Awards and Presentations

Awards:

Presentations:

Historic awards:

Green Flag Award

Green Flag - 2 (340)

A record number of green spaces across the country, all freely accessible to the public, have received a Green Flag Award - the national standard for quality parks and green spaces.

Winners are judged to be welcoming and well maintained, with the support and involvement of the local community.

The award, celebrating its 20th year in 2016, recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. A Green Flag flying overhead is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities.

Highdown Gardens was first awarded a coveted Green Flag in 2004/05 and has successfully retained the award every year since.

The 2014/15 Judge had this to say:

“I must note that this garden is a jewel in the crown, for both Worthing Borough Council and any plants person alike. It gave me great personal pleasure to walk around and take in the wealth of horticultural knowledge and visual spectacle of this multi-featured garden; this view was also echoed by users when asked on the day of inspection. Truly a living green museum of national importance.”

25th July 2016 NEWS:

Highdown Gardens is very happy to announce it has won the Green Flag Award for 2016/17 - our eleventh consecutive year!

One of the 2016/17 judges said:

“The Garden is a hidden gem and is well kept belying the fact that the garden is very much visited by the public. A horticultural oasis, a beautiful garden which is a great credit to the small team looking after this place.”

Councillor Clive Roberts, Executive Member for Environment Worthing Borough Councils, adds:

“We are absolutely delighted to receive not one but two Green Flag Awards in Worthing this year. Highdown Gardens enjoys its 11th consecutive Green Flag award and Field Place its second. These awards recognise the dedicated teams we have in our Parks department, whose energy, skill and passion makes the spaces they nurture, rain and shine, the very deserving national award winners they are.”

Highdown offers 8.52 acres of stunning informal gardens on Downland countryside overlooking the sea, and offers a unique collection of rare plants and trees. Originally created out of a chalk pit by Sir Fredrick Stern at the beginning of the last century, the gardens are so special they have been deemed a unique National Collection, the 'National Collection of Plant introductions of Sir Fredrick Stern'.

The number of Green Flag Award winning parks and green spaces highlight the important role they play in bringing people together, and improving their quality of life.

You can see our entry on the Green Flag Award website.

For information on all the winners please visit the Green Flag Award website.

See also: Sir Fredrick Stern

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South & South East in Bloom - 2016

South & South East in Bloom (340)

In 2016 Highdown Gardens entered the 'Heritage Parks & Gardens' section of South & South East in Bloom (SSEiB) for the third time.

We have entered for 3 years, since 2014, in the previous 2 years we have achieved 'Silver Gilt' but this year we have won a Gold Award.

The other 2016 Gold Award winners were Canterbury Cathedral, The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Hever Castle, so we are in illustrious company!

Judges comments included:

“From one's arrival at the entrance it is clear that here is a little hidden horticultural 'Gem' tucked away on its chalky south facing slope. The garden established by Sir F Stern VMH from 1909 is a wonder ... it is, without a doubt, one of the most important gardens in the region.”

Jo Hooper, Highdown Gardens' Manager and Head Gardener, said:

“All of us at Highdown are extremely please to have won a Gold Award this year. It is only with the hard work and dedication of all the staff and volunteers that we have been able to achieve this high standard and I would like to thank everyone for all their efforts in making Highdown Gardens the beautiful place that it is, congratulations to you all.”

Photos of the award:

South & South East in Bloom 2016 Gold Award being awarded (L) & staff & Friends of Highdown volunteers with award (R)

Photo left: being presented with the Gold Award (from left to right):
- Claire Garcka, Craft Gardener at Highdown Gardens,
- Jean Griffin trustee of SSEiB and gardening expert on BBC radio Kent and Surrey, and
- Jo Hooper Head Gardener at Highdown Gardens

Photo right: Staff and members of the Friends of Highdown volunteer group with the award in the Gardens

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South & South East in Bloom - 2015

In 2015 Highdown Gardens entered the 'Heritage Parks & Gardens' section of South & South East in Bloom for the second time.

We were awarded a 'Silver Gilt' award again - and fell only a few points short of their highest 'Gold' award.

