Southease Open Gardens

For the last eight years a number of residents of the tiny village of Southease have opened up their spectacular gardens to the public to raise funds for the upkeep of their beautiful 1000-year-old church. “There’s a lot of variety between the gardens,” says Jane Orchard, one of the householders who, along with her husband Adrian, has spent the last few weeks getting her garden ready for the event. “Ours is very much a cottage garden. The rectory garden is more formal. There’s a sunken garden. It’s full of surprises.”

“Our garden is a very intensely planted cottage garden stuffed with plants. It’s overflowing: you practically have to hack your way round. It looks like it has just happened like that, but in fact it has taken a monumental amount of work to get it this way. We have planted for scent, and in this period it smells lovely. Even though the roses are late because of the cold spring, it is brimming full of sweet rocket and poppies.” Normally about 500 people visit the gardens over the weekend, though this year they may be fewer: it has been restricted to a single day because of parking problems due to Sunday’s raft race. Whoever eschews England’s opening World Cup match to visit the gardens will be offered plants for sale and tea on the village green. Anybody looking for anything any stronger will have to walk to Rodmell: unfortunately the village pub, the Black Lamb, closed down over 300 years ago. AL

Scent to heaven: Southease gardens delight the senses
Southease Village, on the C7 road
When? 2-6pm
How Much? £3.50