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Expert: Marion Mako Marion Mako

Artists Gardens of Sussex

The concept of Artists’ Gardens is new to Boxwood and can be interpreted in many ways as there is a strong argument that the creation of all gardens is an art form. However, on this tour we broadly home in on gardens owned or created by artists, and we examine how these gardens affect their work.  At Balmoral Cottage for example, we explore how Charlotte Molesworth’ topiary work has influenced her paintings; and at Monk’s House and Charleston House we will see how the artists of the Bloomsbury group were inspired in their writing and paintings by their gardens. You will stay throughout the tour at Ockenden Manor Hotel, a charming and tranquil Elizabethan Manor House which offers decent food and warm hospitality, as well as a new spa and swimming pool: the perfect base for the tour.

4 days from £3,250pp Departure Dates

Your Tour Includes

  • Transportation from Haywards Heath Railway Station
  • 3 nights' accommodation with bed, breakfast and evening meals plus wine and 4 lunches
  • Private coach transfers and excursions
  • Services of the Tour Leader and Hosts
  • Detailed programme and garden notes
Experts
Marion Mako

Marion Mako

After giving up the ‘safe’ job to train as a garden designer, Marion cut her horticultural teeth at the fabulous Special Plants nursery run by Derry Watkins. Following this she completed an MA in Garden History at the University of Bristol with Professor Tim Mowl. The historical, architectural and garden knowledge gained from this course has informed, shaped and enriched Marion's work ever since.

As all of Marion's gardens are a work in progress, her learning and development continues and is enhanced by the people she meets through research, tours, talks and design work.


Sophie Piebenga

Sophie Piebenga

Trained with the National Trust and qualified at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Whilst working as head gardener of a private estate, she developed a particular interest in the conservation of historic gardens. This eventually led to a doctoral study at the University of York, researching the work of the early Victorian landscape gardener, William Sawrey Gilpin. She has since worked freelance, mostly in the field of historic landscape conservation. Born in The Netherlands, now based in the Cotswolds, Sophie has lived most of her life in the UK. For the last 25 years, Sophie has regularly led tours for Boxwood to Ireland, France, Spain, The Netherlands and within the UK.

Itinerary

Overview

This tour starts at Haywards Heath Railway Station at 12 noon to take advantage of the train service from London. Those who wish to drive, can park at Ockenden Manor to be collected at 11:30 by the coach en-route to the station.  We journey together to Bradness Gallery, the home and garden of contemporary artists Emma Burnett and Michael Cruickshank, for a delicious home-made lunch. After this relaxing start we travel to Holford Manor, close to Chailey Common. Here the extensive gardens wrap around the Sussex vernacular house, but the real highlight at this time of year is the colourful collection of Iris, all raised at Holford Manor. After tea we leave in time to check-in at Ockenden Manor before dining together.

Includes Lunch

Includes Dinner

Overview

Fairlight End, a private garden on the SE edge of the Sussex Weald, is just a mile from the sea. Here you will discover beautiful wildflower meadows with extensive views over natural ponds.  The use of modern corten steel is a throw-back to the days when the region was alive to the sights and sounds of iron foundries. The garden provides the plant material for Robin Hutt’s photographs and experimental cyanotypes displayed in her on-site gallery. Reighton Wood is a contemporary garden, skilfully designed by locally based designer Marian Boswall who was led by the surrounding Sussex Weald landscape.  Following a picnic lunch in the gardens we travel on to Balmoral Cottage where former art teacher Charlotte Molesworth has exemplified the use of extensive topiary as a backbone to her cottage garden. The warren of garden rooms is knitted seamlessly together, creating an ever-changing view of textures and shapes. We return to the hotel for dinner together.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Lunch

Includes Dinner

Included Highlights

Sussex weald landscape

Overview

This day we focus on the Bloomsbury Group who settled at the edge of the Sussex Downs in the early 20th century. At Charleston Vanessa Bell and an array of artists including Duncan Grant took inspiration from the walled gardens, the ponds, and fields, adding decorative flourishes both inside and outside the house. After lunch we go on to Monk’s House where the gardens provided solace to Virginia Woolf but also stirred Leonard Woolf’s great horticultural passions. We stop at the picturesque Church of All Angels, Berwick to view the artists’ many decorated panels and screens, influenced by the agricultural rhythms of Sussex.  Dinner together at the hotel.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Lunch

Included Highlights

Charlston

Overview

Our final day starts with an exclusive visit to Sussex Prairies. Most of us dabble with herbaceous plants in our gardens but Paul & Pauline McBride have broken the mould by boldly planting a large field with huge swathes of perennials, interspersed with modern sculptures. Lunch is included today at The Star in Alfriston, the latest addition to the Polizzi collection. This will be followed by some free time to explore the village of Alfriston. Our afternoon visit is to the deceptively suburban garden Driftwood where Geoff Stonebanks has created a very personal and exuberant garden, described by Monty Don as “a small garden by the sea with inspired planting and design”. At the top of the garden Geoff’s partner Mark Glassman paints, inspired by the local land and seascapes. We then return to Haywards Heath Railway Station for 17:00 and onward to Ockenden Manor at 17:30 for those who have left cars.

Includes Breakfast

Includes Lunch

Accommodation

You will stay for three nights at the 4-star Ockenden Manor Hotel in Haywards Heath.

Ockenden Manor

Ockenden Manor is an exquisite Elizabethan manor house approximately an hour’s drive from central London. The peace and tranquillity of Ockenden Manor provides a stylish retreat with 28 lavishly decorated rooms, outstanding spa facilities, an award-winning restaurant, all set in 8-acres of beautiful grounds overlooking Cuckfield Park.

Hotel Facilities

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Room
  • Tea and Coffee Making Facilities
  • Free Wifi
General
  • Restaurant
  • Indoor and Outdoor Swimming Pool (Seasonal)
Hotel
  • Restaurant
  • WiFi Available