I really, really wasn't going to write another post before leaving on my travels, but I visited such a magical garden yesterday that I just HAD to share it with you all! It's amazing, fantastic and the stuff that fairy tales are made of, so I decided to sneak in just one more post before getting on that plane ... especially as it's gone straight to the top of my list for the best garden I've seen this year!! And here it is .... the Sussex Prairie Garden ....
Owned and run by delightful husband and wife team, Paul and Pauline McBride, this six-acre garden is a dream - even in early November - and reminiscent of Piet Oudolf's "naturalistic" style that we all love so much. The McBrides are an interesting couple - they worked in Luxembourg for 12 years and for part of that time with Piet - and then returned home to create the Sussex Prairie Garden - which they've managed to do in just under two years! Pauline describes the garden as a "big sharing experience", and questioned further, she explains that when they came to create the garden, "everybody" came to help with planting the 30,000 plants you see there today!
But it's not just swathes of wonderful plants you'll see here, there's also the sheep - real, rare-breed Shetlands, like the ram below and interesting sculptures (above); wonderful views over the surrounding Sussex countryside; and, if you head for the cafe, a taste of Pauline's delicious home-made cakes.
But most interesting is the McBride's philosophy that you should engage with their garden - they want you to walk through the circular perennial beds and really see the plants - and have laid paths throughout the borders so you can get in touch with what's growing.
This is definitely a "must-see" garden to put on your list for 2010 - details of openings can be found on the website and, if you're planning a trip to the area, you could even stay with the McBrides, who are offering wonderful bed and breakfast!