Azalea Ring

Immerse yourself in a kaleidoscope of colour and view our historical Emmenopterys henryi tree 

Azalea Ring

The horseshoe shaped planting in this Garden creates a carpet of colourful deciduous azaleas which dazzle in shades of yellow, orange, red, pink, white and cream from late spring. This was one of the first areas to be planted by Col. Stephenson R Clarke at the turn of the twentieth century and despite being severely hit in the great storm of 1987, a number of unusual trees remain, alongside magnificent magnolias.

Horticultural highlights in this garden room are two deciduous Chinese trees – Emmenopterys henryi. Now endangered in the wild, they were first introduced to England in 1907 by Ernest Wilson and later by George Forrest. They have beautiful fragrant creamy-white flowers, and in recognition of their significant plant heritage, our new Borde Hill logo features an Emmenopterys henryi.

Azalea Ring at Borde Hll
Emmenopterys henryi. Image John Glover

Dig a Little Deeper

Most of the azaleas you see in this Garden were selected from the famous Knaphill strain, bred by the two Antony Waterers, father and son, over a 60 year period. The flowers are better formed and crisper in colour than many of the more modern hybrids.

During the month of May the Azalea Ring comes into its own, with a stunning kaleidoscope of colour and scents around a magnificent Cornus kousa centrepiece.

The Ghents, the oldest hybrid deciduous azaleas, were propagated by crossing north-eastern American species with the European Rhododendron luteum.

As you leave the Azalea Ring you will see a charming small magnolia, the head-high Magnolia ‘Premier Cru’, with strong purple-pink flowers. This was selected by plantsman Maurice Foster whose White House Farm is home to more than 200 different types of magnolia. ‘Premier Cru’ is a new introduction planted by Eleni Stephenson Clarke and proof that we ensure our Garden never stands still.

Plants of Interest

  • Cornus kousa
  • Camellia sasanqua
  • Emmenopterys henryi
  • Halesia carolina (syn tetraptera)
  • Fothergilla major
  • Magnolia campbellii
  • Camellia x wiliamsii ‘Donation’
  • Camellia joponica ‘Donckelarii’
  • Camellia saluenensis
  • Magnolia campbellii
  • Magnolia x soulangeana’B rozzonii’
Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Brozzonii’. Image John Glover

Did you


Borde Hill is home to Emmenopterys henryi, a rare deciduous Chinese tree collected by notable Plant Hunter George Forrest. Planted on the Azalea Ring in 1928, our tree is one of the few original specimens in the UK to flower, the first time being in 2011, inspiring the new Borde Hill logo.
Emmenopterys henryi
A child on the zip wire in the Advenure Playground at Borde Hill.
Children in the Italian Garden. Image: Emli Bendixen

For Families

The ideal place for children to explore, learn and find joy in nature

Plan a fun-filled day for you and your family in the great outdoors, come rain or shine. Enjoy the perfect balance of fresh air and big open spaces to roam in, then refuel at the Gardeners’ Retreat Cafe, enjoy a picnic in the Garden or by the lakes or treat yourself to a delicious ice cream from the Gift Shop.


Connect to the beauty of nature while supporting our Garden for future generations by becoming a Member.

Members enjoy unlimited access to the Garden, Woodland and Playground throughout the open season, as well as free entry to highlights from our varied events programme. Visit time and again and enjoy free family trails during the school holidays, exclusive open days and monthly Garden newsletters.

Discover the Possibilities

A family next to the water feature in the Rose Garden at Borde Hill during summer.

Become a Member

Membership is your ticket to enjoy unlimited access to the Garden, Parkland and Woodland throughout the open season. Our members also receive free entry to a number of exciting events, from live music in the Garden to Specialist Plant Fairs and much more. Family Membership provides unlimited access to the Adventure Playground and free school holiday trails.

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Italian Garden at Borde Hill. Image: Molly Hollman

Our Garden & Grounds

Set within 383 acres of heritage listed Parkland, our formal Garden captivates and delights visitors with a series of intimate 'Garden rooms'. Beyond the formal Garden you can explore Woodland walks, the South Park and our lakes with outstanding views across the Sussex High Weald.

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A misty atmospheric view of trees in North Park at Borde Hill with cows in the distance.

Support Us

As a small, independent Garden Charity, we rely on your kind generosity to help fund our projects and to continue to grow sustainably, protecting our natural heritage for generations to come. 'Reinventing Borde Hill' is our most ambitious project to date and your support will help us to achieve exciting plans to benefit our local community.

It would make a huge difference if you would consider supporting us by making a donation – thank you.

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