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Driftwood Open Garden


84 openings, 10438 visitors and £47,300 raised for various charities since 2009.

Back in 2004 when we bought the house, the garden was an exposed sloping plot, frequently battered by salt laden winds that sometimes exceeded 50mph! 

Constance Craig Smith wrote in the Daily Mail Weekend magazine in 2014, “if you are looking for inspiration for your own plot, visit Driftwood near Seaford in Sussex, it’s a coastal garden split into numerous ‘rooms’ with exuberant planting that survives the constant sea spray! Marine elements like netting, driftwood and an old rowing boat have been cleverly incorporated in to the overall scheme!”

In May 2014, Sussex Life magazine listed the garden as one of the top 25 to see in Sussex and the editor wrote, “in Sussex we are blessed with many great gardens including Great Dixter, Nymans and Wakehurst Place but there are other, more unusual treasures to explore like Geoff Stonebanks’s Driftwood in Seaford!”

The editor of Garden Answers magazine said with the garden feature in May 2014, “Little Artisan gardens are my personal favourites at Chelsea. They’re so small and perfectly formed that they can give us all hope that we too can create a fabulous garden, whatever it’s size. To be convinced, take a look at Geoff Stonebanks’ seaside plot: it’s not large but it’s packed with plants and personality.”

So, come visit this exuberant yet immaculate seaside garden. It has an eclectic palette, creating a layered tapestry of coloured plantings, beautifully integrating wooden and rusted metal features with the landscape. The heavy, dense plantings (over 500 plants) with no lawn and no exposed soil create an illusion of a much bigger garden.

It remains a very personal garden with plants and objects once owned by family and friends. Great teas, home made cakes and savoury items to enjoy in the garden too, all served on vintage china with teapots on trays. We look forward to seeing you this summer. Plant supports and garden decorations for sale.

Since 2012, there has been a monthly article in Garden News magazine about the garden, written by owner. 

Featured on national ITV and extensively in local and national press.

Featured live on ITV’s Good Morning Britain in July 2104. Featured in Garden Answers May 2014, Etc magazine April 2014, 100 Idees Jardin a national French gardening magazine in February 2014 and incorporated in an article in the Sunday Times in June 2014.

In 2013, featured garden in Mail On Sunday, Sussex Life and featured in 360° Panorama in 'Mail Plus', Weekend Magazine’s on line version.

Holder of coveted Daily Mail National Garden competition blue plaque and winner of the Best Small Garden in the UK for Garden News magazine, both 2012.

I've seen hundreds of gardens over the 21 years of judging the Daily Mail Competition and believe me, you are up there with the best of them.

Hamish Webb, one of the Daily Mail judges (In 2012)

“ Whatever you do, if you get to East Sussex, visit Driftwood. It’s the most staggering and inspirational garden to show what can be achieved without possessing rolling acres but having an eye, imagination, a love of plants and great energy and enthusiasm. This is a real ‘must see’ garden!”

A visitor, Sacha Hubbard from Hill House Nurseries in Devon, in June 2014 wrote this after seeing the garden

Our expert, Leigh Clapp, has compiled her must-visit gardens for 2014. In Sussex we are blessed with many great gardens including Great Dixter and Nymans but there are other, more unusual treasures to explore such as Geoff Stonebanks's Driftwood in Seaford!"

Jenny Mark Bell, Editor, Sussex Life Magazine May 2014