BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time visits Southover Grange Gardens in Lewes

Southover Grange Gardens in Lewes
Southover Grange Gardens in Lewes

BBC Radio 4 programme Gardener’s Question Time visited Southover Grange Gardens in Lewes to record the introduction of its latest episode.

Gardener’s Question Time producer Howard Shannon said that he and the show’s presenter Eric Robson were ‘blown away’ by the gardens, which are owned and maintained by Lewes District Council for public use.

The long-running radio show was recorded at Lewes Little Theatre and will be broadcast on Radio 4 at 3pm today (Friday May 8) and repeated at 2pm on Sunday (May 10).

Howard Shannon said: “We were blown away by the gardens. They are one of the nicest municipal gardens we have ever visited. They are beautifully maintained and clearly very popular with locals. We were all saying how lovely the planting was. Eric pays real tribute to the gardens at the beginning of the programme.”

Southover Grange Gardens date from the 16th century. They are open from 8.30am until dusk or 9pm (whichever is the earlier) all year round except Christmas Day.

The beautiful gardens are divided into two almost equal parts by the Winterbourne stream.

Outside the Ainsworth Room on the charming stone-flagged terrace is sculpture by John Skelton and nearby is a fine Magnolia Grandiflora and an equally fine Mulberry tree.

Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) planted additional trees when she visited Lewes on 18 May 1951. Her visit to the Grange gardens is commemorated by an inscribed stone at the base of the Tulip Tree on the cross path at the end of the main lawn.