TV celebrity launches trail of delight for garden-lovers

Green fingers ... some of the garden owners on the trail
Green fingers ... some of the garden owners on the trail

The seventh annual Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail will be launched tomorrow (Saturday, July 28) by TV gardener Jim Buttress of BBC 2’s Big Allotment Challenge.

The ceremony will take place at 11am at 4 Marine Parade, Seaford, home of renowned local gardener Geoff Stonebanks, who single-handedly organises the charity trail.

Also in attendance will be local MP Maria Caulfield, the Mayor of Seaford, Cllr Linda Wallraven, and the Director of Volunteering from Macmillan, Joelle Leader.

The 2018 event will see 25 private gardens opening along the coast from East Dean to Brighton tomorrow and on Sunday (July 29) raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and the Macmillan Horizon Centre in Brighton. Last year the trail raised some £9,000.

Three ​gardens will be opening their gates on Sunday only, four on Saturday only and 18​​ ​opening both dates.

Seven​​ ​of the gardens are opening for the trail for the very first time in 2018. Many of the gardens will be serving home-made teas and cakes and some selling garden art.

Make sure you check the website before you plan your day. Full details of all the gardens, location maps and directions can be found at www.macmillangardentrail.co.uk or by calling Geoff on 01323 899296.

Tickets can be purchased in the first garden visited and cost £2 per garden or buy a day saver ticket for £6 on each day which gives access to all gardens. Dogs on leads are allowed in many gardens too, look out for the doggy head on the website.

​A 12-page brochure can also be collected in the first garden visited.​

At 70 Dale View in Hangleton meet Christopher Butland-Steed who was a familiar face on the popular Channel 4 reality show Gogglebox. He and his husband Tony have been doing an almost complete re-landscape of their garden over the last couple of years. They will be serving tea and cakes and selling home-grown plants too.

Moving further east, there is 12 Ainsworth Avenue in Ovingdean. Jane Curtis’s small coastal garden was begun in 2014 and is still developing. Pergola, arches and arbor are strategically positioned to provide privacy and a choice of places to sit with different aspects, even a glimpse of the sea. Mixed planting, mostly new but several mature trees, including a large walnut that creates a focal point.

In Saltdean you can even explore the jungle! Sue and Ray Warner will be opening their garden again in 2018. They have landscaped their fabulous garden to take on the effect of a jungle. Visitors can follow the winding path through the jungle, and take tea in the clearing or check out the tree root throne.

In Newhaven, Gill Weaver will be opening her amazing coastal garden at 5 Old Coastguard Cottages, off Geneva Road. This is a very steep terraced gravel garden combining strong landscaping with much lush eclectic planting and some unusual found objects, marine and otherwise. It is truly a vibrant and intriguing place to visit.

Another garden in Seaford is Steve and Christina’s, Lavender Cottage at 69 Steyne Road. This has a flint walled front garden with cottage, coastal and kitchen gardens and plenty of places to enjoy a cream tea. The back garden has terraced bank planted up with trees, shrubs and lavenders. Climb the steps up to the balcony and enjoy the iconic view of Seaford Head. Don’t miss The Seaford Sunshine Strummers Ukulele Band playing here during their Sunday opening!

These are just five ​​ ​of the 2​5​ glorious gardens on offer. You can visit all of them if you have the stamina, or just pick those nearest to you. There are 10 gardens in the city of Brighton, four in Peacehaven, one in Newhaven, one in Swanborough, eight in Seaford and one in East Dean.