On Tuesday 23rd May, 14 of our Garden of Edenbridge Flora & Fauna group visited Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens, renowned for its collection of Rhododendrons. It is situated just below Lower Beeding, Sussex. St. Leonards Forest was granted to Sir Edward Greaves in 1685 by King Charles II. After passing through several families, including the building of St Leonardslee Lodge by the Beauclerk family, in 1852, it was acquired by Sir Edmund Loder. From this we get the ‘Loderi clones of Rhododendrons. The ‘Loderi Sir Edmund’ has a lovely scent and is pinky/white. After his death in 1920 Sir Giles Loder took over and further improved the gardens, keeping the rare wild wallabies collected by Sir Edmund. After Sir Giles’s retirement it was sold in 2010 when it fell into neglect. By 2017 it was bought by the current owner, restored and re-opened in 2019.
We were blessed with sunshine and warm weather when we started our walk after a much needed coffee/tea, and in some cases a snack in the Clocktower cafe. Then we then wended our way to the tranquil setting of the Loderi garden which did not disappoint. Penny and Colin are fonts of information about these beautiful specimens we encountered and they certainly enhanced our tour. It was in perfect bloom and a wonderful space to unwind. By the time we had reached the lakes, which were spectacular, it was time for lunch so we headed back to the Clocktower. Before some left for home we all went to find the rare wallabies and their Joey’s which are so adorable jumping in and out of their mother’s pouches. Those who stayed for the afternoon walked round the lakes admiring and discussing the many sculptures.
Stephanie and Penny