Homes and Gardens

Gorgeous Garden to Visit

Borde Hill Garden

Agapanthus at Borde Hill Gardens

Borde Hill consists of a stunningly beautiful and botanically-rich landscaped Garden, traditional parkland, magical woods and tranquil lakes, which captivate and delight visitors.  

Listed by English Heritage as being of Grade II* historic importance and set in 200 acres of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the High Weald, it is among the most popular gardens in Sussex for visitors seeking horticultural inspiration, or a peaceful stroll in the countryside.

Borde Hill Garden

Borde Hill was purchased by Colonel Stephenson R Clarke in 1893 with the express intention of creating a magnificent garden from seed collected by the great plant hunters, including EH Wilson and George Forrest. The Colonel quickly established a collection of rare trees and shrubs by sponsoring important plant-hunting expeditions to China, Burma, Tasmania and the Andes.

Borde Hill House, an Elizabethan mansion dating from 1590, provides a superb backdrop to the formal 17 acre Garden that flows into a series of distinctive, ‘garden rooms’ – each with its own individual character and style – and offers wheelchair access throughout. Pre-booked guided tours of the Garden and House are available throughout May and June, enabling visitors to deepen their knowledge of the heritage and plantings at Borde Hill. 

Paradise Walk at Borde Hill

Over the past century, the plantings have evolved with the aim of providing seasonal colour and interest. Early spring-flowering bulbs are followed by magnolias, camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas in May.

Spring is magnificent throughout the Garden and ‘rooms’ of special note at this time include the Old Rhododendron Garden, Azalea Ring and Garden of Allah. The sub-tropical Round Dell planted recently with sub-tropical plants and Long Dell with a Sino-Himalayan theme, have a magical air and these sheltered areas within the mature landscape bring unexpected pleasure to visitors during the opening seasons.

Italian Garden at Borde Hill

New plantings over recent years include the introduction of new varieties of David Austin roses in Jay Robin’s Rose Garden (now with 750 roses) and the vibrant coloured herbaceous borders of the Italian Garden. Paradise Walk was planted 5 years ago with a new design by James Alexander-Sinclair and has become a very popular area in the summer months.  A new ‘Gardiner’s Grove’ full of magnolias and named after RHS Vice President Jim Gardiner was planted in 2018.

2019 sees the 20th anniversary of the Sculpture Exhibition, where the historic garden is transformed into a stunning outdoor gallery with towering kinetic wind art and mythological figures. Including 100 pieces, the diverse display of figurative and abstract works highlight fresh new talent, with some familiar names returning to be part of this special celebration of art.

Borde Hill Garden

While exploring the garden, visitors can enjoy homemade cakes and sandwiches from the Gardiner’s Retreat located close to the Rose Garden, or savour delicious lunches and afternoon teas at Café Elvira or Jeremy’s Restaurant. A delightful gift shop and plant sales are also available.

Borde Hill offers events throughout the season from gardening to music. The Highlights in our events program include the Gin Fest on the 13th July and Outdoor Opera 26th and 27th of July.

Borde Hill is only 20 minutes from Gatwick and 30 minutes from Brighton, and has plenty of access for less able visitors.

Please click on for more details.

Bedding Collection

Sophie Allport
Bedding Collection

Inspired by nature and the quintessential British countryside, homewares brand Sophie Allport launches into bedding with a collection from her best-selling ranges.

Designed with a clean and modern aesthetic in mind, the charming and unique collection personifies effortless and sophisticated style.

Sophie Allport explains, “We are best known for our kitchen homewares so it’s very exciting to see some of our popular designs moving into the bedroom onto duvet covers, throws and cushions.”

The range includes a choice of single, double, king and super king duvet sets plus cushions and throws.

Designs include Sophie’s popular Flamingos, Bees, Hare, Woof and Safari.

Pricing for a Single set (with pillowcases) starts from £25-£45, Double set from £35-65, King £75 and Super King £85.

Cushions  are priced from £30 and Throws from £85.

The new collection is available from, John Lewis, House of Fraser and Next.

