Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Sandgate Close, Seaford - is this the UK's smallest botanical garden??

Sandgate Close in East Sussex is a mini "Garden of Eden"
I was invited to visit a garden in Seaford, East Sussex today that opens for both the National Gardens Scheme and other selected charities, but was lucky enough to get a private view! I was simply amazed by what I found when I arrived at Sandgate Close and spent well over an hour talking to the owner and taking photographs. This is undoubtedly a "Garden of Eden" and one to put on your Wish List, with more than 500 different plant species in under an eighth of an acre - perhaps it also qualifies as the smallest botanical garden in terms of acreage in Britain?
Owners Denis and Aideen Jones have created the garden at Sandgate Close over the last 30 years
This plot is the brainchild of Denis and Aideen Jones, who arrived here in 1982, when there was nothing more than a poor quality lawn and 12 Leylandii along the back fence. Times have certainly changed and today they have one of the most impressive small plots I've seen on my gallopings so far. Enter through the garden gate and you are transported into a magical world of plant wizardry. Every inch of garden is covered with different plants and this is also a fine example of how to live without a lawn!
Everywhere you look in this tiny plot, flowers are blooming and you are drawn into a magical plant world that begs further investigation. I can't think of any better place to take children to teach them about plants; or grownups who love gardening. This is a veritable Plant Kingdom and a fine example of cottage style planting taken to extremes. 
Sandgate Close is filled with mirrors, which make the garden look much bigger
Clever use of mirrors makes the garden feel much larger than it is. So too do the winding pathways between the plants. But what I really liked about the Jones' approach to their garden is that they only use local suppliers to reduce "product miles', they recycle as much as they can, and produce their own compost. They are also committed to raising funds for local charities.
It's hard to believe how much is packed into this tiny Seaford plot!
As said earlier, Denis and Aideen open their garden several days each year for charity, but they also open by appointment, and if you'd like to see the garden at Sandgate Close, you can mail Denis direct at deniswjones@gmail.com. I really enjoyed my visit, and returned home wishing that I could turn my garden into an equally magic plant kingdom! If you're going to be in the area, why not combine this with a visit to Driftwood, just down the road, and also open by appointment.

8 comments:

  1. Denis and Aideen are wonderful garden artists, and thank you for sharing this with us. There is magic and joy here, I can see.

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  2. This garden is so full of life, colour and diversity that it's size doesn't matter. It is just splendid!

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  3. Personal invitations. No wonder you don't run out of places to gallop to.
    :-D

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  4. Beautiful garden, hard to believe all that is in such a small space. Very clever and well planned.

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  5. Visited Sandgate a few weeks ago on the NGS day, it really is a plantsman's paradise. Beautiful!

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