A fond farewell to the Burwash garden


AFTER 10 YEARS as assistant head gardener at the National Trust’s Sheffield Park and Garden and a further 20 years as head gardener at Bateman’s, Burwash Derek Bobin is about to retire.

It will be a bitter sweet moment when Derek finally leaves Bateman’s. Musing on its tranquil beauty he said: “It has a bit of everything – veg, fruit, cut flowers, ornamental areas with herbaceous borders and a wild garden. Not a fussy or overly showy garden – just simple, restful lines, gentle planting schemes and a deep sense of peace.”

But recalling some of the more unusual times he adds: “Oh it’s not been peaceful all of the time, especially when filming has taken place with directors wanting cameras located in some strange places in the garden.”

One film shoot in particular did give Derek the opportunity to dress up as a turn of the century gardener and pose in a background shot while Daniel Radcliffe, Kim Cattrall and David Haigh were filming My Boy Jack.

In 1995 Derek and his wife Sue were invited to a Buckingham Palace tea party, attended by the Queen, to celebrate the centenary of the National Trust and later went to Highgrove where he was delighted to meet Prince Charles. But he was even more thrilled to discover two of his heroes on attendance, Geoff Hamilton and Roy Lancaster.

Derek’s garden at his new home will be keeping him busy for a while, but he and Sue are particularly looking forward to spending more time with their first grandchild, Matilda.

Bateman’s was built in 1634 and was later owned and loved by Rudyard Kipling, who made every effort to find furniture in keeping with the period of the house. Oriental rugs and artefacts reflect the author’s associations with the East. Bateman’s also offers a 10 acre garden including orchard, fragrant herb garden, ornamental pond and wildflower meadow.