For details visit

Crittall Sliding Doors

Open and Shut Case

New InnerVision® steel-framed sliding doors from Crittall add a further dimension to your home

Creating a seamless transition between rooms, by opening or closing space is now possible with sliding doors from Crittall’s range of InnerVision internal screens. These bright, beautifully crafted walls of glazing will complement timeless styles of period property or contemporary homes.

On-trend, open plan living takes on a different dimension by partitioning open interior areas to create contemporary zones with steel-framed single or double sliding doors, without compromising light or space.

Available in a variety of options, InnerVision screens and doors are designed with modern living in mind, giving a sense of space, light and understated beauty, with clean lines and subtle detailing. The sliding doors feature concealed running gear to provide a sleek finish.

Gliding gently

Light-in-weight, and with a soft-close feature and floor tracks, they are so easy to use, gliding effortlessly on opening and closing. These new interior sliding doors offer wider opening areas than more intrusive hinged doors, maximising use of inside room space, particularly where it may be limited.

Elegantly slender, the slim steel framing is unobtrusive – the distinguished-looking installation makes a wonderful talking point. Natural illumination inside is increased, while enhanced acoustic properties ensure privacy and reduced noise levels.

Fully compatible with other InnerVision products, the sliding door option features a secure latch-able configuration. They are available with a wide range of handle styles and brass finishes.

Ideal solution

Unmatched by other materials, these long-lasting slimline sliding doors look like traditional Crittall windows, providing minimalist retro-looks with a contemporary twist – and larger expanses of glass than others in the marketplace.

Cleverly dividing space without impeding light, they are ideal for an extension with dramatic steel-framed glazed screen forming a brighter space for a living room, a light-filled area off the kitchen, or a partition from bathroom to bedroom. 

For more information about Crittall’s range of sliding doors please visit the website at

Or Telephone: 01376 530800

Marvel at the Migrating Birds

Go Birdwatching with Swarwovski Optik

With millions of birds migrating back to the UK after spending the winter in warmer climates and fields and woodland blooming with colour once again, spring is one of the best seasons for enjoying the British countryside. For those who want to see more of glorious nature around the UK this spring, a pair of elegantly-designed binoculars from Swarovski Optik, a world-leading manufacturer of long-range optics, are the ideal choice.

This migration season, rural explorers can choose to spot cuckoos in Dartmoor with Swarovski Optik compact CL Pocket binoculars, scan for house martins in the Yorkshire Dales with the CL Companion binoculars or observe ospreys hunting for fish in Scotland with Swarovski Optik’s EL 8×32 binoculars.

Watch the Cuckoos in Dartmoor with Swarovski Optik’s CL Pocket Binoculars, prices from £580

Cuckoos return to the UK countryside in the Spring and although the species has recently seen a decline in numbers due to loss of natural habitat and food, cuckoos can still be spotted in locations such as Dartmoor National Park, following their return from jungles in the Congo.

For spotting cuckoos on the go, Swarovski Optik’s CL Pocket binoculars are the ideal choice thanks to their robust aluminium housing and conveniently designed foldable bridge, which allows the optics to fit into even the smallest of bags and pockets. Although compact in size, the ergonomic binoculars don’t compromise on quality and promise unrestricted viewing comfort.

The CL Pocket binoculars offer unique optical excellence of the highest order in the compact range and are available in either 8x or 10x magnification, which provide impressive field of views of 119m/1,000m and 98m/1,000m, respectively.

Martins at Malham Cove with Swarovski Optik’s CL Companion Binoculars, prices from £930

The glossy blue-black house martin is a relatively small bird that can usually be spotted building nests from mud below the eaves of buildings or even on the side of cliffs, such as those at Malham Cove in North Yorkshire.

For those who want to spot the house martin’s beautiful forked tail and white underbelly while exploring the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the CL Companion binoculars are perfect for carrying on long walks, thanks to their light weight of 490g and compact size.

The elegantly-designed binoculars fit perfectly in the hand and are available in either 8x or 10x magnification, ensuring viewing is smooth and jitter-free. The CL Companion binoculars also come with a bespoke accessory package, which consists of a field bag plus a carrying strap and is available in three designs: Northern Lights, Urban Jungle and Wild Nature.

