Upwaltham Barns, Sussex – A National Garden Scheme garden

Yesterday, my erstwhile friend MB and I went NGS garden visiting.  It was a miserable, cold and windy Sunday, so we wrapped up warm and headed off to Upwaltham Barns.  Note the fact I didn’t say wet.  We are still waiting for a good drenching rainfall.  However, it would have made walking around gardens not so enjoyable, so this time I was glad it remained dry.

Set in the heart of the Sussex Downs between Chichester and Petworth, close to the Goodwood Estate, Upwaltham Barns are a series of  17th Century Sussex Flint barns which have been restored and are now used as a wedding venue.  There is a series of gardens planted with a cottage garden theme, together with a good sized vegetable garden.

As you will see from these photos, the sky was grey and the lighting was not brilliant, so the colours are not as vibrant as they would have been on a sunny day.

On either side of the entrance there was a deep border packed with all types of country garden perennials including Roses, Nepeta,  and Poppies.

We were directed through a long narrow barn, which was being used as the tearoom.  Some delicious looking cakes adourned the tables, and after our walk we did return and I had a slice of lemon cake and MB had his usual choice of chocolate cake, together with large cups of tea to warm up.  Anyway, on with the garden. The cottage that faced us, had a glorious Delphinium border and I loved the pots on the steps going up to the front door.  As we left this part of the garden, I had to take a photo of the awesome Peonies.

We wandered around the little side garden of the cottage, muttering that we were not at all impressed, although quiet pretty.  As we left that garden and saw the large NGS yellow arrow.  Whoops! We realised this was a private garden, although there was no sign to say so.

The Walled Garden borders were packed with purple Alliums, Aquilegia and Clematis. Everything was in a purple to pink colour theme.  The planting was either over or nearly over and I wondered what was going to take its place in June and July when most gardens are at their peak of colour.  Looking at what was growing, I suspect that the colour scheme will be yellow and orange.

Turning to look down the garden, there was a ‘room’ with planting edged in Box, and beyond  was a path lined either side with trees and lavender beds to the side of them.

The gravel path lead us on to the vegetable garden, which was filled with every type of vegetable and fruit.   We did notice that it was desperately in need of weeding in some parts but with so much garden to care for, you can’t expect perfection.   This was a working garden, not a show garden.   With a marvelous view of the South Downs, and despite being in a very open and windswept position, it would make gardening there great anytime.

Now thoroughly chilled we headed back towards the tearoom for cake and hot drinks.  The last part of the garden, which is a work in progress, had a splendid display of Patty Plum poppies and a very colourful circular bed, looking slightly out of place at the moment,  in the middle of what I assume eventually will be a lawn.

Maybe it was because it was cold and windy and things were just going over, at the time we were not overly excited about the garden, it had something missing, but we couldn’t quite pin it down, something to do with the feel of it.  Now I have written this post, and viewed the photos, I think I may have changed my opinion.  It really is very nice and full of well known popular plants, the kind any one of us would have in our gardens.  Like most things,  they tend to look better when the sun shines. A lot of work has gone into this garden and it deserves recognition.

8 thoughts on “Upwaltham Barns, Sussex – A National Garden Scheme garden

  1. I love that tree lined path, and the veg patch has a wonderful view. Not so sure about the borders myself. The picture of the one packed with alliums and other purple blooms was lovely, but the others didn’t do much for me. Too much white in the border in the second picture? Not sure, but thank you so much for sharing the tour with us, its really made me think.


  2. Wonderful tour! Thanks for sharing.


  3. I loved my tour of the garden–quite beautiful. I especially liked people in coats and talk of hot tea as it is 90 degrees F (32 C) here in Pennsylvania, U.S., today and 95 tomorrow. I needed some cooling thoughts.


  4. I have a Patty Plum poppy in my garden although it’s still quite young and is yet to flower, especially with the dry wether we have beeb having. I didn’t realise Upwaltham was ever open to the public. Looks lovely, and I will have to look out for it next year!


  5. I liked seeing the garden through your eyes– gardeners see gardens differently than normal other people do. Wish I could come by for tea today.


  6. Thanks for the tour – looks wonderful! And yes, we will visit gardens soon … just give me another week! Charlotte


  7. Every inch of this tour was spectacular, or at least you showed us that. You have some wonderful images of the gardens. I know what you mean, sometimes you visit on a less than optimal day and the gardens just do not seem their best. The gray day itself clouds it a bit. Then you get back home and reflect, where it is warm, dry and not windy, then everything looks so much better.


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