Old Potting Sheds
Explore enchanting ruined cottages, now home to climbing plants from around the world
Old potting sheds
Once the heart of the working garden, these former sheds were home to plants that were propagated from cuttings or grown from seeds before being planted around the Garden we see now. The moss-covered ruins still have some leaded windows intact, creating an ethereal backdrop for plants from all over the world.
Today, these crumbling walls create an attractive shelter for tender and unusual species from the southern hemisphere, particularly South Africa and Chile. Keep an eye out for Amicia zygomeris, a Mexican shrub with finely etched leaves and canary-yellow pea-like flowers in autumn, and the red-flowered Lobelia tupa from Chile.
Dig a little deeper
When Col. Robert Stephenson Clarke bought Borde Hill House in 1893, he also acquired the bailiff’s house, West Garden Lodge, with a pigsty, cowshed and chicken sheds, latterly used as potting sheds by the Stephenson Clarkes’ gardeners.
By the early 20th century, there were 27 gardeners working full-time at Borde Hill, providing fruit and vegetables for the House as well as propagating plants for the Gardens. Along the way the sheds fell into disrepair, the roof collapsed in the 1970s and the space was used as a herb garden.
In 1990 we decided to plant hardy species and rosy red chaenomeles which look romantic in late winter when they intertwine up the ruined walls and around the still-intact lead windows.
One of the original plants, the evergreen Chilean shrub Azara serrata has flourished in this space and scents the air with its mimosa-like flowers in summer, along with the pink-flowered Indigofera amblyantha and the crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica. Against another wall is Actinidia kolomikta, a climbing shrub from the temperate mixed forests of the Russian Far East, Korea, Japan and China.
Plants of Interest
- Azara petiolaris
- Feijoa sellowiana
- Crinodendron patagua
- Drimys lanceolata
- Abutilon megapotamicum
- Scleranthus biflorus
- Indigofera amblyantha
- Correa backhousiana
- Sophora macrophylla ‘Sun king’
- Prumnopitys taxifolia
- Amicia zygomeris
- Lobelia tupa
- Sophora microphylla ‘Sun King’
- Dacrycarpusd acrydioides
- indigofera amblyantha
- Lagerstroemia indica.
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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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