Ospreys in the Highlands with Swarovski Optik’s EL 8×32 Binoculars, From £1,690

Occasionally mistaken for a large gull, the osprey is an impressive fish-eating bird of prey that has a white head with a distinctive brown eyestripe. The osprey is a protected species in the UK due to its decline in numbers over recent years following illegal killing and low breeding numbers but can still be spotted in the Scottish Highlands, nesting at lochs and hunting for fish.

For those who are willing to wait quietly for an osprey sighting, Swarovski Optik’s EL 8×32 binoculars are the ideal choice when size and weight are important factors.

With a unique wrap-around grip, the EL 8×32 binoculars fit comfortably in a travellers hands and with an 8x magnification, they offer the largest possible 141-metre field-of-view, enabling wildlife lovers a steady view – even if they’re lucky enough to spot an osprey diving into the water for food. The binoculars are available in green or sand-brown and offer users crystal-clear, colour-true images with razor-sharp contours.

The world belongs to those who can see beauty. Experience the moment! See the unseen.

For details visit

Make your Home a Sanctuary

Balance Your Home with ‘Lagom’

With home improvement season upon us, Contura shares their tips on how to ‘lagom’ your interiors make your home a sanctuary.

‘Lagom’ is a Swedish term for ‘just the right amount,’ and denotes a mindful approach to life, focusing on moderation, balance, sustainability and frugality. This ‘not too much nor too little’ lifestyle can be harnessed in every aspect of our lives, from finding a good work-life balance or promoting mental wellbeing, to managing finances and embracing sustainable living.

The principles of lagom can also be adopted into interior design, with an increasing number of us Brits already preferring simpler, pared-back styles in our homes, embracing minimalist design, opting for eco-friendly materials, and choosing to declutter on a regular basis.

Catharina Bjorkman, lifestyle expert at Swedish wood-burning stove brand, Contura, says: “In Sweden lagom plays into all areas of our lives, but it is particularly present in the home. Having a busy working schedule and packed social life can make us feel overwhelmed, which is where a calming home environment can play an important role in boosting wellbeing.

“We Swedes pride ourselves on creating a home sanctuary, making it a place where we can relax and unwind, as well as enjoy spending quality time with family and friends,” says Catharina. “Keeping the principles of lagom front of mind, we have devised a guide with simple tips to update your home this spring.”

Read on for advice on how to add a little lagom to your interiors.

Simplicity is key

Forget bright or bold colour schemes, when it comes to lagom, choose neutral tones that are simple yet elegant. You don’t need to stick with white as warm red-based shades, soft pinks and dusky greys all provide a soothing, neutral background.

Clutter free

Don’t be tempted to let items pile up on shelves, tables or surfaces. Embrace lagom and remove clutter on a regular basis. Go through your clothes and shoes and donate any items that are no longer of use. Curate your personal items – books, magazines, photo frames, etc. – and only keep your favourites. Loose items that you don’t use every day can be tidied away in stylish storage boxes to keep rooms organised. 

Keep it green

A variety of green plants and foliage can give a room an instant uplift whilst also ensuring better indoor air quality. Choose easy-to-care for varieties, such as cactus, spider plants, aloe vera or cheese plants. If you have a dark room or areas without much light, fake plants can also make great decor additions.

Upcycle or recycle

Before splashing out on new furniture or homewares, check online sites to see if you can bag a bargain. Try your hand at a little DIY to spruce up larger items such as tables, chairs or sofas, as varnishing, painting or reupholstering gives an instant facelift. It often works out much cheaper to upcycle or repurpose rather than purchase brand-new items, plus, pre-loved furniture is more unique and personal.

Key design touches

Keeping balance in mind, Swedish interiors are typically pared-back but do include one or two feature design pieces. Add a large floor lamp, interesting art piece or design-led chair to create key focal points in a room, keeping the rest of the interiors very minimal by comparison.

Mellow lighting

Soft lighting creates a relaxing environment, so ditch overhead spotlights for soothing lamp light or strings of fairy or festoon lights whenever possible. You’ll also save money on energy bills by switching off lights and keeping usage to a minimum.

