This is the time of year for the wonderful tree peony
The tree peony is an ancient plant which was revered by Japanese emperors 1000 years ago. They flower from early April until late May …..The papery flamboyant blooms and interesting foliage gives the impression that the plants are delicate but they are not!
This one is called Paeonia suffruticosa. It is also known as Chinese Tree Peony or Moutan peony.
You can see it in the side border at Rosebud Cottage and find them growing in the gardens at Highdown near Worthing. The gardens are open all year and admission is free. They are within easy reach of Steyning. Details at http://www.highdowngardens.co.uk/
Sheffield Park is a magnificent landscaped garden laid out in the 18 century by 'capability' Brown and further developed in the early years of the 20 century by its owner, Arthur G Soames. The centrepiece is the original four lakes.
There are dramatic shows of daffodils and bluebells in spring, and the rhododendrons, azaleas and stream garden are spectacular in early summer. Autumn brings stunning colours from the many rare trees and shrubs …perhaps the best time to visit?
I thoroughly recommend a visit to Nymans having spent a morning here very recently.
The National Trust describes it as “A garden lovers’ home for all seasons, with an extensive yet intimate garden set around a romantic house and ruins”.
One of the National Trust’s premier gardens, Nymans was a country retreat for the creative Messel family, and has views stretching out across the Sussex Weald. Today you can recharge your batteries here, while you explore this beautiful place. Discover hidden corners through stone archways, walking along tree-lined avenues while surrounded by lush green countryside.
Nymans has both vibrantly colourful summer borders and tranquil ancient woodlands. There are constantly evolving planting designs and a rare and unusual plant collection. The comfortable yet elegant house, a partial ruin, reflects the personalities and stories of the talented Messel family, from the Countess of Rosse to Oliver Messel and photographer Lord Snowdon.
There is a large shop and plant centre with their special collection of plants grown on site, a cafe offering a choice of seasonal food, and a Grab & Go kiosk in the tea garden.
Every day there are guided walks and talks in the garden and woods. There’s a small gallery in the house with changing exhibitions for every season, a secondhand bookshop, shop tastings and mobility tours of the garden and woods. I joined a guided walk which was excellent.