Click date to see summer films of the garden each year.

2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

2020
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In August 2020, the Great British Gardens website asked me to write a piece about the garden in lockdown. The article was posted on their site with a post on their facebook page which attracted over 14,000 likes, 117 wonderful comments and was shared over 1000 times, pretty amazing stuff. You can read the piece by clicking image on the right.
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In July 2020 we had to cancel the Macmillan Coastal garden Trail. As a result I chatted to our patron, Christine Walkden, via zoom, about the importance of fundraising, view interview on left. As a result of our online fundraising and donations through the virtual tours we created we raised £4106 for the charity in 2020.
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In May 2020 a film crew from ITV Meridian came and shot a 5 minute film (left) about the garden which was broadcast later in the month. I was given the footage and created the aerial shots film of the garden (right) from the footage.
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In April 2020 a film crew from BBC SE Today came and shot an interview with me which was the key part of a short film shown on the local evening news about virtual garden tours being promoted by the National Garden Scheme, click image to view.
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In March, it was lovely to receive a 10 year award, certificate and garden trowel acknowledging the years we have opened for the National Garden Scheme. In addition I was presented with an award from the Chairman of the scheme in recognition of "my exceptional contribution as a volunteer".

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It was lovely to see an image of my "writers'corner" in the 2020 edition of the National Garden Scheme's Garden Visitor's Handbook when it came out in February!

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In January I was extremely honoured to be asked to write a monthly gardening page in a new free paper in Eastbourne, called Bournefree. The first edition came out in February!

Little did I know Covid 19 would hit and the next issue would not be until September, all can be read here.

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2019

Our final event in the garden was the grand draw for Macmillan Cancer Support and the awarding of £14000 raised in 2019 in August. The grand total for all years to date was a staggering £80K. Megan Watson was on hand to collect the money for the charity.

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On the 12th of August we were honoured by a group visit from America. The President of the Perennial Plant Association had hand-picked Driftwood, the smallest garden the group had ever visited, to be among other larger gardens in Sussex. The weather was not brilliant and I provided my talk on the coach!

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In late July, Christine Walkden, TV gardener came and spent the day in the garden to officially open the Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail.

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On 30th June, Sanda Hastings (follower of Driftwood on an app called Gardentags) and her husband Jim, from Sydney, Australia, were visiting relatives in the north of UK. Sandra was inspired from photos posted on the app, and insisted they stop off in Sussex to visit the garden, which they did and had a wonderful time, writing in the visitor's book "fabulous garden in every respect, great design, plantings and feeling - love it! Your garden is stunning and deserves all of the praise it gets! We loved visiting today and have really been inspired by your garden!"

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On 30th May we had the first coach group of the year! A small group of 10 from San Francisco were doing Sussex gardens and Glyndebourne and came to visit Driftwood too. Thankfully it stayed fine while they visited and had lunch!

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2018
2018 was such a successful year that a short film was made to recount the successes, month by month

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I was very pleased to receive the certificate from BBC Community Heroes Awards, acknowledging my nomination in both the volunteers and fundraising catergories.

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To thank the many volunteers who had helped in the garden this summer, we had a tea party in Church Lane tea rooms on 19th October and presented each with a gift of a Driftwood tea towel.

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The final garden opening of the year took place on 2nd September on the last day of the Artwave Open House Festival, when Tom Lay from Macmillan Cancer Support came and drew the raffle and accepted the monies raised in 2018 for the charity.

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On 25th August, holacaust survivor, Dorit Oliver-Wolff, came to sign copies of her book in the garden as part of the Artwave Festival. BBC SE Today presenter, Natalie Graham, visited too!

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On 5th August, a student from the University of Brighton media department, Hao Feng, came to shoot a final year project at Driftwood, making a short film entitled "My Garden", which you can see here here.

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On the 14th August, BBC SE Today came and made a short film about the garden which was broadcast that evening.

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The garden and I were featured on page 3 of the Daily Mail on 13th August 2018 with a great picture by Brighton Pictures.

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On 28th July, Jim Buttress, well-known horticulturalist and TV Gardener came and opened the Macmillan Garden Trail.

