Friday, May 25, 2012

The Garden at Ringmer Park, England - Part I

My apologies for not posting for quite a while and also not visiting and/or leaving comments on my favorite blogs. Sometimes life just gets into the way of what you intend and love to do. But now I am back. I am not only back to blogging, but I am also back to England!

Unexpectedly it became possible for my husband and I to spent our vacation there this year, again. We are both so happy to be visiting England and savor our time here every single moment. We are staying in West Sussex and exploring this area. There is so much to see and enjoy: visiting quaint old villages and little towns, public and private gardens, admiring ancient manors and castles, taking walks in the countryside, antiquing, shopping, eating a good meal at the local pubs, and of course not to forget having the traditional Cream Teas in the afternoon. 

On our first day in West Sussex we started out with one of my very favorite activities, exploring private gardens. In the context of The National Garden Scheme NGS (if you would like to learn more about it click here) private garden owners open their gems for the public on certain days of the year for a reasonable fee. All proceeds go to charity, which I think is a very noble thing to do. In many of the gardens tea and homemade cake is served, which is an additional highlight besides seeing the gardens. It has always amazed me how beautiful and well maintained all the gardens were that I have seen so far on previous trips to England. Even the "regular gardener" seems to do only "high end gardening". The gardens which open their gates for the NGS range from relatively small ones to the size of huge estates.

In this post I would like to take you on a tour through The Garden at Ringmer Park located in Ringmer, East Sussex. The 8-acre garden is maintained (with the help of one full time gardener plus part time help in the kitchen garden), planted and in great parts designed by the owners Deborah and Michael Bedford, which did an outstanding job on this one. It has many things to offer like wonderful herbaceous borders, a White Garden, rose gardens and absolutely stunning views of the South Downs, a particular beautiful and famous landscape.

The photo above shows the stately and very beautiful house that is the first thing that you see as you enter the part of the property that is actively gardened on. The house was build in 1935.

To the right side of the house is a huge lawn where we were greeted by these friendly fellows. What is an English country house without dogs?

To the left of house there was a stunning specimen of a tree. You see in the background the white tent under which tea an cake was served.

The lichen were quite fascinating on this tree. Some of the lower branches were lovingly staked like the one on the photo above.

The selection of cakes looked pretty tempting, but they had to wait until we were done with the garden tour, even though it was hard to pass them up in the first place.

The left side of the house with the neatly trimmed topiaries, hedges, and boxwood parterre. Notice the wonderfully blooming clematis conquering the walls of the house. To me this looks like a fairytale scene and it was not the only one in this amazing garden.

I fell in love with the old stairs and the blue flowering plants spilling over them.

The topiary from another perspective, a great example of the formal garden style.

To the left of the majestic tree already shown a few photos above was a hedge with a gate cut in, which led to the White Garden. You can see my husband shooting back at me. I guess, he was a little bit bored and wanted me to follow him,...

...but before I could do that I first had to take a close-up of this lovely magnolia tree.

I was more than excited that they had designated a full garden room to be a White Garden. When you follow my blog you know that I have a special affinity for White Gardens and try to do at least a White Garden Bed in my own little patch of land. This White Garden at Ringmer Park, was only the second White Garden besides the very famous one in Sissinghurst that I have ever seen in person.

Unfortunately the weather has been cold and rainy in England in the last couple of weeks prior to our arrival, which led to the plants being way behind their normal blooming time. So the White Garden was more a green one when we were visiting, but with a little bit of imagination you could envision how it would look if things would be more in bloom. Still even though right now more green than white it I consider it to be terrific already!

I really liked this frothy flowering plant and would love to know what it is. Unfortunately the plants where not labeled and there was no plant list available for this garden.

Here you can see a corner of the garden, which has started to bloom in white already. I think it is a dream!

Looking in the opposite direction. The green background that the neatly clipped hedges are providing for this garden room is just perfect for the white flowers to show off. The pond by the way was a former swimming pool! I would exchange that one for ours any time.

One lonely white iris had started to flower already, which you can see on the left side in the wide shot one photo above. What an impressive bloom this is.

Having a closer look at this area.

I guess the rose in the middle is a rugosa rose. Isn't it a dainty beauty?

The whole specimen was a truly gorgeous one.

Close-up of the fountain in the pond. The water gently dripping into the pond made such a soothing sound.

