Renowned for its magnificent collections of trees and flowering shrubs from across the world, Borde Hill is one of Britain’s great heritage gardens in West Sussex, UK. Published by Merrell Publishers and written by garden historian and former magazine editor Vanessa Berridge, the new book ‘Borde Hill Garden: A Plant Hunter’s Paradise’ ‘is the first to tell the story of this spectacular garden, explaining its botanical importance as a living link with the golden era of plant hunting and horticultural derring-do, and taking the reader on a wonderfully immersive illustrated tour.
Set in historic parkland in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in West Sussex, Borde Hill’s Elizabethan mansion and gardens have belonged to four generations of the same family since being bought by Colonel Stephenson Robert Clarke (‘Stephie’) in 1893. In the first section of the book – ‘The History’ – Vanessa Berridge draws on her exclusive access to the family archive of photographs, meticulous notes and letters to explain how Stephie set about creating this remarkable garden and woodland.
Stephie’s extensive correspondence with nurserymen, directors of botanical gardens and plant hunters gives a unique insight into the horticultural world of the time. It reveals acts of courage by such famed plant explorers as Ernest Wilson and George Forrest and the professional level of accomplishment needed to bring back – and nurture – plants and trees from the far reaches of the globe.
Illustrated by the glorious photography of John Glover, the second part of the book leads the reader around Borde Hill, taking in everything from the Old Rhododendron Garden to Jay Robin’s Rose Garden, Paradise Walk and the Azalea Ring. Featuring many plant species found nowhere else in Britain, and woods with one of the country’s largest privately owned collections of rare trees, Borde Hill offers visitors the world in one garden.
With a foreword by leading garden writer and plantsman Stephen Lacey, this engaging book is a fitting celebration of one of the country’s most important gardens. It concludes with information on Borde Hill’s numerous historic plants, its champion trees and its many RHS Awards of Merit.
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