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On 10th July while we were open for the National Garden Scheme, we took the £1 that took our fundraising over £100,000. Quite memorable!

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On the 10th June TV celebrity and garden designer, Juliet Sargeant, came along to open the Mayor's trail.

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On 22nd May I was invited to the Seaford Forum and was truly amazed to be awarded with the Don Mabey trophy for "Exceptional services to the Town of Seaford"

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An American gardening Magazine, Flea Market Garden Style featured the garden in its April 2018 issue. There were 6 pages, including an interview with me. Several other pictures were included throughout the magazine too! You can read the whole piece here.

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On the evening of 31st January I was invited to a Macmillan Cancer Support reception at Buckingham Palace. I was one of 180 very lucky volunteers for the charity to go along and meet HRH, The Prince of Wales, who hosted the evening. You can read more of the evening and see more pictures here.

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On 21st January, I and a group of 7 garden volunteers were invited to the Argus Community Stars Awards at the Dome in Brighton. It as a great affair with presentations in the main auditorium. There were over 500 people attending and the event was compered by Fred Dinenage. Unfortunately I did not win but it was amazing to be part of the ceremony and witness all the amazing groups and individuals collecting their certificates.

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I was amazed to receive a phone call from Hannah Murray, the presenter of Daybreak, the breakfast show on Talk Radio Europe on the 2nd January. She had seen all the publicity on the Christmas Trees in the Daily Mail, she had then found all the information on the garden and wanted to chat to me live on the show on Wednesday 3rd January! You can hear the 12 minute interview by clicking the logo to the left! Some great publicity for the garden in the second half!

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2017

Above, I treated all the garden volunteers this Summer to high tea at Church Lane Tea Rooms on 25th September and presented them each with a specially commissioned, hand coiled pot by Amanda Haines.

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I was invited to be part of a film shoot with QVC and Richard Jackson's garden, on location in Chiswick on the 14th September. It was great fun with a group of 6 others. The results were aired on QVC later in the year.

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On the 1st August the family Songyeun Li, from Beijing, arranged to spend the day in the garden and had a wonderful time. They had a talk followed by lunch and when leaving they presented me with a lovely gift of a boxed, handmade fan! They had read about the garden on TripAdvisor. He later wrote "I'm very glad to meet you. I like everything about your garden. You really work hard in the garden. We greatly admire your persistence and efforts! I hope we can come back to visit your garden next year. If you visit Beijing, we will be your best guide."

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Back in the Summer of 2016 one of the team from Coast magazine came to interview me and brought a photographer to capture the garden. In July 2017, this wonderful 8 page feature appeared in the magazine. It had an amazing response with nearly 20 readers getting in touch and coming to see the garden for themselves, as well as one lady from the Isle of Wight wanting to buy one of the chicken wire seagulls! Read the full article by clicking here.

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On 19th June a group of ladies arrived from Tokyo. They had heard about the garden and arranged their flights around the garden open dates. I persuaded them to visit on a non public day for lunch so they could have the garden to themselves for a few hours.

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On 25th May, the prebooked visit by the Austrian Horticultural Society took place. The group were on a Sussex & Kent gardening tour, taking in the likes of Great Dixter, Sissinghurst, Nymans and the like. I was truly amazed to be included in such illustrious company, as you can see from the tour schedule on the right!

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This month I was asked to film a short video for the National Garden Scheme to help promote their new partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support. The piece was shot in the garden and posted to You Tube and can be viewed here.

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On 11th April I was approached by the Editor of The Argus to write a weekly gardening column starting on the 22nd April, every Saturday in a new magazine they were publishing! Read them all here.
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The January issue of Sussex Life Magazine (left) had a feature on some of the "influential personalities in the Sussex gardening world" and low and behold included me!

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2016

I was totally overwhelmed to find that on the 2nd December, the Fundraiser of the Year Award received last month made the front page of the Seaford Herald newspaper. This was totally unexpected, and like the award itself extremely rewarding.

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In November 2016, Gardeners' World magazine published a short video of all finalists in their Garden of the Year competition, 2016. You can see the short film on Driftwood on the right.

