A hidden gem in the High Weald of Sussex, sensitively planted to enhance the natural landscape. A botanical treasure trove and classic English idyll make High Beeches one of the finest gardens in the South East


Monday, 16 April 2018

Grandia Rhododendrons


Rh sinogrande

Rh kesangae

Rh macabeanum

Rh montrosesanum
There are five of the eleven Grandia Rhododendrons in the garden here at High Beeches.  Four of them are in flower at the moment.  This is a particularly good year for these rhododendrons as they are flowering later and therefore have not been damaged by frost.  The Grandias are very striking plants growing into small trees or very large shrubs with huge leaves and magnificent flowers.

Rh. sinogrande was first discovered in China by George Forrest in 1912 and it first flowered at Heligan in Cornwall in l919. It can reach 30 feet in height and the leaves can be 15 inches long

Rh kesangiae is a recent introduction from
Bhutan.  There is a white form as well as the pink.

Rh macabeanum is a native of Assam and was discovered in 1882 by Sir George Watt.  It can make a tree of 40 foot in the wild and its leaves are up to a foot long.  The flowers vary from a pale sulphur yellow to a deep yellow.

Rh. montroseanum (also known as mollyanum) seed was collected by Frank Kingdom Ward in Tibet and was raised at Brodick. It is a large plant with long narrow leaves and striking pink flowes.

The fifth Grandia Rhododendron to be found in the Garden is Rh siderum which has yet to flower. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018



It has been a difficult spring, cold and wet, which has put the garden at least 2 weeks behind.  The daffodils and pretty miniature narcissi are doing their best to brighten up the garden. 

There were very few of the early Rhododendrons in flower for us to show at the Early Rhododendron Competition at the Savill Garden last weekend.  In spite of the challenging weather there was a great deal of competition from amongst others ExburyNymansCaerhays and Minterne.  High Beeches won the most points for a garden in the South East as well as being 2nd in the class for four vases of different ornamental shrubs.

There were some beautiful plants on show .  It is a great opportunity to see the many different forms of species Rhododendrons.

As the weather warms up more and more of the Rhododendrons are coming in to flower and the Cherry blossom will soon be here.  There are carpets of primroses and I was pleased to see that one or two of the fritillaries planted last year are flowering.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

January Flowers


Camellia Lady Clare
 The warm days are bringing plants into flower in the garden.  Snowdrops, crocus and Lent Lillies are starting to bloom along with some of the earlier flowering shrubs.

It is slightly surprising to see blooms on Camellia Lady Clare in January.  This wonderful camellia comes from Japan and was originally called Akashigata until it was imported into the US when it was named Lady Clare. 
Hamamelis mollis

Hamamelis mollis, the chinese witch hazel, has been in flower since before Christmas.  A welcome sight on a winters day and on a sunny day its sweet scent fills the garden.  It was first
introduced by Charles Maries in 1879 and later by Ernest Wilson. 

Rhododendron Nobleanum Venustum

Rhododendron Nobleanum Venustum (arboreum x caucasicum) is one of the earlier
rhododendrons to flower.  An old hybrid it was raised by William Smith at Norbiton Common, nr Kingston in 1929.  This plant at High Beeches is a layer of an old plant in the garden.

Rhododendron spinuliferum

Rhdodendron spinuliferum is in flower a little early this year.  An unusual rhododendron with its tubular red flowers and protruding stamens in erect clusters.  A native of Central and Southern Yunnan discovered by Abbe David and introduced in 1907.

High Beeches Woodland and Water Garden