Leonardslee Gardens

  • leonardslee

Garden Category: South Central England

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  • Leonardslee is located just on the edge of the High Weald of Sussex and benefits from the rich Weald soil combined with an idyllic sheltered valley.Sir Edmund Loder, one of the big Victorian plant collectors, appreciated this and after purchasing the estate from his parents-in-law in 1889, he started developing the gardens as they are today. Five generations of Loder’s have lived at Leonardslee and each generation has had the opportunity to make their mark. Sir Edmund Loder laid out vast collections of plants – predominantly Rhododendrons and Azaleas – as well as conifers and other collections. Sir Giles Loder, continued the tradition by planting award winning camellias. More recently, Robin Loder has spent time developing the landscape of the gardens, restoring many of the older lakes, as well as developing some of the amazing views that you see today. The valley is home to a set of old hammer ponds, which were used for driving a mill further downstream. These lakes create a peaceful sanctuary to a number of wildfowl. You can see ducks, geese and swans swimming on any one of the lakes. The Gardens are set in a superb landscape in a peaceful 240 acre valley withwalks around seven beautiful lakes. The gardens are a paradise in May, whenthe rhododendrons and azaleas are at their best, peaceful in summer, (an interesting wild-flower walk), and superb autumn colours. There is also a charming Rock Garden, a miniature one twelfth scale Victorian country estate, a fascinating Museum and history of the garden exhibition, a collection of Victorian cars and an Alpine House. Wallabies and deer live semi-wild in parts of the valley, and wildfowl on the lakes.

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