Borde Hill Gardens were created in the early 1900s. The House is Elizabethan, built in 1598. A listed building, still lived in by the Stephenson Clarke family. It was bought by Colonel Stephenson Robert Clarke in 1893. He was a plant hunter and naturalist and financed many expeditions to collect beautiful and rare plants from around the world.
The earliest collector was Ernest Wilson. He travelled widely in China and Japan in particular, bringing back many tree species between 1899 and 1921. This included a substantial collection of Pine, Spruce and Acer species. There are now 73 champion trees in the collection.
Many of the rhododendrons and azaleas were collected by George Forrest between 1902 and 1932 from China and Tibet. Frank Kingdon-Ward also contributed between 1912 and 1956 and in addition brought Meconopsis, the Himalayan Blue Poppy.
The gardens are laid out in intimate outdoor rooms, such as this Italian Garden:
And the incredible rose garden:
Another delightful feature is the modern sculpture incorporated throughout the garden.
The garden has re-opened with a one-way system and pre-booked admission. As a member of the Historic Houses Association, I get free admission. This is certainly a garden worth revisiting through the seasons.