We also won the coveted 'Judges Award'.

Photos of the Awards being presented to Highdown staff by Tom Hart-Dyke and Chris Collins:

South and South East in Bloom awards - 2015 - Silver Gilt Award (left) and Judges Award (right) (744)

Left photo: Silver Gilt Award being presented: Paul Abbott (Highdown Craft Gardener), Chris Collins and Sam Dexter (Highdown Apprentice).

Right photo: Judges Award being presented: Tom Hart-Dyke, Paul Abbott (Highdown Craft Gardener), Sam Dexter (Highdown Apprentice) and Chris Collins.

For further information please visit the:

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South & South East in Bloom - 2014

South & South East in Bloom (340)

Highdown Gardens entered the 'Heritage Parks & Gardens' section of South & South East in Bloom for the first time in 2014 and was awarded a 'Silver Gilt'.

For further information please visit the:

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TripAdvisor Highdown Gardens - Certificate of Excellence - 2016

TripAdvisor - Certificate Of Excellence 2016 logo

One of Worthing's most popular green spaces - Highdown Gardens - has been awarded a Certificate Of Excellence from renowned website TripAdvisor for the second year running, after continually gathering top reviews from visitors.

Nestled amongst the idyllic South Downs, Highdown Gardens is one of West Sussex's most highly regarded gardens. Spread over 8.5 acres of land, the historic gardens are home to a unique National Collection of rare plants and trees. It's a highly recommended place to visit at any time but particularly in spring or early summer, when the succession of bulbs and flowers within the landscaped garden offer a beautiful array of colour and variety.

Councillor Clive Roberts, Executive Member for the Environment at Worthing Borough Council, says:

“Highdown Gardens continues to provide an exceptional sensory experience and this award recognises the consistently high levels of attention and creativity the team deliver, all year round. The Garden offers a delightful experience for all visitors and continues to be reviewed on TripAdvisor as a first class horticultural destination and one of Worthing's most beautiful spots.”

Highdown provides a unique and stunning blend of lush gardens and relaxing water features, set in a tranquil environment.

Reviews about Highdown Gardens

If you would like to see reviews about Highdown Gardens or post your own review about us please use the link below:

TripAdvisor -  Certificate of Excellence 2016 winner - click to read or leave a review

Reviews about Highdown Tea Rooms, Hotel and Restaurant

Please note that Highdown Tea Rooms and Highdown Hotel and Restaurant (Highdown Towers) are NOT a part of Highdown Gardens, or run by us.

However, if you would like to comment on them or read their reviews please use the relevant following links:

But ... if you want to read or leave a review about Highdown Gardens (not the tea rooms, hotel or restaurant) then please click here to use the correct link above

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TripAdvisor Highdown Gardens - Certificate of Excellence - 2015

TripAdvisor - Certificate Of Excellence 2015 logo

Highdown Gardens have been awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2015. This means we have been recognised as a top performing attraction as reviewed by travellers on the World's largest travel site.

TripAdvisor awards a Certificate of Excellence to attractions that consistently earn great reviews from travellers.

Jo Hooper, Highdown Gardens' Manager and Head Gardener, said:

“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a great achievement for the team at Highdown Gardens and we'd like to thank all of our visitors who have taken the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor. There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by our visitors. The Certificate of Excellence is a vote of confidence to our Gardens and our continued commitment to excellence, thank you.”

Marc Charron, President of TripAdvisor for Business, added:

“TripAdvisor is pleased to honour exceptional hospitality businesses that have received consistent praise and recognition by travellers on the site. By putting a spotlight on businesses that are focused on delivering great service to customers, TripAdvisor not only helps drive increasing hospitality standards around the world, it also gives businesses both large and small the ability to shine and stand out from the competition.”

Reviews about Highdown Gardens

If you would like to see reviews about Highdown Gardens or post your own review about us please use the link below:

TripAdvisor -  Certificate of Excellence 2015 winner - click to read or leave a review

Reviews about Highdown Tea Rooms, Hotel and Restaurant

Please note that Highdown Tea Rooms and Highdown Hotel and Restaurant (Highdown Towers) are NOT a part of Highdown Gardens, or run by us.

