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…

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1703

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

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1803

Purchased by Mr Randle for £4,700.

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1825

Purchased by Preston family who added the central portion of the…

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1853

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

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1864

Purchased by the Cunliffe Lister family.

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1893

Purchased by Col. Stephenson Robert Clarke who built the East Wing,…

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1898

South Lawn and Ha-Ha created.

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1900-1930

The Clarke family were patrons of some of the great…

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1902

Azalea Ring planted with Knapp Hill varieties.

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1905

Warren Wood planted.

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1906

Roadside plantings.

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1910

Stephanie’s Glade planted.

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1925

Garden of Allah extended with plants from the collector Kingdon…

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1937

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

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1949

Sir Ralph & Lady Clarke take up residence as Stephenson…

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1965

Garden opens to the public as a registered charity.

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1972

Sir Ralph Clarke died and was succeeded by his son…

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1987

The storm of October 1987 caused extensive damage to the…

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1990

Victorian Stable Block converted into Restaurant & Tea Rooms and…

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1992

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

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1994

Adventure playground created.

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1995

Rose garden recreated based on the 1902 designs shown in…

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1997

Heritage Lottery Fund donation for restoring the Victorian Greenhouses and…

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2001

Harvey Stephens is appointed head gardener.

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2002

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

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2003

New plantings in The Italian Garden to redefine its Mediterranean…

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2005

40th Anniversary of the opening to the public of Borde…

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2011

Mid Summer Border planted to a design by Dr Tony…

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2013

Paradise Walk re-planted to a new design by James Alexander-Sinclair.

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2015

50th anniversary of the Garden opening to the public as…

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2017

Installation of the ‘Infinity Box’ in the Long Dell, designed…

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2018

125th anniversary of the purchase of Borde Hill by Col….

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