‘Lost gardens’ shared for charity open event

St Mary's House owner Peter Thorogood (left) and curator Roger Linton inspect the roses

St Mary's House owner Peter Thorogood (left) and curator Roger Linton inspect the roses

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THE ‘lost gardens of Bramber’ have undergown an amazing transformation over the last 15 years, and now people can see the results for themselves.

St Mary’s House owner Peter Thorogood and curator Roger Linton made the remarkable discovery in 1997 and rescued the gardens after 50 years of neglect.

Administrator Alan Durden said: “At that time, the gardens were a picture of dereliction, overgrown with an impenetrable jungle of brambles, nettles and saplings.”

Brought back to their former glory, thanks to Mr Linton’s ingenious designs and the hard work of an enthusiastic team of volunteers, the gardens will be open on Friday and Saturday as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

Mr Durden added: “Today, visitors feel as though they have entered another world – not a jungle after all, but a riot of colour in the magnificent Rose Garden, planted for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.”

There is also a colourful terracotta garden, the rare pineapple pits with the restored stove-house and the magnificent 140ft (43m) Victorian brick fruit wall.

Mr Durden said: “Visitors can also enjoy the great charm of the formal gardens surrounding the fine medieval timber-framed house.”

There are a number of amusing topiary subjects – a large topiary snail reminds drivers to take care as they enter the car park, plus there is a spirited topiary bull, a bob-tailed hare in box and a bulbous-eyed frog.

The gardens will be open 2pm to 5.30pm. Entrance £4 adults. The house and gardens are also open until September 30 on Sundays, Thursdays and Bank Holiday Mondays, 2pm to 6pm. Visit www.stmarysbramber.co.uk or call 01903 816205.