History

A fascinating history of discovery

The Garden was created in the early 1900s with plants gathered by the great plant collectors from their travels to the Himalayas, China, Burma, Tasmania and the Andes – a legacy which today’s visitors continue to experience and enjoy. Listed as Grade II* importance by English Heritage on its register of Parks and Gardens, Borde Hill contains the best private collection of champion trees in Britain and one of the most comprehensive collections of trees and shrubs in the world. In 1999 the Garden won the South East Tourism Board’s prestigious ‘Attraction of the Year’ award, and in 2004 it won the HHA/Christies Garden of the Year. Our Garden team are proud to invite you to visit us.

Charity

In 1965 Borde Hill Garden became a registered charity and opened its gates to the public for the first time. Our registered charity number is 246589.

1598

Borde Hill House was built by Sir Stephen Borde whose family lived in Cuckfield for generations. “SB 1598″ above the West porch.

1703

Purchased by Walter Gatland with 200 acres for £2,382.

1803

Purchased by Mr Randle for £4,700.

1825

Purchased by Preston family who added the central portion of the house. Their family crest can be seen in the house and the gate to the Rose garden.

1853

House passed to a Major MacAdam via his wife, Miss Preston.

1864

Purchased by the Cunliffe Lister family.

1892

Purchased by Col. Stephenson Robert Clarke who built the East Wing, altered and restored the central Southern bay windows & added the present porch to the North front door.

1898

South Lawn and Ha-Ha created.

1900-1930

The Clarke family were patrons of some of the great plant collectors who went to the Himalayas, China, Tasmania, the Andes and North America.

1902

Azalea Ring planted with Knapp Hill varieties.

1905

Warren Wood planted.

1906

Roadside plantings.

1910

Stephanie’s Glade planted.

1925

Garden of Allah extended with plants from the collector Kingdon Ward.

1937

Expansion of the collection to the outlying woods (e.g. Gores Wood).

1949

Sir Ralph & Lady Clarke take up residence as Stephenson R. Clarke died in 1948 aged 86.

1965

Garden opens to the public as a registered charity.

1972

Sir Ralph Clarke died and was succeeded by his son Robert Nunn Stephenson Clarke.

1987

The storm of October 1987 caused extensive damage to the gardens and woods. Robert N. Stephenson Clarke died and was succeeded by his son Andrewjohn Patrick Stephenson Clarke.

1990

Victorian Stable Block converted into Restaurant & Tea Rooms and creation of the lakes in the South Park.

1992

Borde Hill Garden Restoration Study – Lear Associates/Land Use Consultants.

1994

Adventure playground created.

1995

Rose garden recreated based on the 1902 designs shown in Country Life magazine.

1997

Heritage Lottery Fund donation for restoring the Victorian Greenhouses and access improvements.

2001

Harvey Stephens is appointed head gardener.

2002

The Potting Sheds are refurbished and given a ‘Southern Hemisphere’ theme.

2003

New plantings in The Italian Garden to redefine its Mediterranean inspiration.

2005

40th Anniversary of the opening to the public of Borde Hill Garden and centenary of Warren Wood.

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