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Open Thur–Sun. Please see website for more details.

DENMANS GARDEN

Partner Garden
Free access for RHS members at selected times

Denmans Lane
Fontwell
Near Arundel
BN18 0SU

4 acres

Tel
01243 278950‬

Visit website

Admission

Non-member adult price £9, senior & children £7. Please see website for more details.

RHS members

Free access (Member 1 only) – applies Thurs only when open.

Facilities

  • access
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Dogs welcome
  • facilities
  • Gift shop
  • Group rates
  • Parking
  • Plants for sale
  • Restaurant
  • Toilets

Features

  • Autumn colour
  • Glasshouse (open to public)
  • Gravel garden
  • Herbaceous border
  • Pond or lake
  • Sub-tropical garden
  • Winter garden

About the garden

Owned by
Gwendolyn van Paasschen

Denmans Garden, once the food production side of Lord Denman’s estate, is a tranquil contemporary garden on the southern slope of the South Downs. Converted by plantswoman Joyce Robinson from a post-war market garden to an ornamental garden, Denmans is comprised of a diverse series of spaces connected by curving paths of gravel and mown lawn through rough grass.

Mrs Robinson, who lived at Denmans from 1946-96, was ahead of her time in considering the environment in her plantings and was a pioneer in creating naturalistic, low-maintenance gravel gardens. She started her gravel gardens at Denmans in 1970 and, inspired by dry river beds in Greece and the South Downs, created two faux river beds on a slope formerly occupied by Guernsey calves. They terminate in a pond built by the late John Brookes MBE, one of Britain’s most influential and renowned landscape designers, who lived and gardened at Denmans from 1980 until his death in 2018.

Mr Brookes was convinced that Mrs Robinson’s spontaneous plant combinations, which included grasses, herbs, shrubs and perennials, pointed the way of future gardening. He fused her novel planting style with his own characteristically bold design flair, focusing on structure, texture, pattern, and colour.

Denmans is a mature modern country garden that also features a Walled Garden and a conservatory. Sheltered by the Downs and bathed in southern sunlight, the garden is full of unusual plants, some semi-tropical and some collected by Mrs Robinson and Mr Brookes from abroad. It is known for its creative plant associations and seemingly random plantings juxtaposed against both clipped and natural architectural plants.

The garden, which has benches throughout for contemplation, has a strong year-round interest and has been undergoing restoration since January of 2018. Visitors will find inspiration and design ideas for gardeners of all skill levels and gardens sizes.

Plants of special interest

  • Agapanthus
  • Alliums
  • Asters
  • Camellias
  • Clematis
  • Cornus (for winter stems or spring bracts)
  • Dahlias
  • Delphiniums
  • Ferns
  • Hellebores
  • Irises
  • Magnolias
  • Maple
  • Roses
  • Spring bulbs
  • Waterlilies
  • Wisteria

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.