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Article by Caroline Knight | 27th September 2019

Grass roots

This is one of the best months for ornamental grasses and there are a few special gardens that show off these amazing plants in a spectacular September way.

Sussex Prairie Garden, near Henfield in West Sussex is a fine example. It is one of only a handful of relatively new gardens open to the public in the UK, having been created in 2009. It is said to be Britain’s largest prairie or naturalistic garden, having eight acres of perennial planting including many different grasses.

Created on land belonging to a farm, all 35,000 plants were originally planted lovingly by hand by owners Paul and Pauline McBride together with family and friends. They were inspired by their time working in Luxembourg with world-renowned landscape designer Piet Oudolf. Members of the public (and their dogs) are encouraged to walk through the garden on wood chip paths, which snake through the beds, giving a “total immersion” experience.

Sussex Prairie Garden is hosting the Unusual Plant and Garden Fair on 1st September from 11am-5pm. Then on 19th September, garden designer Juliet Sargeant will give an illustrated talk together with planting exercises. She’ll explain how to design similar schemes at home.

  • Meanwhile, in Hernhill, near Faversham there’s not only a rather stately, privately-owned family home, but acres of woodland, pasture, fruit farm and gardens, all enjoying stunning views. The gardens at Mount Ephraim include an unusual mini maze, which is based on a medieval labyrinth. Created using ornamental grasses and herbaceous perennials, the planting forms a “Catherine wheel” of contrasting colours and it’s at its very best when enjoyed during September.

Image © Knoll Gardens

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