Day 1: Thursday 1st June 2017
The tour starts at Brighton Railway Station at 12 noon to take advantage of the train service from London. Those wishing to drive can park at the hotel to be collected at 11:30 by the coach en-route to the station. We drive together to Sussex Prairies for an introduction and simple lunch before the garden visit. Most of us dabble with herbaceous plants in our gardens but Paul & Pauline McBride have broken the mould by boldly planting a large field with huge swathes of perennials. We leave in time to check in at the hotel before dining together.
Day 2: Friday 2nd June 2017
Two important Sussex gardens today: Nymans Gardens were created by Ludwig Messel in the early 1900s and are now one of the United Kingdom's most exquisite gardens: a mix of formal and informal areas with far-reaching views and colour all year round. A fine romantic garden surrounds the intriguing ruins of the house and is packed full of exotic species from around the world including significant international and plant heritage collections. The Walled Garden features plants from China and Chile and across the road the Wild Garden is home to the Tasmanian collection. Wakehurst Place is an adapted sixteenth century house with a mainly twentieth century garden. Advertised as 'Kew in the country', Wakehurst Place Garden belongs to the National Trust and is managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens. Aesthetically, it is more pleasing than Kew. As at Bodnant, the ornamental area near the house is in the Arts and Crafts style and the woodland garden is in the picturesque/gardenesque style. Lunch at Wakehurst Place is included
Day 3: Saturday 3rd June 2017
Firstly, we head to Chichester to visit West Dean. Formerly the home of Edward James, it is now devoted to promoting arts and crafts with exquisite walled gardens managed by Sarah Wain. A light lunch is included at West Dean before driving to Denmans Garden where John Brookes, one of Britain’s most influential designers, has lived since 1980. There is something about the garden at Denmans which is quite unlike any other in Britain, for its display is not only to do with flower colour, but also foliage form and texture and, of course, foliage colour.
Day 4: Sunday 4th June 2017
A special early morning visit to Sissinghurst Castle Garden created by the writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson. Sissinghurst is one of the most famous and influential of our 20th century gardens. After lunch at Sissinghurst, we visit Great Dixter, the family home of Christopher Lloyd, who devoted his lifetime to creating one of the most experimental, exciting, and constantly evolving gardens of our time, now managed with sensitivity and skill by Fergus Garrett.
Day 5: Monday 5th June 2017
Our final day begins with a visit to The Royal Pavilion Brighton followed by lunch. We then return to Brighton Railway Station for 14:00 and onward to Hilton Brighton Metropole at 14:15 for those who have left cars.
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