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On the 25th November we went to the More Radio Awards ceremony at the All Saints Chapel in Eastbourne and I discovered that I had won the Fundraiser of the Year Award.
I was also very lucky to be nominated for the BBC Sussex & BBC Surrey Community Heroes Award for Fundraising.
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On 13th October we held a tea party in Church Lane tea Rooms in Seaford as a thank you to the volunteers who have helped in the garden this summer. Pictured from left to right are (standing) Clare Mayers, Celia Hughes, Geoff Stonebanks, Amanda Haines, Liz Holland, Linda Wallraven and (seated) Helen Roberts, Diane Marquess, Mark Glassman and Michele Findlay!

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RJ Cicero and an American film crew have been to shoot the garden last year and the film finally got published. A great piece about Driftwood and out National Garden Scheme openings!
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On the 23rd September, the garden featured in a 5 minute short film on BBC2 Gardeners' World. The piece was very well edited and really showed the garden off well. I received scores of compliments via social media too! Monty Don was very complimentary in his introduction as well!

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On the 22nd September, Richard Jackson, from Richard Jackson's Garden, came to see the garden and very generously agreed to supply Driftwood with Flower Power again in 2017. His team also came and completed a photo shoot in the garden for promoting Flower Power in 2017 as well. After visiting he wrote "Thanks so much for today. I really enjoyed meeting you and seeing your fabulous garden. I knew, from what I'd read and been told, that it would be a real gem, but it was even better than I'd expected, packed with colour, interest, and charm. There was something to enjoy at every turn, and I genuinely loved it."

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At the beginning of July we had a visit from a group of gardeners from Philadelphia. At the end of the month I received this wonderful handwritten card about the visit. They had seen many well known gardens in Sussex, such as Sissinghurst, but some preferred mine! Amazing!

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On the 4th July, American Independance Day, a coach tour from Philadelphia came to visit the garden. 13 visitors came and saw the garden on a warm but overcast day! To mark the occasion I had made a special cake for them!

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On the 24th June we had a coach tour of the Geertruidenberg Garden Club from the Netherlands! The coach of 48 was split between 8 Sandagte Close garden and Driftwood so we had 2 groups of 24 who enjoyed a talk about the garden before looking around and asking questions.

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In January I was invited, along with Christine Walkden and Michael Perry, to write a blog on newly launched blog web site Garden Tags. Entitled "Gardening Connections Can Spark A Growing Revolution". You can read it here.

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2015

This month I teamed up with Richard Jackson who produces Flower Power. We will be using this plant food product in 2016 to feed the garden!

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On the 5th October, The Argus printed a wonderful 2 page, centrefold feature, about my charity fundraising over the years. It was a lovely piece, well written by Flora Thompson from the Argus, which can be read online too.

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On 29th September I was invited to meet the Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, Lynda Thomas, at the Macmillan Horizon Centre in Brighton and discuss our fundraising with her.

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On the 18th September we were invited to an awards presentation in Lewes for the Artwave Favourites awards and were extremely pleased to discover that the public had voted for us as the favourite town venue for the recent Artwave Festival from over 100 venues.

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On the 6th September we celebrated the 100th opening on the final day of Artwave and the 4 on the left were the 100th visitors that day and received free tea and cake and a bottle of bubbly! Macmillan came too and Tom Carter was handed a cheque for £8000.

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A wonderful feature about me and the garden written by Francine Raymond appeared in the Sunday Telegraph Living Magazine on 23rd August and posted on line on 1st September. A lovely piece considering on the day of her visit it was dreadful weather. It poured with rain most of the day! here.

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On the 25th July Tv Gardener, Christine Walkden was on hand in the garden to open the Macmillan Garden Trail and is pictured with me in the garden and with my mother, Barbara, and helper Linda Wallraven. The weekend was a great success, depite the weather and we raised over £6000 from just the Saturday as it was a washout with the rain on the Sunday.

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On the 16th May we went to see an interview with Monty Don and managed to get a photo with him and he signed a copy of the Daily Mail Weekend article when I was in the final 4 of the garden competition that year!

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On the 28th April I was invited to a ceremony by the Mayor of Seaford! I was very pleased to be awarded this lovely glass award for all the charity fundraising I have done through opening the garden and organising the Mayors Open Garden Trail!

