skullcap, Scutellaria minor and Cow Wheat, Melampyrum pratense are also flourishing.  Cow Wheat is an ancient woodland indicator and its seed is attractive to wood ants.  It is also a food plant for the caterpillars of the Heath Fritillary butterfly.  The delicate Skull cap is semi parasitic on other plants and was used in traditional medicine.
Lesser Skullcap

Devil's-bit Scabious

Common Fleabane

Water Mint

Cow Wheat