However, if you would like to comment on them or read their reviews please use the relevant following links:

But ... if you want to read or leave a review about Highdown Gardens (not the tea rooms, hotel or restaurant) then please click here to use the correct link above

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National Gardens Scheme - 2012

National Gardens Scheme Plaque (340)

Highdown Gardens was presented with a Commemorative Plaque to mark the 85th Anniversary of the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) in 2012

Highdown was one of the original gardens that opened in 1927 and is still opening for NGS to this day. Plaques were presented for the 85th anniversary to a total of 120 gardens.

Ours is on display on the wall of the potting shed and can be seen from the herb garden.

See also:

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RHS Bronze 'Flora Medal' - 1957

The 'Flora Medal' (by William Wyon, engraver) was instituted in 1835 by the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) and first struck in 1836 as the Society's 'Large Medal' replacing the original of 1811. It was re-named the Flora Medal in 1864. It was awarded for exhibits of flowers, ornamental plants and gardens. It is about 5.5cm diameter.

Sir Frederick Stern was awarded a Bronze Flora Medal in 1957.

Mary-Anne Hedges, the daughter of Sir Fredrick Stern's last Head Gardener John Bassindale, donated it to Highdown Gardens in 2016.

The photo below shows:

  • on the obverse (front) - a young woman in loose flowing dress standing to front, carrying flowers, and four other similarly clad women levitating behind her in a circle
  • on the reverse (back) - a wreath around the outside edge, surrounding the words 'Royal Horticultural Society' in a circle inside the wreath and then the inscription "To Sir Frederick Stern, OBE, MC, FLS, VMH (Gdnr Mr JC Basindale) for an exhibit of Hemerocalis 16-7-57" in the centre

RHS Bronze Flora Medal - front and back (744)

Additional information about the Flora Medals provided by the RHS Lindley Library:

The Flora Medal is normally awarded for flower and ornamental exhibits at the Society Shows.

  • Around 1836 the RHS chose to expand on its first medal, the 'Gold medal', which was received by Joseph Banks for his work towards the Society.
  • In 1820 the Banksian Medal was instituted exclusively for rewarding exhibitors of objects at the General Meetings.
  • In 1836 the Knightian Medal and the Large Medal were introduced.
  • Throughout the 1830s to 1850s the finances of the RHS fluctuated and the number of Medals and their size was condemned.
  • In 1864 the already reduced Large Medal was renamed the Silver Flora Medal, and the Gold Medal was being referred to interchangeably as Gold Flora until the 1890s, when a new and much smaller medal was struck and confirmed as the Gold Flora.
  • From the 1860s the RHS had the Flora range of gold, silver, silver-gilt, and bronze to award at its shows.
  • Overtime the name 'Flora' has been dropped. They are still the same medals awarded at RHS shows today, including Chelsea.

Extract from Journal of the RHS 1957:

Confirms in its Proceedings for 'Floral Committee A' under 'Awards for Exhibits' that Stern won the Flora Medal award on 16.07.1957. As it does not state it was a gold, silver or silver-gilt, as the other entries do, then we are to assume it was a bronze. The entry in the journal reads 'To Mr Frederick Stern, O.B.E., M.C., F.L.S., V.H.M. (gr. Mr Bassindale), Highdown, Goring-by-Sea, for an exhibit of hemerocallis'.

Information from research by Susan Robins, RHS Lindley Library:

The reference to Mr Bassindale suggests that he was the gardener at Highdown, and possibly the grower of the hemerocallis. Mr Stern would have been the owner of Highdown and therefore considered the rightful recipient of the award. That said, not all entries include the name of the gardener, so perhaps Mr Stern or the committee felt Mr Bassindale should be mentioned.

The abbreviations after Stern refers to the Victoria Medal of Honour (VHM), which he received in 1940/41. The VHM was instituted by the RHS in 1897 to honour the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and in recognition of her role as Patron.