What an inviting exit nudging you to move on to the next garden room. A lovely interesting gate is always such a great addition to enhance a garden. The tunnel-like structure is planted with very well trained roses. It must be a gorgeous sight when they are in bloom.

I had a hard time to leave this part of the garden. One last glance back and off I was to the next garden section. I will blog about it soon. Hope you will continue to join me on the tour in another post.

See you in the garden!



  1. Oh Christina ~ There you are in lovely old England. Thank you for this wonderful tour. I look forward to seeing and reading more. Thanks for taking the time to share with us in blogland.


  2. WAUW!!!
    I think I must visit England...

  3. FlowerLady, thanks for your nice comment! I certainly have already taken more photos to share. The gardens in England are just amazing.

    Marian, England is absolutely worth a visit. So yes, I agree with you, you must go!


  4. Oh you lucky lucky thing. What a beautiful place to explore. English gardens do hold so many lovely treasures don't they? Your photos were fabulous and made me wish I could have been there.

  5. Hi Christina, glad to hear you're having a lovely time back here in England. And what more to spend your time here by visiting gardens. That is a beautiful manor house garden, quintessential English in its formality and lay out, lovely! And the cakes looks so yummy!!

  6. thank you for sharing such beautiful photos. i love them all. But I have to confess that the photo of cakes catches my eyes as well. I checked this blog just before lunch. ;)

  7. Beautiful garden, so serene ...

  8. I will definitely be joining you for the next part of the tour! Lucky you, and thanks for sharing your good fortune.

  9. I've been behind on reading blogs lately - so glad I didn't miss this one! How wonderful that you are able to go to England again, and to go on garden tours! The cake looks soooo yummy. Too yummy - I'm on a diet. :( This garden looks amazing. I can't wait to see what you saw on the other side of the rose tunnel. Although, I don't need any more inspiration from you! I still haven't done anything with the catenary bed, and here you go showing rose tunnels! ;) haha - It's fun to dream! Thanks for sharing your garden tours with us!

  10. Bernie, yes I know that I am very lucky to be able to visit England and I am truly thankful for that. You are so right about the treasures hidden in English gardens. I am glad that you liked my photos!

    Mark and Gaz, I can't think of anything better than visiting all kinds of English gardens, except eating the cakes that are offered at these garden events ;-)! These homemade ones are hard to top!

    Hi Marie, so nice to see you leaving a comment on my blog! I think we all agree about the cakes :-)!

    Dani, you said it well, this garden radiated a very serene atmosphere!

    Lyn, I better get going on working on the next blog post, so that you don't have to wait for part II too long :-)!

    Holley, I also was immediately hooked on the rose tunnel when I saw it! It is just such a small step away from an rose arbor, but I think it has so much more impact. I am sure your catenary bed will be gorgeous, we all just have to be patient and move forward one step at a time.


  11. Dear Christina - I am visiting you via Marijke. Such a lovely post. I have really enjoyed strolling around this beautiful garden with you.
    Glad you are enjoying your trip here to England and also that the weather is so warm and sunny.
    The white flower you wanted the name of is White-flowered Honesty - Lunaria annua var albilflora. I could just spot some of the seed heads ripening in the background which turn from green to a lovely silver when they ripen. People use the silver seed pods in dried flower arrangements.

  12. Hi Rosemary, welcome to my blog and thank you for your kind comment. I am so excited that you provided me with the name of the white flowering plant that I loved so much and all the additional information about it. Now I can find out if I can grow it in California! Thanks for becoming a follower, too!


  13. Christina, Thank you for sharing your pictures of those beautiful gardens. I'm looking forward to seeing more photos of your travels!

  14. Dorothy, thanks for your comment! I am working on the next post, but as long as we are in England I better use the time to see and photograph as much as I can :-)! Time just flies!


  15. Hi Christina!

    Glad to see you are well and on vacation in England! I was starting to get worried. This is a beautiful garden, I especially love the wall of hedges and the white garden! What a fab opportunity to tour private gardens in England. Can't wait for your next installment! Jeannine

  16. How wonderful to stroll through these magnificent gardens.

  17. Jeannine, thanks for your concern! Yes, this is truly a beautiful garden. I am enjoying to tour the private gardens in particular.

    Redneck Rosarian, couldn't agree more :-)!