Slideshow: Famous gardens notch up 125th anniversary

Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
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As part of the 125th anniversary of the purchase of Borde Hill by the Stephenson Clarke family, Andrewjohn and Eleni Stephenson Clarke (the current family in residence), will unveil the ‘Gardiner Grove’.

This is a meadow planted with 48 specimen magnolia trees chosen by RHS Vice President Jim Gardiner - a magnolia authority and former president of Magnolia Society International.

Prior to the unveiling of the ‘Gardiner Grove’ there will be an illustrated Talk on Magnolias; ‘Every garden should have one’, 10.30am-1.30pm, followed by a tour of the Garden to enjoy Borde Hill’s magnolia collection.

Borde Hill, near Haywards Heath, was bought in 1893 by Colonel Stephenson Robert Clarke with the express intention of creating a magnificent garden.

Today, visitors are able to enjoy fantastic collection of trees, including many fine magnolias blooming when the Garden opens to the public on the March 20, and continuing into June when champion Magnolia obovate and Magnolia fraseri fill the Garden of Allah with their distinctive fragrance.

The ‘Gardiner Grove’ is the latest addition to the impressive collection of magnolias which are housed at Borde Hill.

Andrewjohn Stephenson Clarke commented: “I am sure that the Colonel himself would have greatly approved of Jim Gardiner’s fantastic selection of magnolias. 48 of these magnificent trees will be planted with Betula (birch) in the meadow beside the Garden of Allah.”

The plants, collections of hybrids of Magnolia acuminata and Magnolia sprengeri have been propagated and generously donated by John Ravenscroft of Cherry Tree Arboretum.

Visitors are invited to join Borde Hill’s Head Gardener Andy Stevens on Tuesday March 27 and Thursday April 5, when he will lead a Tour of the Garden’s impressive magnolia collection, providing insights and tips on these beautiful plants.

To celebrate 125th anniversary we have compiled a slideshow of photos from our archives, including the various events at Borde Hill and the aftermath of the 1987 Great Storm.