WAKEHURST PLACE

liz and rory

When we came down to Sussex in 1987 to look at the place and buy a house, we began our search in Brighton.   I was horrified, when I saw it, at the prospect of living there.   I liked living by the sea.   But my idea of a seaside town was an ancient county town with sturdy old granite buildings, twinned on the other side of a beautiful bay, but divided by a lovely river, with an active fishing port, all in a remote and Northern location.   So you will understand that Brighton’s colourful and somewhat rackety charm did nothing at all for me.

So we came back up  the line to ‘that place withe all the trees’ (Haywards Heath).   During our visit we came quite by chance upon Kew’s garden at Wakehurst Place and fell in love with it.   We sat on a seat overlooking  the Himalayan Valley while our children played, and a bird landed on John’s hand.   (This has never happened again.)   I said to him, It might be OK, living here?   So, we are here, because of Wakehurst.

We have been there most weeks since.   We take all our visitors there.   I like seeing the huge garden moving through the seasons.   I like the variety of plants, the beautiful trees.   We enjoy a coffee.

So it was with disbelief that we read recently that it was considering that it might have to close.   Apparently the land was leased to it on condition that National Trust members get in free,  It is by far  the most visited ‘National Trust’ (though it belongs to Kew) site, yet the National Trust does not make it any allowance from the income generated by the members.   It presently operates at a loss.

The proposal is that it charges for parking, £1 for l hour, £5 for 2, £10 for the day.   Now we are rich in gardens here so we c ould easily transfer our visits to one of Sussex’s other lovely gardens.   But we so love Wakehurst, w e can’t simply abandon it.

One of the options being offered is that you pay an annual subscription to Wakehurst of around £50 which entitles you to free parking.   That would work out for us at around £1 per visit.   I think we’ll pay.

I can’t imagine living here without Wakehurst.   It’s like a labour-free extension to our own garden – so much so that we can unreasonably irritated if the Head Gardener has the audacity to alter any garden feature without having previously consulted us!

The picture above, courtesy of John, shows Rory and Elisabeth as teenagers taken in the Iris garden at Wakehurst.

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About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

2 Responses to WAKEHURST PLACE

  1. Barbara De Caux says:

    Hi Anne Just read your piece on Wakehurst. Obviously the system is unfair to Kew but then I think they have chosen an unnecessarily complex parking tariff.. A flat rate for every car and every visit would surely have been easier to collect and operate with no need for personnel to check times etc. It has caused a lot of ill feeling, perhaps because of the haste and lack of consultation given and may come back to haunt them I fear. We go fairly frequently and I know we could manage to pay the annual extra but there must be many who could not run to that. We shall see! Have still to read some of your other posts saved up for more time. Will do, I promise, before we meet in April! love Barbara Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2014 19:14:38 +0000 To: barbaradec@hotmail.com

  2. adhocannie says:

    Thanks, Barbara. I agree with your comments. We are willing to pay and in fact one ticket to enable the car to be parked costs only £25 which seems very reasonable to me.

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