Tree planted to mark Bignor Park anniversary

Tree presentation with, from left, Louise Elliott, Carrie McArdle, Lady Joanna Mersey and Lady Mersey. Pictures: Kate Shemilt ks16000789-2
Tree presentation with, from left, Louise Elliott, Carrie McArdle, Lady Joanna Mersey and Lady Mersey. Pictures: Kate Shemilt ks16000789-2

The National Gardens Scheme has marked the 70th anniversary of Bignor Park opening its grounds to the public for the charity.

West Sussex vounteers for the scheme, which supports nursing and caring charities, have awarded the owners, the Mersey family, with an ornamental flowering cherry tree to mark the occasion.

Lady Mersey and head gardener Louise Elliott in the knot garden at Bignor Park ks16000789-1

Lady Mersey and head gardener Louise Elliott in the knot garden at Bignor Park ks16000789-1

The gift was presented by Carrie McArdle, assistant county organiser for the National Gardens Scheme, to Lady Mersey, to be planted in Bignor’s beautiful 11-acre grounds, along with a celebration plaque.

Three generations of the Mersey family have been welcoming visitors to Bignor Park as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

Each year, the scheme raises £2.6million nationally for causes such as Macmillian, Marie Curie and Hospice UK.

Members of the public will be given the chance to see the new cherry tree at Bignor Park’s open day on Sunday, from 2pm to 5pm.

The walled garden has been replanted with herbaceous borders and there will be roses, annuals and summer perennials on show. Elsewhere in the gardens are interesting trees, shrubs and wild flower areas.

Large areas of lawn surround the grand main house and these have been expertly planted with cedars of Lebanon and holm oaks.

There are stunning views of the South Downs National Park from all around the house and the grounds feature a temple, Greek loggia, Zen pond and unusual sculptures.

Bignor Park will be laying on delicious homemade teas to be served all afternoon. Dogs on leads are welcome and there will be a plant stall.

Entry is £5 for adults, with children free.

Other events at Bignor this summer include a centenary adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World being performed in the park grounds on Sunday, July 17.

The final National Gardens Scheme opening of the year will be on Sunday, October 9, from 2pm to 5pm.

Bignor Park was formerly the home of romantic poet Charlotte Smith, whose sonnets were inspired by the historic property.

The park is located five miles south of Pulborough and Petworth. Visit www.bignorpark.co.uk for more information.

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