Today Sedgwick Park (www.sedgwickpark.com) hosted not only its own opening as part of the National Gardens Scheme, but also the first weekend of the annual Horsham Artist Open Studios event (www.horshamartistsopenstudios.co.uk) where a variety of artists and makers exhibiting their work in the house and in marquees in the grounds.
Sedgwick Park estate dates back to about 1086 when a castle stood nearby, but the current house built in 1886 stands on the site of an earlier house dating back to 1608. The house is certainly large, if a little plain by Victorian standards but does feature a fine looking tower with an ornate cupola topped by a weather vane. The current house was built by Robert and Emma Henderson. He was a director of the Bank of England and died aged 44 in 1895 his widow continued to live at Sedgwick until her death at the age of 80 in 1931, after which time the house had several owners until 1988 when the estate was finally broken up and sold off in lots. The house and gardens were owned variously by developers and others and the gardens fell into disrepair and neglect. In 2001 the current owners John and Clare Davison bought the house and have been slowly restoring it and its grounds.
The garden is a delightful mix of formal manicured planting and ‘managed neglect’ and offers the visitor much to see with a mixture of traditional English Country Garden and more exotic plants. The whole is bounded by woodland through which there are vistas affording fabulous views across the South Downs to Chanctonbury Ring. Dotted around the garden can be found a variety of quirky and traditional sculptures and vast quantities of Horsham Stone has been used to make terraces, paths, rockeries and a delightful Italianate pond.
One of the most wonderful things about this garden is the way each ‘area’ is almost a secret to its neighbour. Every different area is a new experience and a delight to behold and one can only marvel at how tremendous the whole will be once the restoration is complete.
Of course, no event like this is complete without tea and cake, and the tea and cake on offer at Sedgwick was second to none!
Gateway to the garden and standard white Wisteria flank steps which lead to an upper terrace rose walk
Upper Terrace Rose Walk undergoing restoration and quirky Swan sculpture
Two of the interesting sculptures to be found in the garden
Very large fish swimming in one of the ponds and the Italianate Water Garden
The turf Labyrinth and view through the restored rock garden to the house
View through formal border to the house and view from the Terrace to the South Downs
Windows in the hedges offer inviting vistas and rustic chair to rest a while
The rear terrace set for tea and Tea and cake on the rear terrace