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2014

On the 16th December the final Latest Homes Live Show was filmed and I was invited to be in the studio. The last garden segment was shown with Andrew and Simone learning how to make a wreath with cuttings from the garden. The crew and I were snapped after the show.

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On the 4th December, the Latest TV crew were in the garden for the final time in 2014 and they were shown how to decorate a Christmas tree in the garden specially for the birds, along with how to make a wreath from things taken from the garden too! More shots can be seen here, along with video. Part one of the video can be watched here

We had a great day making the wreaths and the decorations back at the house and the team also took footage of the Christmas decorations in the house for a Christmas special sequence of Christmas at Driftwood to be shown on Latest Homes Live before Christmas!

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This month a 30 minute podcast was published on iTunes, by Dave Ledoux and Back To My Garden, about my gardening experiences since moving from London to the coast in Sussex. You can listen to the interview here . A facebook friend, Peter MacNaughton, made this comment after hearing it: "Heard an interview you did with Dave on Back To My Garden; you're inspiring! I am buying a house this summer and have a space roughly your size with a different challenge: I'm in Saskatchewan, winters are long and horrible....so the growing season is short, and important to gardeners and plants. Will keep an eye on your page!"

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On the 30th October, the Latest Tv crew with Andrew and Simone came and filmed another 7 gardening segments for Latest Homes Live show and we had a great day as the weather was so gorgeous!

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Great session today with Cameron and Emma from a TV Production Company who were here to film me and the garden to help them get a new programme commissioned for BBC 2. Fingers crossed might be in the show itself once commissioned! They interviewed me about my passion for gardening, how the garden has been created and developed and how I might feel about designing a garden for others?????? Watch this space!

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Latest TV, Andrew Bullock, Simone Thorogood and crew, Ant and William, arrived on the 3rd October for filming some sequences to include in Latest Homes Live over the next few weeks! See all the videos by clicking here.

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In mid August I was approached by a dutch photographer, Maayke de Ridder who wanted to come and take photos of the garden for possible inclusion in a new book on small gardens by Noel Kingsbury. You can see her on the left when she visited the garden on the 21st August! In addition to taking images for the book she hoped to sell them to magazines as well!

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After following up on a tweet earlier this week the broadcaster, Jonathan Kent, came to the garden on the 27th July to interview me about the relationship between charity fundraising and the use of social media! Check out the blog he posted along with a copy of the interview here .

He will be including it in a piece he is preparing for the Click programme on the World Service. So impressed was he with the garden he intends to add a blog to his Sussex blog about Driftwood, more on this later!

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On the 8th July 2014 I applied for the garden to be featured in Good Morning Britain as one of the 5 locations where weather girl, Laura Tobin, would deliver her live weather reports, week commencing 14th July! Amazingly, the garden was chosen as one of the five and was featured, along with 2 short interviews with me on Monday 14th July live! Good Morning Britain posted a wonderful blog about the day at Driftwood on their web site on the 16th July here .

You can read all the gossip and see the live interviews here . After a very early start for the filming on Good Morning Britain on the 14th July, Laura and I took a break and were joined by her gnome which had been specially commissioned by ITV but she and shows producer Oliver Breckon had decided to give it to me as a thank you for the hospitality they had received while filming!


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I found out this month that the garden had featured in a french gardening magazine called 100 Idées Jardin back in the February-March issue. Jonathan Need who had taken the images last summer had sold them to an agency who had sold them on! Interesting to read an article about the garden in french with the journalist not having interviewed me! You can read the english translation here .


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On the 21st May I met up with Patron of the Macmillan Trail, Christine Walkden, in between her hectic filming schedule at Chelsea Flower Show. In my capacity as the Publicity Officer and the Asst County Organiser for East & Mid Sussex, I was invited to the launch of the Yellow Book back in April and was lucky enough to meet up with Joe Swift.

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Featured in the May 2014 issue of Garden Answers as seen below!
Liz Potter, the editor said in the editorial, after talking about the excitement of Chelsea, " If you're still not convinced, take a look at Geoff Stonebanks's seaside garden on page 54: it's not large, but it's packed with plants and personality!"
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2013

On 20th September, the garden made the headlines on the newspaper hoardings for Sussex Express, seen left! A great article with "chopped" image appeared in the paper that day too!

