Summer in the garden at Standen

Divided into many outdoor 'rooms', each with its own theme, colours, texture and detail, the 12 acre garden at Standen is almost entirely the creation of a self-taught gardener - Margaret Beale.

Garden Revival project

Inspired by the Arts & Crafts Movement, Mrs Beale developed her hillside garden so that it looked like a natural part of the High Weald landscape. Having recently been restored as part of a five year project, the garden is at its best ever. Key areas include the Quarry Garden, which is where the stone for the house came from and the Rosery, which has a pond, circular rose beds and a new wooden trellis built by garden volunteers.

Top terrace and Rock Top walk

After the 1987 hurricane a number of unsuitable and invasive plants were put in, but the top terrace has recently been replanted with 500 Scots pine and silver birch trees, restoring Margaret Beale's original outlook which reflects the wider landscape of Ashdown Forest. A contemporary artwork, Bothy, by Will Shannon has been commissioned to continue to interpret the Arts & Crafts legacy.

Standen Bothy by Will Shannon looking over High Weald
Standen Bothy by Will Shannon looking over High Weald
Standen Bothy by Will Shannon looking over High Weald

A rich and varied plant collection

Summer flowering trees & shrubs

Around the garden there are plenty of shrubs in bloom. In June, Crinodendron hookerianum dazzles at the entrance of the Quarry Garden with its red lanterns, and the white scented flowers of Clerodendron trichotomum fargesii give reason to pause between the Kitchen Garden and the Croquet Lawn.

In July, at the bottom of the main lawn look up into the tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera and see the understated yet beautiful green and orange flowers. Nearby, the blue, pink and white mophead hydrangeas are blooming big and beautiful and look out for the more delicate aspera and paniculata types around the garden.

Along the lower terrace, punctuating the perennials and Ilex aquifolium ‘Argentea Marginata’ standards there are flowers of pink Abelia grandiflora ‘Sherwood’ and Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Lady in Red’, blue Hibiscus ‘Oiseau Bleu’ and deep rose H. ‘Woodbridge’. 

In August Eucryphia x nymansensis ‘Nymansay’ on the Croquet Lawn and E. glutinosa in the Quarry Garden, catch the eye.

Acers in the spring at Standen
Acers in the Spring at Standen
Acers in the spring at Standen

Red shades

From summer through to autumn the house terraces will be set alight with all shades of red, inspired by the colours of Standen’s collection of De Morgan pottery. Striking foliage plants including Canna indica ‘Purpurea’, Plectranthus ‘Nico’ and  Ricinus communis ‘Red Giant’ will be the perfect foil for flamboyant dahlias including D. ‘Magenta Star’ and salvias, including the species S. confertiflora and S. oxyphora.  Pot displays will include Asiatic lilies.

Acers at Standen in Autumn
Acers at Standen in the Autumn
Acers at Standen in Autumn

Annual splendour

Summer is the time to 'mix-with-colour' using annuals throughout the borders. Favourites return such as the striking pinks of Cleome spinosa ‘Violet Queen’ and the intense reds of Zinnia ‘Super Yoga Dark Red’. Last year Laurentia 'Avant-Garde Blue' was a real crowd pleaser and will make a welcome return.

Also, look out for Alonsoa ‘Rebel’, Browallia americana, Cosmos ‘Cupcakes’, Malope trifida ‘Vulcan’ Nicotiana langsdorffii, Petunia hybrida grandiflora ‘Superbissima', Silene ‘Blue Angel’, and Venidium fastuosum 'Orange Prince'.

Roses and Irises

Visit the Rosery in June and see the romantic pink blooms of Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ and R. ‘Old Blush China’, and the pure white of R. ‘Winchester Cathedral’ and R. ‘White Perfumella’.

The newly restored Rosery at Standen
Standen Garden Rosery
The newly restored Rosery at Standen

Climbing the pergola are red R. ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’, white R. ‘Iceberg’ and pink R. ‘St Swithun’. Underneath in the iris beds are the William Robinson inspired colour designs of rich ruffled violet raspberry of Iris  ‘Gypsy Romance’ and regally rich purple of I. ‘Fit For A King’. There’s I. ‘Evening Drama’ with its combination of white and dark deep purple and the maroon and yellow of I. ‘Country Charm’.

On the house terrace is a Margaret Beale favourite, Rosa ‘Sanders White’. It’s a white rambler producing small semi-double flowers which have a fruity fragrance.

A sunny day on Lavender Lawn
mulberry tree on lavender lawn
A sunny day on Lavender Lawn

Nectar rich

July is when lavender fills the air with a scent which sends the local insects into frenzy. Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’ around the Lavender Lawn literally hums with happy bees. Up on the sloping lawn, the wild flowers are a magnet for butterflies and other pollinators which flit and flutter from yellow rattle to trefoil, between geranium, hawkbit and spotted orchids.

Close up of a herbaceous border at Standen
Summer borders at Standen
Close up of a herbaceous border at Standen

Perennial delights

All along the Lower Terrace drifts of Aster amellus ‘King George’, Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’, Leucanthemum ‘Wirral Supreme’ and L. ‘Snowdrift’, Phlox ‘Bright Eyes’, Sanguisorba ‘Pink Tanna’ and Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’ underframe the house. Punctuated by the versatile allium, Nectaroscordum siculum this border is looking at its best in mid-summer. Gaps which appear will be filled this year with Ageratum ‘Dondo White’.

In the Rosery around the pond, moisture and shade loving Astilbe japonica ‘Cappuccino’, A. chinensis ‘Vision in Pink’, Houttiynia Pied Piper, Ligularia stenocephala ‘The Rocket’, Macleaya cordata, Primula beesiana  and Rheum palmatum var. tanguticum add form and structure.

Staff picking vegetables from the Kitchen Garden to be used in the café
Staff picking vegetables in the kitchen garden
Staff picking vegetables from the Kitchen Garden to be used in the café

The Kitchen Garden

Margaret Beale supplied her family and servants with a variety of fruit and vegetables from the kitchen garden. Today the kitchen garden supplies Barn Café with seasonal produce. There is also a barrow near the car park where you might find some seasonal produce you can take home with you.

Bringing back the Farm Track at Standen House and Garden

Bringing back the Farm Track at Standen 

The Farm Track at Standen was used by the Beales to walk cows back and forth from the milking sheds twice each day. Staff and four volunteers have recently embarked on a major project to restore the Farm Track, to rescue important plants, improve access and to make it a feature of this prominent area once again.

Explore further afield

The wider estate includes ancient meadows and woodlands, with wildlife and flowers to be seen. Pick up a walk from reception, grab your wellies and head for Rockinghill or Hollybush woods, or perhaps down to Weirwood Reservoir.