• Parnham House Entrance

    Parham House Gardens

    17th July 2018Places to VisitStephanie Donaldson

    It’s always a treat to visit the gardens of Parham House near Pulborough in West Sussex – if you find yourself in the area do go and see for yourself.  The planting by Head Gardener, Tom Brown, and his team is inspiring, with different areas colour-themed, including the famous and recently replanted Blue Borders.

    planting sunflowers

    Detail from the Blue Borders Ornamentals and vegetables intermingle

    mixed border, hebe Despite the searing heat that had me wilting (the bright sunshine made photography difficult) and the lack of rain the plants were in fine fettle.

    As well as the ornamental borders and the fine vegetable garden where flowers and vegetables intermingle, Tom has been conducting a trial of annual climbers this year.


    ‘Clear-eyed Orange’


    ‘Clear-eyed Yellow’

    Some of these have found the current growing conditions difficult, but it was noticeable that the Thunbergia (Black-eyed Susan) were largely unaffected. I’ve seen them growing in their native habitat in South Africa climbing through trees in dry scrubby areas, so they seem well-equipped for the current drought conditions.  Of those being trialled, I particularly liked two clear-eyed (no black centre) varieties ‘Clear-Eyed Orange’ and ‘Clear-Eyed Yellow’ and elsewhere in the trials,  the huge flowers of the morning glory ‘Flying Saucers’ means that will be one I will be looking out for, even though I generally prefer the purity of ‘Heavenly Blue’. I think the two would look wonderful mixed together. After a recent visit to Mallorca, I’m also going to have a go at growing the perennial variety Ipomea indica, I’m sure it will do well grown in a pot in my very warm garden and I will cut it back and keep it in the conservatory over winter.

    Morning Glory ‘Flying Saucers’

    Ipomea indica

    Perennial morning glory Ipomea indica


    No visit to Parham is complete without spending time lingering in the glasshouse which is filled with a wonderful array of ornamental plants. I suspect that this glasshouse has been the pride and joy of many of the head gardeners over the years and Tom is certainly keeping it in magnificent style.



    The entrance to the glasshouse


    The view along the glasshouse


    purple heliotrope

    Planting detail with purple salpiglossis , yellow cestrum and purple heliotrope

     Thunbergia alata

    Thunbergia alata cascading from a windowsill inside the glasshouse