There seems to be a series developing here. Garden Centres I have known. Some, like Petersham Nurseries are pure fantasy, a theatrical experience where plants dress the stage, along with much else besides.
Wych Cross Garden Centre, just south of East Grinstead, has magic too but for different reasons – real passion and a collection of almost 500 varieties of roses on sale – of almost every description, (once they held 1600 different roses!) – concentrating their efforts on the hybrid tea and floribunda, modern shrubs, old roses, patio & ground cover, climbers and ramblers, great availability on standards too – though they have a limited selection of David Austin roses.
A sloping site, with paths winding down along terraces with the usual cast of trees, shrubs and perennials, until on the lowest slope, the Main Event comes into view. Roses, all the way, colour coordinated and in serried rows with an adjacent field for the rest of their stock, leading the eye into the countryside beyond.
A red London Bus adds to the mix (I forgot, when I visited last summer, to ask why).
Even the shade plant area, with an enormous carousel cover, takes in roses, with Alexander Girault clambering over the open joists.
Roses rule the roost with refreshments, served in the Hybrid Tea Rooms, with a verandah overlooking the roses and Sussex countryside.
I visited last year after taking in Nymans (NT), which is about half an hour distant, and will visit High Beeches next time I’m down that way. If you are travelling down to the coast, a detour in High Season is well worth the effort.
A brilliant selection of roses, more Hybrid Teas and Floribundas particularly than I had ever seen in one nursery – or garden for that matter – and in excellent health. I took a lot of photographs of course but for novelty (and in the case of Eyes for You, great beauty) these stood out.
I would heartily recommend a visit to this excellent rose nursery. Friendly, knowledgeable and with a comprehensive catalogue of roses. Please note they are not open on Sunday (a rarity, they are a Christian firm and rest on Sunday).
For me, I can’t wait to go back and visit. Next week however, it is the turn of the Harkness rose nursery in Hertfordshire. Camera batteries charging!