Up the cosy factor

Fluffy blankets, cushions and candles all help to create a cosy interior; perfect for when the weather is bad and you want to spend time indoors. For added cosiness, add woven rugs to wooden floors, frame and hang your favourite photos and use fragrant diffusers to spread a delicious scent throughout your home.

Up the nature stakes

Laid-back lagom also encourages us to embrace the natural world in all its glory. Choose natural materials, such as untreated wood, soft cotton and items that have been hand crafted, such as woven baskets, wicker chairs and embroidered cushions. Forget glitzy or decadent design and choose simple pieces that add true style and originality to a space.

For more information on Contura, please visit

Boutique Plant Pots

Plantini – a Palm
Size Planthouse

Plantini is a beautiful mini indoor planthouse kit. The ornate metal structure stands just 9.5cm tall and includes everything you need to grow your own tabletop hot house.

The kit contains a flat-packed etched planthouse, step by step instructions, a planting pot, compost disc and viola seeds. Create a luxurious and opulent home for your seedlings!

Contents include flat pack metal planthouse kit, planting pot, compressed compost, viola seeds and instructions. Materials include paper, FSC cardboard, stainless steel, biodegradable bamboo and rice hull dish. 

For details visit

National Garden Scheme

Defra Minister kicks
off National Garden Scheme for 2019

Defra Minister, Lord Gardiner has launched the National Garden Scheme for 2019, with more than 3,500 private gardens opening their gates to visitors every week to the end of October.

Now in its 92nd year, the National Garden Scheme opens thousands of beautiful privately-owned gardens for charity, ranging from impressive country houses to inner-city green spaces, community allotments, hospices and school gardens. While a selection of the gardens have been designed professionally, the majority showcase the amazing skills and talents of ordinary people in their own back garden.

With people able to discover gardens not otherwise open to the public, the National Garden Scheme has also announced total annual donations of £3 million to nursing and health beneficiaries, bringing the total donated since the charity was founded in 1927 to a huge £58 million.

Speaking at the launch at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Lord Gardiner celebrated the achievements of the National Garden Scheme and the physical and mental health benefits available from spending times outdoors.

It comes as the government champions its Year of Green Action, a year-long drive to connect more people with the natural world.

Defra Minister Lord Gardiner said, “The natural world plays a vital role in improving our mental and physical wellbeing. I am delighted to launch formally the National Garden Scheme for 2019, opening up access to some of the country’s finest gardens.

“During this Year of Green Action, we want more people than ever before to have the opportunity to get outside and explore the many gardens on offer, discovering the beauty of nature and the health benefits this brings.”

The mental health charity Mind was announced as the National Garden Scheme’s new guest charity and Mind’s Chief Executive, Paul Farmer, confirmed the close link between gardens and mental health.

“Many people tell us that time in a garden can make all the difference when they are struggling… The connection with nature, the sense of purpose, as well as physical endeavour can all contribute to positive mental health.”

Congratulating the National Garden Scheme on announcing annual donations of £3 million, Lord Gardiner emphasised how the charity is leading the way in championing the link between gardens and health – powerfully illustrated by its donations to the charity Horatio’s Garden which builds gardens for hospital spinal units.

Originally set up to support district nurses, the National Garden Scheme donated £8,000 in its first year and is now the most significant charitable funder of nursing in the UK. This year, the charity has continued to make an annual donation of £500,000 to Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie and Hospice UK, as well as £250,000 to its founder, the Queen’s Nursing Institute.

Carers Trust, Parkinson’s UK and Perennial also received funding for their vital work in health and social care.

Since the 2016 launch of the ground-breaking report Gardens and Health which the National Garden Scheme commissioned from the King’s Fund, it has given annual donations to charities for projects which promote gardens and health. As well as two new donations to Treloar’s and KIDS, a special announcement was made of funding for all future gardens being made by Horatio’s Garden.

The National Garden Scheme also spent £190,000 granting bursaries to support gardeners at the start of their career and in partnership with the RHS, spent £16,200 to fund community gardening projects in memory of the garden writer Elspeth Thompson, who died in 2010.

Quote from George Plumptre, Chief Executive of the National Garden Scheme said, “Having the Under Secretary of State join us today when there are many pressing matters to attend to, was an honour. The way in which he emphasised the powerful link between gardens and the wider landscape and the huge benefits that both can offer to everyone’s health and wellbeing, articulated one of our key messages, for which we were very grateful.”

