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


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

Friday, 8 August 2014

Woodland Gentian

TheWoodland Gentian, Gentiana asclepiadea,
 is established here at High Beeches and in August the gentians flower throughout the garden.  High Beeches is the only known site in the UK where these gentians are naturalised.

The Woodland or Willow Gentian is a perennial and is a native of central and southern europe and is usually to be found in woodland mountain areas.  It is a beautiful plant with elegant arching stems and bright blue trumpet like flowers.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Stewartia sinensis


The Stewartias at High Beeches are in flower.

A small genus of ornamental trees and shrubs related to the camellia.

Stewartia sinensis has attractive peeling bark and good autumn colour.  A native of central China and introduced to the UK by Ernest Wilson in1901.  A highly desirable ornamental tree but rare in cultivation.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Quercus oxyodon

A rare oak, Quercus oxyodon, is flowering at High Beeches.

Although evergreen Quercus oxyodon sheds its leaves in the spring and then flowers before producing new foliage in the summer.  It is a low growing tree of up to 10 metres in height with wide spreading branches.

 A native of China and probably introduced by Ernest Wilson in 1900.

The tree at High Beeches is an old one.  There is another at Caerhays planted in l919 but there is a debate as to whether or not they are the same plant.
A small number of other gardens have young plants, including Nymans and Chevithorne Barton.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Liriodendron tulipifera

A large tree of up to 30 metres in height.  The tulip tree has very distinct foliage, which turns golden-yellow in autumn.  It flowers in June and the flowers are not unlike tulips hence its name.  It is an early introduction to this country from North America, the first record of at Tulip Tree is from 1688 and it may well have been introduced earlier.
The magnificent Tulip Tree at High Beeches grows on the bank between the road and the car park and was probably planted in the early 1900s.


Friday, 6 June 2014

In praise of buttercups and Ox-eye Daisies

The Ox-eye Daisy, Moon Daisy or Dog Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare , a member of the Asteraceae family, is the largest native daisy and a familiar sight brightening many a road side verge.

The daisies and buttercups turn the meadow at High Beeches into a haze of white and gold in June, particularly beautiful in the evening light.  They attract, along, with the other wildflowers, a huge number of insects and butterflies to the meadow.

 Mysteriously the number of daisies in the meadow fluctuates every year.  They are perennials and seed copiously and as the meadow is managed in the same way each year, the reason for fluctuation in numbers must be down to changes in the weather.

,Both the Meadow Buttercup, Ranunculus acris, and Creeping Buttercup, Ranunculus repens are to be found in the meadow.  Lesser Spearwort, Ranunculus flammula grows in wet places in the garden.  Recently Arthur Hoare of the Sussex Botanical Recording Society has also identified the Bulbous Buttercup, Ranunculus bulbosus, also growing in the garden.