Spring in the garden at Sheffield Park

Spring colour at Sheffield Park and Garden Sussex

Spring means colour at Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex, where dramatic views are around every bend and scent fills hidden glades.

The garden is a horticultural work of art, formed through centuries of landscape design, with influences of ‘Capability’ Brown and Humphry Repton. Four lakes form the heart of the garden, with paths circulating through the glades and wooded areas surrounding them. Each owner has left their impression, which can still be seen today in the layout of the lakes, the construction of Pulham Falls, the planting of Palm Walk and the many different tree and shrub species from around the world.  Spring explodes with colour as bluebells and daffodils herald the arrival of warmer weather while rhododendrons and azaleas compete with their bold displays.

Lakes

Water has always been a key element of the landscape at Sheffield Park and our five lakes have become an iconic feature, which is much photographed and enjoyed by everyone who visits.  Their hand-dug, clay-lined construction creates dramatic reflections of the carefully planned planting that surrounds them.

Pulham Falls

The Pulham Falls, which connect Ten Foot Pond and Middle Lake, were commissioned by the 3rd Earl of Sheffield and installed between 1882 and 1885 by Pulham and Son.  We turn the falls on between 12.00 – 1.00pm every Tuesday and Friday – a spectacular sight and a great photo opportunity during your visit.

Trees and shrubs

Our vast collection of trees and large shrubs are planted to create vistas that enhance the feeling of scale and grandeur of the property.  The garden has received a Grade I listing and holds the national collection of Ghent Azaleas. 

" rhododendrons are massed upon the banks and when the wind passes over the real flowers the water flowers shake and break into each other."
- Virginia Woolf, 1937

Each month sees a change in the garden.  Below are some examples of what you might expect to find this season:

March

Camellias:  These woodland plants grow best in shelter and dappled shade.  The best examples can be found creating arbours on Flint Road and around Palm Avenue.  The colours of the flowers vary from white through pink to red.

Purple toothwort (Lathraea clandestine): This is a small parasitic flowering plant which lacks chlorophyll.  It first appeared in Sheffield Park on a dead Sorbus tree stump about six years ago and has since spread up Aucklandii Walk.  Inside the plants are stalked hairs which when stimulated by the touch of an insect, send out delicate filaments which results in the insect being killed and digested.  Luckily it does no harm to the host plant.

April

Snake’s Head Fritillary (Fritillaria maleagris): Fritillaria is a genus of the lily family.  They are characterised by their bell-shaped flowers which appear in early spring.  A geographic checked pattern covers their petals which tremble in the breeze.

A Snake's Head Fritillary at Sheffield Park, East Sussex
A Snake's Head Fritillary at Sheffield Park, East Sussex

Japanese azalea (Rhododendron ‘Hinomayo’): One of the most popular Japanese azaleas, ‘Hinomayo’ produces small bright pink, funnel-shaped flowers in spring and early summer in a dense cloud of colour covering the bushes.

May

Rhododendron hybrids: From late April to early June, the garden is a blaze of colour with the many varieties of large-leaved hybrids.  These do not all flower at the same time, so the vistas are continually changing.

Judas Tree (Cercis siliquastrum) This small tree flowers before the leaves appear.  The sweetpea-like flowers form in late spring and bud from the branches and trunk.  There are just three specimens in the garden.