In 2019, 3,500 exceptional private gardens will open to the public in England and Wales, through the National Garden Scheme, raising money for nursing and health charities through admissions, teas and cake.

To find your perfect garden, visit, download the National Garden Scheme app.

Or purchase the National Garden Scheme’s Garden Visitor’s Handbook 2019, which is available via and at all good book retailers.

Spruce up Your Garden

 Fontus Cordless Pressure Cleaner

With two bank holiday weekends coming up this May, there are plenty of opportunities to spruce up your home and garden, and the Fontus (RRP £269.99), the first cordless pressure cleaner from Bosch Home and Garden, is the ideal product to help you conquer your task list.

From cleaning rubbish bins and muddy boots, to washing your dog and bicycles, the Fontus can do it all.

For ultimate flexibility, the Fontus features four spray patterns and three pressure settings, providing you with a total of 12 cleaning variants. It also comes with a SmartBrush, perfect for cleaning windows and bikes with ease. It attaches directly to the gun, allowing full use of the different pressure modes and spray patterns.

You can even take your cleaning further afield with the Fontus thanks to its powerful 18-volt battery and the product’s portability, enabling its use in any location for up to 60 minutes. Its water tank can contain up to 15 litres and can be filled with rainwater or river water due to its removable filter. It also comes with an extra handle at the base of the unit, making the product easy to transport and load into a car.

To help provide you with some cleaning-inspiration, Bosch Home and Garden has created a list of tasks that you’ll get done in no time with the Fontus:

The pencil jet is particularly helpful to remove vegetation such as moss and algae, or stubborn dirt. Using this pencil jet together with the turbo pressure mode for intensive cleaning is an easy way to clean extremely dirty rubbish bins

Use the 15-degree fan jet and the medium pressure level to efficiently clean bicycles, pushchairs, muddy shoes and garden tools.

The Fontus‘ 50-degree fan jet is the ideal choice for cleaning larger surfaces such as garden furniture and motorbikes.

The lowest pressure setting can be used to spray flowerbeds without damaging the plants themselves, or maybe you need to wash your dog after their daily walk?

The product’s SmartBrush, which simply attaches to the spray gun, can be used with all spray patterns, and makes cleaning windows even easier than before.

Say goodbye to those messy buckets and make light-work of your cleaning over the May bank holiday weekends with Bosch’s Fontus.

For details visit

Lighting and Wellbeing

Lighting Boosts
Mood and Wellbeing

New research has revealed how lighting can have direct impact on mood and wellbeing at home and in the workplace. A survey of 1,000 UK adults carried out by lighting supplier LED Hut, as part of the Brighter Britain report, found that 1 in 3 feel lighting – both natural and artificial – plays a crucial role in how they feel, encouraging feelings of comfort, security, and happiness.

More than 1 in 3 (31%) believe lighting is important when creating a relaxed and calm atmosphere before going to bed in the evening, which assists with their sleep.

38% feel lighting in the bedroom during the morning can also allow them to feel alert and energise, ready for the day ahead.

How light impacts mood and wellbeing doesn’t end at home, an overwhelming 77% feel lighting in the workplace can impact their productivity.

When quizzed on the impact light has in the workplace, 1 in 3 (33%) of those surveyed said they felt access to natural light was important, while a further 1 in 3 (32%) said they would be happy to work under artificial lighting if it is designed to aid productivity.

Paul Garner, ecommerce & marketing director at LED Hut says, “Considering how important natural light is to generating vitamin D, and even assisting the circadian rhythms which govern our natural sleeping patterns, the potential lighting has to improve our wellbeing in a number of ways is clear.

“While it might be obvious that natural light helps to boost our mood, not everyone knows that artificial light also plays an important role when natural light isn’t an option. There are smart lighting solutions available to help achieve an appropriate blend of natural and artificial light which are adaptable for both the home and in the workplace.”

LED Hut is one of the UK’s largest online lighting stores selling a range of outdoor lighting from solar and wall lights to LED decking and flood lights.

For more information about LED Hut visit

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