Tag Archives: Sussex Prairie Garden

Blown away (again) on the Sussex Prairie

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Back in July I visited Sussex Prairie Garden in West Sussex for the first time and was blown away by the scale and vision of a garden only five years old.

In mid September I visited again, but stupidly left my camera at home and so only had my phone to capture my visit.  It has taken some time for me to pluck up courage to download the photos, as I was concerned that they really wouldn’t to justice to such wonderful views and combinations.  However, I’m delighted to say that while the photos may not be great, the planting was so stunning I feel the overall effect has been captured, so I’ve finally got round to sharing them.

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As before, the planting is on a massive scale but what’s so impressive is how, despite almost all plants which were flowering in July having now ceased, there are plenty of new flowers to admire – particularly classic prairie plants like rudbeckia, echinacea and of course grasses. Although the grasses were in evidence at my first visit, this time they were so much taller and bolder.

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As well as the muted grasses, there was still a lot of colour from helianthusIMG_0276

rudbeckia and golden rod.IMG_0270as well as kniphofiaIMG_0268

and the biggest planting of Ipomoea lobata I’ve ever seen.IMG_0250

I think my favourite plant was this Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Glow’ – such a stunning autumnal colour, and gorgeous with the Stipa.

IMG_0260I also loved this shrub which I think is Phytolacca americana or American Pokeweed.  It was a sizeable plant – taller than me!IMG_0264

And, as well as the fabulous planting, like last time, there were some charming sculptures placed around the garden to admire.  I was particularly taken with this charmer, to finish off my post (geddit?)IMG_0279

Blown away on the (Sussex) Prairie

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It’s not often I’m blown away by a garden.  Not that there aren’t many favourites out there, but often they’re ‘interesting’, ‘well maintained’ and ‘attractive’, which is good, but just not stop-you-in-your-tracks different and fabulous.  And then came the Sussex Prairie Garden.

The six acre garden was created by Paul and Pauline McBride, who had both worked previously on a garden in Luxembourg designed by Piet Oudolf,  and only returned to the UK in 2007. They created the garden, to their own spiralling nautilus shell design, having propagated 30,000 plants from plants they’d brought back from Europe.  

Although a keen Oudolf fan, I have been disappointed on occasion with the borders at Wisley (the only Oudolf planting I’ve seen in person) and so was keen to see prairie planting on a larger scale.  Well I certainly wasn’t disappointed.  Not only is the planting fabulous, but the garden is also home to various sculptures, which further enhance the views.

The down side is that I was so busy squeaking about the astonishing vistas and ‘layers’ of colour repeated across significant distances, that I did a very bad job of noting plant varieties. Never mind.  Just sit back and enjoy the pictures.

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IMG_3547And do you know what I’m excited about?  Returning in September when we deliver our daughter back to school.  I bet the rest of these Echinacea will be out then.

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