The Garden Charity – To Present Day
1965 to date
A Fascinating History of Discovery
Our Timeline: 1965 to date
Sir Ralph sets up Borde Hill Garden as a charity
Sir Ralph sets up Borde Hill Garden as a charity and begins opening regularly to the public.
This photograph taken in the 1960s shows lupins growing in the Rose Garden.
Jack Vass, formerly head gardener at Sissinghurst Castle, is head gardener.
Jack Vass, formerly head gardener at Sissinghurst Castle, is head gardener. On his retirement, John Humphris (VMH, 2009) becomes head gardener (until 1983). Both Vass and Humphris win the RHS A.J. Waley Medal for their work on cultivating rhododendrons.
Robert inherits Borde Hill and becomes a top expert on growing and hybridizing rhododendrons.
Robert inherits Borde Hill and becomes a top expert on growing and hybridizing rhododendrons. Carries out detailed labelling and checking of the collection.
Robert wins an RHS Award of Merit for Rhododendron metternichii
Stephie is described by Harold Hillier as ‘the greatest amateur all-rounder in the gardening world of the twentieth century’. Robert wins an RHS Award of Merit for Rhododendron metternichii, one of many such awards.
Paeonia lutea ‘Jack Vass’ wins an RHS Award of Merit.
A hard tennis court is converted into the ‘Bride’s Pool’, which later became the Italian Garden
Robert dies in November at the early age of sixty-two
A hurricane in October devastates woodland planting at Borde Hill. When Robert dies in November at the early age of sixty-two, Andrewjohn inherits. With the help of his wife, Eleni, he sets about putting the garden and estate on a more commercial footing.
Robertsmere, a large lake, is created
Robertsmere, a large lake, is created in the South Park in memory of Robert, for fishing and watering the garden in dry summers. Harry’s Lake, named after his grandson, is created nearby.
Jack Vass dies in his cottage at Borde Hill
Planting of Jay Robin’s Rose Garden
In the early 1990’s, Eleni Stephenson Clarke discovered an article on Borde Hill Garden in a copy of ‘Country Life’ magazine dating back to 1902 when Borde Hill was home to her husband’s great grandfather. A great rose lover, Eleni Stephenson Clarke was inspired to re-create a Rose Garden at Borde Hill using her favourite roses, David Austin English roses. Garden designer Robin Williams, an RHS Chelsea gold medallist, was commissioned to create the new garden which was named after the Stephenson Clarke’s daughter, Jay Robin, continuing the tradition of naming parts of the garden after family members.
The photograph shows herbaceous plants and grass in the Rose Garden area before it was redesigned.
Redesign of the Bride’s Pool as the Italian Garden
Before its 1997 redesign by Robin Williams senior, the Italian Garden was known as the 'Bride's Pool' after a nearby statue that now stands in the House.
This photograph shows the Bride's Pool before its redesign.
Restoration of two Victorian greenhouses
Restoration of two Victorian greenhouses from a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
Planting of the Mid-Summer Border
Planting of the Mid-Summer Border, designed by Tony Lord (VMH, 2005). Emmenopterys henryi, a Forrest introduction, flowers in the Azalea Ring for the first time, eighty-three years after it was planted - it also flowers in 2012, 2016, 2018 and 2021.
Reimagining of the Round Dell
Reimagining of the Round Dell by Sophie Walker, an RHS medal-winning garden designer. The contemporary design creates a bold entrance into the dell along a needle-shaped concrete path that, like a prow of a ship, steers a course through the heart of the foliage-rich planting.
125th anniversary of Borde Hill Garden
Gardiner Grove (named after long-term council member Jim Gardiner) of magnolias is planted to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Borde Hill Garden.
Redesign of the planting in the Italian Garden and Paradise Walk
Redesign of the planting in the Italian Garden and Paradise Walk by Chelsea gold medallist Chris Beardshaw.