Leonardslee Gardens, West Sussex, England | Brightly colored flowering azaleas and rhododendrons in sheltered valley (18 of 19)
Leonardslee Gardens: Landscape Garden and lake views
For a few weeks in May of each year, Leonardslee Gardens in West Sussex, UK, erupt into a spectacular display of the most amazing color combinations of flowering rhododendrons and azaleas. The green, wooded valley gardens then turn into a place of vibrant colors and breath-taking beauty. Filled with the scent of the massed azalea plantings the whole area becomes a forest paradise. Visitors have often described its colors and tranquility as being like ‘heaven on earth’.
This photograph, taken around mid-day, shows the dazzling display from azalea plantings at Leonardslee landscape gardens.
For many years, tens of thousands of visitors have enjoyed the ‘picture postcard’ qualities of this Grade 1 historic garden. Unfortunately, the gardens are now closed to the public as they have been sold to an international businessman.
Details: Leonardslee Gardens is a truly outstanding English landscape garden having a Grade 1 Historic Garden status (English Heritage Register). It covers about 240 acres (97 Hectares) in a wooded valley, contains seven lakes and is extensively planted with azaleas, ancient rhododendrons (some well over 100 years old), acers and camellias - all with a delightful under planting of bluebells in spring.
The great Victorian plant collector, Sir Edmund Loder (who gave his name to the large flowered and scented Loderi Rhododendron Hybrids) purchased the estate in 1889 and planted large numbers of Rhododendrons there. Sir Giles Loder later planted an extensive collection of camellias at Leonardslee. The estate remained in the hands of five generations of the Loder family until 2010 when it was sold to an international businessman. However, the Loder Rhododendron nursery was not sold and is still in business.
Location: Leonardslee Gardens, Lower Beeding, Horsham, West Sussex, England, RH13 6PP, UK. UK Map references: OSGB36 Grid ref:: TQ220259: Map tile ref: TQ22NW40
Links: A more detailed history of Leonardslee Gardens is available on Wikipedia. Leonardslee nursery is still run by Chris Loder and his website contains useful information on Rhododendron Loderi, its varieties and hybrids.
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