Round Dell

Step into our jungle, densely planted with lush foliage-rich planting

Round Dell

Exotic sub-tropical plants have flourished in the micro-climate of this secret, sunken garden for many years. In 2017 it was re-imagined by RHS award-winning garden designer Sophie Walker, whose aim was to create “an immersive place that opens up secrets, slowly and sequentially through the process of a journey.”

The result is a bold new architectural entrance into the Dell along a needle-shaped concrete path that echoes the front of a ship, steering through the heart of the lush foliage-rich, jungle-like planting.

The Round Dell at Borde Hill
Round Dell at Borde Hill. Image: Molly Hollman

Dig a little deeper

The Round Dell was originally a former quarry, sheltered and filled with subtropical planting thanks to the amount of water it retained. When Sophie Walker redesigned the space in 2017, she retained the rainforest lushness and existing plants like the Japanese angelica tree (Aralia elata), Japanese banana (Musa basjoo), bamboo, gunnera, Trachycarpus fortunei, Fatsia japonica, the veined Veratrum nigrum and several large-leaved Tetrapanax papyrifer.

A swamp cypress, Taxodium distichum, planted in the 1970s, rises over the back of the garden, fringed by Populus lasiocarpa (the Chinese necklace poplar), which has spreading, magnolia-like leaves and Magnolia macrophylla.

Here you will also discover exciting rare plant specimens found by modern day plant hunters, Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones of Crûg Farm Plants in North Wales. These include water marginals Ligularia japonica ‘Rising Sun’ and Rodgersia podophylla ‘Crûg Colossus’. Other Crûg exotics planted in the dell include Aconitum arcuatum, a dark-purple monkshood from South Korea; Aralia apioides, with upright black stems and good autumn colour; Farfugium japonicum, with big, round dinner-plate leaves; hedychiums; schefflera; and the prehistoric- looking Zingiber mioga ‘Crûg’s Zing’, with yellowish stems and narrow leaves.

Plants of Interest

  • Aralia elata

  • Musa basjoo

  • Broussonetia papyrifera

  • Daphniphyllum macropodum

The Round Dell at Borde Hill

Did you


The Round Dell was a former metal quarry - the excavated space now provides ideal conditions for sub-tropical plants including palm trees and gunnera. Re-designed in 2017, the concrete path represents a ship sailing through a lush exotic jungle, featuring many newly collected plants by Crug Farm.
The Round Dell at Borde Hill
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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