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Highdown Gardens wins gold third time in a row

Released: Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Highdown Gardens logoHighdown Gardens has been declared the horticultural equivalent of star sprinter Usain Bolt after winning a prestigious Gold Award for the third time running.

The gardens, owned and maintained by Worthing Borough Council, received the South East in Bloom award at a special ceremony at the Amex Stadium.

Just like Bolt, who won Golds at three consecutive Olympics, for the third year running the beauty spot on Highdown Hill has been awarded top prize, which places them in the company of famous historic gardens such as Osbourne House on the Isle of White and Parham House near Storrington.

South & South East in Bloom logo (200)

To be awarded Gold the Gardens had to convince a panel of highly-qualified judges that they are being maintained to the highest levels and are must-see places. Only gardens that reach more than 85 per cent on the judges score sheets are accepted as Gold winners.

Winning the award is a significant achievement and demonstrates the Council's commitment to maintaining the legacy of Sir Frederick Stern who established this important chalk garden in early part of the 20th Century. Sir Frederick defied expert opinion at the time by growing exotic plants from around the world on chalk with just six inches of soil above.

The Council continue to maintain this garden and are working on plans to further develop the visitor experience at Highdown Gardens and safeguard the national plant collection contained in the gardens.

Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Digital and Environmental Services, Cllr Edward Crouch, said:

"I am delighted that Highdown Gardens continues to be recognised for the high standards maintained there. It is a beautiful place, almost a hidden jewel up on the hill there but it only stays so because of the hard work of all our our garden staff.

“I would like to congratulate them for their commitment and hard work and would urge the public to take a trip up there to see what all the fuss is about.”

Here's what the judges had to say about Highdown:

“Sir Fredrick Stern's Highdown Garden is a garden of national importance hosting and preserving a national collection of his plant introductions, including many rare shrubs and trees. The garden continues to be maintained to a high standard by Worthing Borough Council in spite of cuts to local government spending.”

“The two head gardeners; Jo Hooper and Peter Whish, are not only highly experienced horticulturalists but also very knowledgeable about, and respectful of, the garden's rich history. The plans to catalogue the number of different species in the garden, protect valuable plants from damage, improve disabled access, extend opening hours in the summer, rebuild the greenhouses and provide interactive displays for families are all to be welcomed.”

“The small team of professional staff gardeners are assisted in their work by a group of some 30 volunteers whose work is clearly valued and essential to the garden's maintenance, along with young people on work experience and apprentices.”

Scoring the highest points this year 176 out of a possible 200, we are judged on criteria such as horticultural range and diversity, horticultural maintenance, sustainability, conservation, marketing and community involvement.

See also: Highdown Gardens website

Photo: Jo Hooper (Head Gardener), Jean Griffin (Trustee of SSEiB), Shaun Blower (Highdown Gardens Apprentice) and Joe Talbot (Presenter of Dig It, BBC Radio Sussex)

PR18-166 - Jo Hooper (Head Gardener), Jean Griffin (SSEiB), Shaun Blower (Apprentice) and Joe Talbot (BBC Radio Sussex)

Photos: Views of Highdown Gardens

PR18-166 - View across Highdown Gardens through a cherry blossom tree

PR18-166 - View across Highdown Gardens


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