Internationally renowned sculptor Philip Jackson and his wife Jean are once again opening their stunning gardens at their Cocking home to raise funds for the Murray Downland Trust.
The gardens at Casters Brook will be open on Saturday, May 12, from 11am to 3.30pm.
Besides a wide variety of garden plants, there will also be fresh produce, preserves, honey and cakes for sale during the day. Local beekeepers will be demonstrating and there will be musical entertainment.
There will be refreshments and a gardening help desk during the day to answer gardeners’ queries.
As usual the guided sculpture trail will offer visitors the chance to see some of the sculptor’s work in the garden and hear about it from the sculptor himself.
Co-organiser of the event, Naomi Barnett told the Observer: “The Murray Downland Trust looks after several local nature reserves on the South Downs – the nearest one is at Heyshott.
“The trust has had considerable success in creating and maintaining open downland in which flowers, butterflies and birds can flourish.
“A notable achievement has been the expansion of the rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly.
“All this costs money and although most of the work is done by volunteers, thus keeping operational costs as low as possible, there are still expenses running into thousands of pounds. The animals for grazing have to be paid for and fencing to keep them in enclosed spaces is also a major cost. Without these the cleared spaces would soon degenerate into scrubland.”
It will be the eighth time the sculptor and his wife have opened their gardens for the trust, raising thousands of pounds.
They have spent much time and effort making the gardens an integral part of the landscape under the Downs while at the same time developing the planting and architectural structure.
Among the spectacular features is the development of The Glebe, the part of the garden which wraps around the churchyard at Cocking. The land had been prone to flooding since the 1700s but the Jacksons put in land drains, made a lawn and added a Japanese island by the lake.