My friend M and I met up on Tuesday morning at the Stagecoach bus stop near my hotel on Marine Parade. The #9 bus dropped us at Northbrook Metropolitan College. It was a short walk along the A259 to the Highdown turnoff and a pleasant trek up the hill to the gardens.
From the Highdown Gardens website:
Highdown Gardens are nestled on the South Downs situated between Ferring and Goring.
These stunningly beautiful chalk gardens on Downland countryside, overlooking the sea, are a tranquil haven for all to enjoy. The gardens are home to The National Plant Collection of the Plant Introductions of Sir Fredrick Stern – a unique collection of plants and trees, with many unusual plants to be discovered all year round.
Highdown Gardens is one of the hidden gems of the area and home to a unique collection of rare plants and trees. In fact the whole garden has been deemed a National Collection.
The Gardens looks their best in spring and early summer when there is a colorful succession of spring bulbs such as Crocus, Daffodils, Anemones and Snowdrops followed by Paeonies and Bearded Iris.
As we were there the second week in May this was an ideal time to see the gardens at their best.
The gardens, internationally important because they are home to hundreds of rare and exotic plants and trees uniquely grown on chalk soil, are visited by tens of thousands of people every year.
Worthing Borough Council owns and maintains the gardens which are free to visitors.
Sir Frederick Stern created his gardens during a period when many expeditions were going out to China and the Himalayan regions collecting rare and beautiful plants. Many of the original plants from their early collections can still be seen in the Gardens today.
Sir Frederick received his knighthood in 1956 for Services to Horticulture.
The 8.5 acres of Gardens were created out of an old chalk pit overlooking the South Downs, where there was little soil and very unfavorable conditions for plant growth.
I really lucked out and experienced Southern California weather all the time I was in Worthing, except for half a day when it rained. The weather on our visit to Highdown was sunny and warm. Very pleasant for walking around.
The tadpoles were enjoying a school outing on this beautiful day!
And this little red fellow came along to say hello.
Click on an image below to enjoy the slideshow!
After such a feast for the senses it was time to fill our tummies so we headed to the Tea Rooms.
I chose the Ploughmen’s Lunch and M ordered Welsh Rarebit.
Such a delightful afternoon. We walked back to the bus stop through the fields.