Garden blogging, Garden Visits

Parham Garden, West Sussex – A Garden Entering September

I am lucky enough to live in a part of the country with a number of diverse and interesting gardens to visit from Sussex Prairies, seen recently on Gardeners World, to the National Trust garden at Nymans, with Charleston and Denmans in between.  Of course I mustn’t forget Great Dixter and Parham.

Parham is one of the closest gardens to me and I went there yesterday.  We were lucky to have a day sandwiched between too many wet days, although it was overcast and very warm and muggy.    Our last visit was at the end of May when everything was just bursting through and coming into its own.   Now at the end of August the garden had been beaten down by rain and was beginning to look decidedly autumnal.

The Rose Garden in May was beautiful and the muted colours of pink to purples looked splendid, now just on the cusp of September it is decidedly overgrown, nevertheless still charming to wander around.

Parham Rose Garden – May 2015
Parham Rose Garden - August 2015
Parham Rose Garden – Late August 2015

The Herb Garden was in a similar state.

Herb Garden Parham - May 2015
Herb Garden Parham – May 2015
Herb Garden Parham - Late August 2015
Herb Garden Parham – Late August 2015

I don’t have a photo of the sunflowers in May, the gardeners were in the throes of planting a long bed of very straggly sad looking sunflower plants that looked in need of a good drenching and some were looking as though they would never make it. However the sunflower border was very impressive and I am glad I have seen how well they have done three months on.  Many of you have already seen this as it as also shown on an episode of Gardeners World.

Sun Flower Bed - Parham Late August 2015
Sun Flower Bed – Parham Late August 2015

I love the way gardens change colour throughout the seasons from the bright and cheerful “hurrah we are the other side of winter” yellows to the regal and wonderful deep reds and maroons at the end of summer of Sedum, gladioli and Echinacea.


I am in fear of doing Parham an injustice to the great team of gardeners.  Not all borders are beginning to be past their best.  A large part of the garden has beds containing a mixture of cut flowers and vegetables that are enclosed by box hedge.  One particular bed has Amaranthus and Curly Kale, a clever combination of colours, other beds have runner beans giving height in the middle surrounded by dahlias and other cutting flowers.


The photos below are of two of the other borders.

Fifty years ago the garden had a team of 20 looking after it, these days there are 7 and even on a Sunday there was one of the team with his note book, wheelbarrow and secateurs keeping a watchful eye on this much loved garden.

If  you have never visited Parham, I would suggest you put it on your Gardens to Visit list, and if you haven’t been for a while remember to pay a return visit.  If you are a RHS member the entrance is free!

Parham House & Gardens are open from 5 April – 27 September 2015 Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sun & Bank Holidays.

During October Sundays only.

Gardens only 30th, 31st October & 1st November.

Garden visiting

Parham Gardens at the Height of Summer

I have been to Parham Gardens near Storrington in West Sussex, four times, each one has been different experience.   My first visit, quite a few years ago,  was at the end of the Summer and the garden was looking overgrown and well past its prime.  To be honest I came away slightly disappointed.   The next two visits were this time of the year when Parham hold their Garden Weekend Event, always well attended and heaving with people.

On 8 July 2012, was my first time at this event and it rained!   That afternoon, I wrote my post “Sunshine and Showers at Parham’s Garden Weekend“.    I commented at the time how lush the borders were looking, which was  not surprising due to the amount of rain.

My next visit to the Garden Weekend was last year, July 2013.  A very hot day, with lots of people and unfortunately a day, being in the throes of receiving chemotherapy, I didn’t really enjoy and was not feeling on top of the world.

Yesterday was my friend’s birthday and when I asked him where he would like to go as a day out he said he would like to visit Parham.   Bearing in mind it had been forecasted as the hottest day of the year with possible temperatures of 30C we headed off armed with sunblock and sun hats.

It was lovely to arrive without lots of other people there.  It gave us the necessary time to wander around the garden at our leisure.   The large flowerbed in the entrance was striking with its dark and rich colour scheme, bordered with Chard with brightly coloured red stems, in the middle are Dahlias – Bishop of  Llandaff , Cannas and tall spires of Red Lobelia.

enrance flower bed

I apologise to  readers and Parham for the poor quality photographs.  I decided to leave my Nikon DSLR at home, instead taking my small Fuji, not renowned for excellent clarity.   Coupled with the knowledge that no-one should take photographs in the middle of the day when the light is exceptionally bright, means that I am unable to give Parham justice for the wonderful colour that met us down every path and at every turn of the garden.

Tom Brown, the Head Gardener at Parham since 2010, has produced a garden that is spectacular and abundant.   The colour matching in the Walled Garden, of hot colours down one path and pinks down another gives great inspiration.  It was good to hear the whole garden humming with bees and busy butterflies.

The entrance into the Walled Garden.
The entrance into the Walled Garden.
The entrance path packed full of warm colours.
The entrance path packed full of warm colours.
The hot border in the Walled Garden
The hot border in the Walled Garden

The hot border was packed full of plants such as bright orange Coreopsis, Pink Echinacea,  Achillea, red Sedum, Rudbeckia and Kniphofia, all creating a blaze of colour.

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This is in contrast to the cooler pink and purple border, which was just as attractive to the wildlife.  I took pics of deep maroon, almost black,  Scabious and an interesting late flowering dark red drumstick Allium which appeared in many parts of the garden but they are not of good enough quality to reproduce on the blog.  Take it from me they were wonderful.


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Parham Garden is a series of rooms which always appeals to me.  I love to wander around a garden when each turn presents you with something new.  It was impossible in the heat to walk past the Herb Garden, the spicy perfumes just wafted around to invite you in.

Herb garden

The next room was the Rose Garden.   Clearly, this would have been splendid a month or so earlier, there were few roses left, and an abundance of Nepeta.  There was one rose that continued to flower and sadly not being a rose expert I am unable to give it a name, but it was so pretty.  Can someone name it for me please?  UPDATE:  This rose is called Queen of Sweden 

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The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden

Unlike many Cutting Gardens, where all the flowers are in straight rows,  Parham have redesigned this part of the garden with meandering paths to enable the visitor to wander through the flowers.


I was particularly taken with the fabulous Sweet Pea “Wigwam” which you could walk into and be surrounded with the heady perfume of very impressive Sweet Peas which made me very envious!   The stems were long, thick and strong, totally the opposite to my weedy short thin stemmed blooms.  UPDATE:  Parham inform me that these beautiful Sweet Peas are John Gray, Charlie’s Angels, Kippen Cream and April in Paris.

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At this point, my camera decided it was not going to take any more photos, advising me the memory card was full!  How silly of me to only have put in a 258Mb card, but there you go these things happen.  It does mean that I can’t show you the vegetable garden, where each bed is bordered with box hedging, or the Pleasure Gardens with Veronica’s Maze and the lake.   There is also a well stocked Plant Sale area with healthy and well priced plants.  However, you will be able to see these for yourself  when you visit.

Parham Gardens and House is open from 12 – 5:30 pm every Sunday & Bank Holiday Monday in April and October, and from May to September on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Bank Holidays.  Also it is free to RHS members, which is a bonus.