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The garden at Standen

National Trust Images / John Miller
National Trust Images / John Miller | © National Trust Images / John Miller

Explore 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, who was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement.

The exterior of the arts and crafts house at Standen in West Sussex surrounded by rhododendrons in bloom
The house at Standen | © National Trust Images/Gary Coshan

Summer in the garden

On a hot summer day, the shade cast by trees in the Quarry Garden favours ferns and mosses, climbing hydrangea and rare and unusual bulbs, relics from over a century ago. On the sun-baked Terrace just outside the quarry, plants from an altogether different clime thrive, including the gorgeous yellow Banksian rose and the willowy alternate-leaved buddleia. This year, new annuals have been added to the Terrace including bright orange Tithonia, colourful Antirrhinum, and unusual Kochia and Ricinus, as well as Cosmos and Cleome.

Further around the house, the Lavender Lawn and House Courtyard brim with summer colour. Annuals, perennials and shrubs all work together to give a stunning overall effect before you get drawn into the smallest detail of a honeybee on the waving flower of a lavender.

Explore Standen’s garden rooms

Goose Green

Any visit to the garden must start and end at Goose Green, the heart of the garden for a century and more. Three large plane trees dominate this space, surrounded on each side by domestic and rural features – the Kitchen Garden, the old farm buildings, the servants' wing of the house and the medieval farmhouse on a small rise above. Once home to geese, cows and horses, it is now a wonderful place to relax and enjoy these most beautiful of surroundings.

The house terrace and Quarry Garden

Around the house itself is where Margaret showed her real passion for plants, the rarest, most showy and those that were most special to her were planted within a few yards of the door to the garden from the conservatory.

Only the most privileged guests were allowed into this area, which includes the shady and surprising Quarry Garden. It’s so close to the house itself but feels a lifetime away.

Top terrace and rock top walk

The Upper Garden once thickly wooded lost many trees in the Great Storm of 1987, but their replacements, now approaching over 30 years in age, are quickly reclothing the hillside with colours, shapes, textures, scents and sounds.

Here you'll find the most spectacular views across the Medway Valley to Ashdown Forest – virtually unspoiled by any development, save for the 1950s Weir Wood Reservoir, which meanders through the landscape like a river, and is now a well-established part of the scenery.

Further round you’ll find the Bothy, built in 2017 in an area of garden lost for decades to scrub. It too boasts fine views towards the tower of East Grinstead Church and into the intimate landscape of the High Weald.

Family fun

The lower garden is where the family had fun: the Croquet Lawn was – and is – a place for sitting and games.

The Rosery, so recently lost to invasive bamboo, is currently being restored and is the site of the swimming pond where the Beale children used to learn to swim.

The Kitchen Garden

Nearby is the orchard, home to hives of honeybees and many old varieties of apple. Here the grass is left to grow long, allowing wildflowers to flourish including delicate orchids and the diminutive yellow rattle.

The Kitchen Garden is close to the house and originally nearly three acres, almost a quarter of the whole garden. Recently brought back into production after quite some time as private gardens, it's full of a wide range of tasty crops that are supplied to the café throughout the year.

Visitors in the gardens of Standen House, West Sussex

Discover more at Standen House and Garden

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