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On the left presentation of a cheque to Macmillan for all the monies raised for them in the garden this summer! A massive £8900!

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On 14th August, Michael Perry, New Product Development Manager from Thompson & Morgan, came to Driftwood to photograph some of the trial plants and other plants growing in the garden, seen here with me! Maybe some of them will make next years catalogue!

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The Galloping Gardener, Charlotte Weychan, visited on Friday 19th July and wrote a great blog about her visit and how impressed she was with the garden, check it out for yourselves here.

Her friend, Ronnie Tyler, also a blogger on gardens did the same and produced this lovely blog with images of the garden set against a poem by John Masefield, take a look for yourselves here.

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A double whammy was had at the end of June, the garden was the featured garden in Sussex Life's July edition, in the lifestyle section (see full article below) and on the 23rd June, Driftwood had a full page feature in the national newspaper, The Mail on Sunday, Martyn Cox, the gardening journalist had visited the garden with a photograper on Friday 7th June and over 400 images were taken of both me and the garden.

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On 12th June The National Gardens Scheme asked me to run a session for Macmillan staff, as I was also a fundraiser for them in Sussex and obviously had links with both organisations. I visited Macmillan's Head Office in Vauxhall to run the session about the relationship between them and the National Gardens Scheme and to run a hands on session as well. It was all to profile the National Gardens Festival Weekend and make their staff more aware of the importance of the realtionship with the NGS. Here you see me in full swing on the practical session about propagating fuchsias.

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I was contacted by the producer of the ITV show "Love Your Garden" with Alan Titchmarsh on the 3rd April, with a view to using Driftwood as a good example in a make over programme for another garden about the use of different levels! She visited on 15th April to do some final checks but heavy planting reduces the views of the levels if filmed so she cannot use it for the show about levels. However, there is a good possibility of it being used on a future show!

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2012

A fabulous 3 page spread appeared in the Garden News edition on 9th October,
pages 6 and 7 shown below.

On Tuesday 18th September Garden News published their results for the Gardener of the Year Competition and Driftwood was the winner of the Best Small Garden Award. A full feature on the garden appeared in the magazine on 9th October. Click here for full details and see the detail on their facebook page.

Geoff Hodge, one of the judges said of the garden, "Small gardens can be a challenge trying to fit in everything you want. They're even more of a challenge when they're on a slope, making them look even smaller. But Geoff Stonebanks has created something special, filling his garden with huge range of plants without making the garden look cramped. Individual sculptures and the results of Geoff's beach combing (he lives close to the sea) equal a coastal heaven with its own distinctive personality."

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Finalist in the Daily Mail National Garden Competition 2012
out of over 1200 entries nationwide! The only one in the South East!

Here is the full feature that appeared in the Daily Mail "Weekend" Magazine on Saturday 4th August 2012.

The judges said in Weekend magazine on 22nd September, when the winner was announced, "the weather hasn't exactly been kind to gardens, with an amazingly hot, dry spring followed by a record-breaking spell of cold and rain. We honestly expected very little from this years entries." Tim Sharples, landscape designer and head judge said, "we were sure they were going to be the worst on record."
Well, said Weekend, the judges need not have worried because, once again Mail readers rose magnificently to the challenge. More than a thousand entries poured in and the standard was higher than ever. "It's actually been a vintage year" said Tim. "It was extremely hard to whittle it down to just 4 finalists (Driftwood in East Sussex being one of them) proving how remarkably resilient Britain's gardeners and plants are!"
After much deliberation, the winner - by a whisker - was announced in Weekend Magazine on 22nd September, a fabulous garden in Montrose.

I was totally overwhelmed to receive a phone call on Thursday 28th June to learn that Driftwood had been shortlisted from over 1200 entries in the final 12 for the Daily Mail National Garden Competition 2012. Click here to learn more. Two judges visited on 6th July and subsequently confirmed I was in the final 4 in the whole country. One garden was in Montrose in Scotland, one in Manchester, one in Reading and Driftwood. Three more judges visited again on the 24th July. A journalist interviewed me and a 2 photographers took several hundred photographs of the garden some of which were used in the feature that appeared in the Daily Mail Weekend Magazine on 4th August.