See below for information about the RHS Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH)

See also:

Note: Mary-Anne Hedges, the daughter of the late John Bassidale (Head Gardener), features in our Highdown Memories video

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RHS Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH)

Information about the Victoria Medal of Honour provided by the RHS Lindley Library:

Information from research by Susan Robins, RHS Lindley Library:

The abbreviations after Stern on the RHS Flora Medal (see above) refers to the Victoria Medal of Honour (VHM), which he received in 1940/41. The VHM was instituted by the RHS in 1897 to honour the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and in recognition of her role as Patron.

The Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH) may be awarded to British horticulturists deserving of special honour by the Society and is awarded for life. Only 63 medals may be held at any one time, in recognition of the duration in years of Queen Victoria's reign. (Initially open to 60 recipients only, the number was later raised to 63 to match the total number of years of her reign). Therefore the honour is not awarded every year, but may be made to multiple awardees in other years.

Photograph of the our copy of the RHS Victoria Medal of Honour Certificate:

Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH)

Wording on the certificate above says:

Royal Horticultural Society
Founded 1804, Incorporated by Royal Charter 1809

The Victoria Medal of Honour
Instituted 1897

Whereas it graciously pleased
Her late Majesty Victoria
Queen of Great Britain and Ireland
and of Her Overseas Dominions, Empress of India
to assent to the establishment
by the Royal Horticultural Society of the
Victoria Medal of Honour in Horticulture
in perpetual commemoration of the 60th year of Her glorious reign.
This is to make known that we the President
and Council of the Society have conferred the said medal upon
our right worthy Fellow
Major Frederick Claude Stern O.B.E., M.C., F.L.S.

Given under our Common Seal
this 7th day of January 1941

Signed by the President and Secretary of
the Royal Horticultural Society

RHS Victoria Medal of Honour - front and back:

  • on the obverse (front) - a young woman in loose flowing dress kneeling in the middle of a plant trellis/frame, holding and smelling flowers of a flowering climbing plant that is growing round the trellis/frame
  • on the reverse (back) - around the outside edge of the medal are the words 'Royal Horticultural Society' around a large tree in the centre of the medal, with the words 'Victoria Medal' horizontally across the middle axis of the medal

RHS Victoria Medal of Honour - front and back (744)

Note: We have kindly been granted permission to reproduce the image of the RHS Victoria Medal of Honour (above) by Downies Coins Pty Ltd of Melbourne, Australia. The image ownership and © Copyright remains with Downies Coins Pty Ltd and may not be reproduced without their permission. This is not the actual medal awarded to Sir Frederick Stern, but would be very similar to it.

See also:

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RHS Historic certificates and awards

Over the years Sir Frederick Stern and his team won a number of RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) certificates and awards.

These have subsequently been donated to Highdown Gardens by Mary-Anne Hedges daughter of the late John Bassidale, Stern's last head gardener.

Scans of the certificates and awards can be seen below:

Certificates of Cultural Commendation:

PDF File22nd February 1955 - Certificate of Cultural Commendation for a pan of Cyclamen libanoticum (1,009KB)

PDF File14th October 1958 - Certificate of Cultural Commendation for a well grown pan of Cyclamen cyprium (997KB)

PDF File14th October 1958 - Certificate of Cultural Commendation for a well grown pan of Cyclamen rohlfsianum (1,007KB)

PDF File28th November 1961 - Certificate of Cultural Commendation for a pan of Narcissus cantabricus subsp.cantabricus (991KB)

PDF File8th October 1963 - Certificate of Cultural Commendation for a free flowering exhibit of Tapeinanthes humilis (986KB)

PDF File25th February 1964 - Certificate of Cultural Commendation for a pan of Cyclamen libanoticum (995KB)

Awards of Merit:

PDF File19th March 1935 - Award of Merit for a flowering plant for a cold house - Cyclamen persicum (1,035KB)

PDF File19th February 1963 - Award of Merit for a flowering & foliage plant for an Alpine House - Cyclamen persicum 'Highdown' (1,031KB)


Note:
 Mary-Anne Hedges, the daughter of the late John Bassidale (Head Gardener), features in our Highdown Memories video

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