Parham House and Gardens to re-open

Lady Emma Barnard & Head Gardener, Tom Brown, planting a tree in the orchard SUS-140317-143347001
Lady Emma Barnard & Head Gardener, Tom Brown, planting a tree in the orchard SUS-140317-143347001
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Parham House & Gardens (www.parhaminsussex.co.uk) – the Elizabethan country house estate located between the West Sussex villages of Storrington and Pulborough - is re-opening to the public for its new 2014 Season on Sunday 6th April – (12pm-5pm, Gardens and 2-5pm, House).

Joining John Saville, the General Manager, and his team this season is the newly appointed Head of Marketing & House, Emma Cutler. Emma joins Parham following fifteen years in marketing communications and the last six years with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in Poole.

Visitors to Parham on Sunday 6th April will be able to see the newly planted orchard in the Pleasure Grounds. There has been a 1-acre orchard at Parham for many years with records showing a replanting in 1947 and then again after the great storm of 1987, and this latest replanting has involved 40 new trees being planted out of a total of 60 trees in the orchard.

A number of years in the planning, Head Gardener, Tom Brown, and team worked closely with Parham’s ‘chatelaine’, Lady Emma Barnard and her family to choose the trees to be planted based on varieties with great tasting fruits.

A wide selection of fruits were tasted initially and then the most appealing ones chosen for planting. The orchard is a ‘traditional’ orchard and the trees include apples, pears, plums, damsons, quinces and a walnut tree.

Alongside the newly re-planted orchard, the Fruit Store Room has also been refurbished to eventually accommodate all the new fruit that will now be grown by the new trees. Refurbished to provide a totally ‘natural’ store room, there is no artificial temperature control included to maintain totally natural storage conditions and in keeping with the organic principles followed in the rest of the garden.

On this note, the gardens have a new organic “Slug Patrol” team in operation in the form of 2 Indian Runner Ducks (Monty & Carol) and 3 ‘big, funky’ Lavender Cochin chickens (Tiny the Cockerel, Matilda and Maud)! Let out of their coup by Head Gardener, Tom, in the morning, the ducks and chickens roam the Walled Garden and vegetable beds during the daytime eating all the slugs they can find and paying particular attention to the box hedging surrounding all the vegetable beds where slugs love to hide. This feathered team is doing an excellent job at removing the slugs organically and without any risk to the other wildlife enjoying the gardens and the chicken eggs are also being used by the family.

To keep this hard working team going, Tom is currently incubating some Lavender Cochin eggs in the hope that he will have 3-4 week old chicks for the children to see over the Easter Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday weekend.

Commented Lady Emma Barnard: “It has certainly been a very busy winter of activity both in the house and gardens. In the house, we have had re-painting projects in the Ship Room, which has the exhibition about my grandparents restoring the house in the 1920s and the Long Gallery, which is the 3rd longest gallery in a house in the UK. We have also been busy in the gardens with Tom and his team replanting the Orchard with 40 new trees, mulching everywhere and generally getting ready for the much needed arrival of a dry spring!

“With Easter being late this year we are re-opening a couple of weeks beforehand and look forward to welcoming visitors to Parham on Sunday 6th April.”

Website = www.parhaminsussex.co.uk.

Entry prices: Adult = £10, Senior Citizens = £9, Children (5-15) = £5, Under 5’s = FREE, Family (2 adults, up to 4 children) = £28.

Season Tickets: Single = £30, Double = £45, Family = £50.

Report and pictures contributed by Zanny Gilchrist.