Hamish Webb, one of the judges said in his letter below, " Nick, Tim and myself found choosing a winner from four such fantastic gardens very difficult. Any of the four were good enough to win, different judges may, I suppose, have chosen a different winner". Our prize for being a finalist is a cast iron plaque for the garden marking the great achievement of reaching the final 4.

The judges, chaired by garden designer Tim Sharples, evaluated what each garden had, in the light of its position, space and intentions.

Tim, however, was fascinated by the provenance of some of the plants and objects in the garden that have lots of personal memories and associations. He was very complimentary as he said it was much harder to work with a small garden and achieve this level of success. In his own words, he certainly got the "wow" factor as he entered the back garden! On the right the letter confirming my finalist plaque.

Click here to learn more of our involvement in the competition.

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Many thanks to the Mayor of Seaford, Cllr. Linda Wallraven, for putting me forward for a Community Service Award in 2012, in recognition of the monies raised by opening the garden over the last 3 years and in particular organising the Mayor's Open Garden Trail for Seaford which will take place on Sunday 8th July this year. See article on media page.

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2011

Pictured left is Rachel David, Fund Raising Manager for Sussex, from Macmillan who came to do the draw and receive the cheque from me. In the middle Anne Megan Griffiths one of the artists. On the right Liz Davis receiving her first prize in the raffle. There were 8 prizes in total and the winners are listed on the Artwave page.
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The weather was excellent for the additional opening on the 14th August for the Mayor's Open Garden event. The Mayor, Linda Wallraven and her consort, Liz Holland, are seen with me in the garden on the far right.

Richard Plowman, Chairman of WAVES Family Support Service, the nominated charity, expressed his immense gratitude to us and all the helpers at Driftwood saying how delighted and grateful he was with our support for families in need, in Seaford.

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Norman Baker is seen here talking with the Mayor of Seaford and her consort. We had a staggering 200 visitors to the garden in the space of 3 hours and sold over 100 teas and cakes. The total raised for Waves was almost £600. Many, many thanks to all those who helped to make the day a great success, those who volunteered and those who came along on the day.
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The weather was in our favour for the first of our openings in 2011 for the Cinnamon Trust opening on Saturday 18th June when the Mayor of Seaford, Linda Wallraven, seen here, officially opened the event by cutting the ribbon. More than 50 visitors came in to the garden during the afternoon and we raised £235 for the Trust from donations, tea, coffee and cake sales and a stall run by Angela Harris. Many thanks to those who supported the event.

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2010

During 2010, from July to September, with 13 openings, we welcomed 1115 visitors to the garden, raised £1669 for charity and sold 586 cakes and 483 drinks!

In September 2010, for the second year running, our 600 visitors to the Lewes District Artwave Festival voted Driftwood their “Best Open House” out of the 97 venues in the competition sponsored by Latest 7 Magazine.
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In July 2010 the garden was judged the “Best Back Garden” in Seaford and won the Jubilee Cup for “Best Overall Entry”. See picture left being awarded the prize by the Mayor of Seaford.

We also had over 200 visitors to the Sussex Beacon's Garden Gadabout that month as well, raising over £700 for them. Additionally, in August, we opened to raise funds for St Andrews Saxon Church in Bishopstone village and raised over £100.

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2009

During 2009, from June to September, with 8 openings, we welcomed 401 visitors to the garden, raised £461 for charity and sold 91 cakes and 92 drinks

In September 2009, our 200 visitors to the Lewes District Artwave Festival voted Driftwood their “Best Open House” out of the 80 plus venues, in the competition sponsored by Latest 7 Magazine.
In July 2009 the garden opened for the first time after being persuaded, even bullied, by friends and family to enter the "Best Back Garden Award" in Seaford. On the open garden day we had over 200 visitors and those that came towards the end told me they had only come because friends in other gardens, who had already seen Driftwood, told them they must come to see it. At the awards ceremony in August, I was extremely pleased to receive the certificate from the Mayor of Seaford for coming third!