Sculpture is good for the soul. It’s calming, restorative and inevitably provides food for thought and reflection. Which makes the Form in Nature sculpture exhibition at Borde Hill (West Sussex) a must-visit this summer.
Borde Hill Garden is always worth a visit. Just outside Haywards Heath, the garden is Grade II listed by English Heritage and includes 200 acres of parkland and views of the Ouse Valley Viaduct. The house at Borde Hill dates back to the late 16th century and has been owned by the same family since 1893.
The Garden was created during the early 1900s, although it’s fair to say, this has been an evolutionary process with new designs and replanting ongoing. The Infinity Box for example was added in 2017.
Within the Garden, there is amazing diversity, brought together by the great plant collectors of the early 20th century from as far afield as the Himalayas, China, Burma, Tasmania, and the Andes.
Highlights have to be the Italian Garden with its fantastic views, tranquillity, Italian pots flowing with flowers, and its cool and shady upper terrace. Then there’s Paradise Walk and the Old Potting Sheds, the Garden of Allah and the Rose Garden, all suitably sublime.
Form in Nature
This year sees the 22nd sculpture exhibition at Borde Hill and includes some 75 “abstract and figurative sculptures” which are to be found immersed in the grounds and Garden.
The concept behind the exhibition is to “explore the harmonious and sometimes surprising relationship created when art is displayed against a backdrop of an ever-changing natural environment”. There are also 25 more pieces in the Victorian Glasshouse and the Green Tree Gallery.
Every piece is clearly labelled and there is a map available when you arrive (with a price list for each piece too). It’s quite fun to walk around the first time, just discovering the different pieces and then perhaps going round a second or even a third time armed with your map and more time to reflect.
Arrive at 10am as the gates open, and you’ll have the first half an hour to an hour pretty much to yourself. Some of the sculptures you’ll love, some you won’t and some you’ll question the position and of course, all of that is just fine.
Sculpture is always a very personal experience, and some might say, best enjoyed alone. But in terms of spending quality time, in a stunning setting, with a chance to absorb and enjoy something different, something challenging at times and fun at others, and something truly absorbing, this is a wonderful opportunity.
Form in Nature runs from 7th May to 30th September and tickets are available online at: Home – Borde Hill Garden
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