This is the place where I first caught my breath on snowdrops.
I didn’t know what I was expecting to see and experience in this random place Worthing, that I chose to stay for a month. I had been warned of the gloomy days with strong winds and rain that awaits me in winter.
I came here on a sunny day and the days that followed were bright too. Sun was taking slow hesitant steps towards the west and so was I down the deserted paths of this garden.
There, towards the chalk pit, a cluster of snowdrops, nodding their heads to the rhythm of the wind…just as described by Enid Blyton in her poems that first filled me with a longing that I cannot describe.
Then I saw crocus, hellebore, viburnum, camelias, cherry blossoms all come alive from the pages of books. If this is what February offers, then what would be spring like?
Highdown Gardens became another of my favorite places to be.
This 8.5 acres of neglected old chalk pits in South Downs National Park with poor conditions for plants was changed into a garden with exotic flowering species, by Sir Frederick Stern and Lady Sybil Stern.
Sir Frederick’s quest to know what would thrive in a chalk pit, led him to hire plant hunters to collect specimens from around the world. Some from Himalayas and China are over 100 years old.
Sir Frederick who was a botanist and a horticulturist created new hybrids of hellebores, magnolias , rose and snowdrops. The original plants collected still provide the genetic material for the breeding of new hybrids in the Garden’s greenhouse.
After Sir Frederick’s death, Lady Sybil donated the garden to Worthing Town Council. This Garden was recognized as a natural plant collection in 1989 by Plant Heritage. It is one of the only eight unique collections of multiple plant species of UK and Ireland.
It is visited by botanists and plant lovers from all over the world. Highdown Gardens would always remain, that place in my heart, where I go to see snowdrops even when I am back home.
All information provided collected from the plaques placed in the garden.