When is a field a prairie?

Last Sunday Mr PP and I being at a loose end decided to go along to the Art and Garden Fete at the Sussex Prairies Garden near Henfield.  I had heard about this garden some time ago but never found the time to visit, so with the weather being rather splendid we took ourselves off for a couple of hours.

grass path

grassy path leading into planted area

On arrival it became clear that this was really not what I had imagined.  The entry was through a very bumpy field which was also the car park – not particularly well marshalled, but we did manage to park without too much difficulty.  The garden itself was in the neighbouring field, definitely not what I was expecting. the idea of a garden open to the public generally presents itself in the head (or in mine at least) as a more formalised affair, with a house attached to it in some way, and fields around the periphery not an integral part of the attraction.

steel crowd

steel crowds at the edge of the garden

The Sussex Prairies Garden is basically a field which has had a giant flower bed laid out in the middle, with some areas being built up to add height and the whole traced through with paths and beech hedging.  There is a pond and a bee area with some interesting French hives which cause the incumbent bee colony to build in a downward direction – instead of the traditional English upward method.  Apparently this is a more natural way of living for bees.  The garden itself consist of vast and dense planting of tall grasses and summer flowering plants such as Rudbeckia, of which there must have been every variety known to man!  Punctuating the whole were a host of quirky and unusual sculptures.

paul cox 2

Rudbeckia with quirky bird sculpture

As this was an Art and Garden Fete event the areas around the edge of the planting were filled with stalls and stands of work and produce from artists and garden nurseries selling all kinds of garden and plant related goodies.

yellow cone flowers

a sea of Rudbeckia

A very pleasant couple of hours on a sunny Sunday afternoon in an unusual environment.  Not sure I would describe it as a Prairie (which I visualise wide open spaces – grassy and more like a giant meadow; the word prairie comes from the French word for meadow), but it is certainly a nice place and I would imagine quite a tranquil place on a normal open day.


no self-respecting prairie is complete without a herd of bison/buffalo

tea cup flowers

tea-cup and saucer “plants”

pumpkin heads

crazy terracotta pumpkin head lanterns


About paisleypedlar

Artist, Sewist, sometime Cyclist and Arm Chair Activist
This entry was posted in Art, art and design, Country Houses, Crafty things, Expeditions and adventures, flowers, gardens, Out and about, sculpture and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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