Highdown Gardens is a garden on the western edge of the town of Worthing, close to the village of Ferring and the National Trust archaeological site Highdown Hill in West Sussex, England. Overlooking the sea from the South Downs the gardens contain a collection of rare plants and trees, collectively deemed a National Collection. The garden is owned and maintained by Worthing Borough Council with admission being free.
Created from a chalk quarry where there was little soil and very unfavourable conditions for plant growth the Chalk Garden at Highdown is the achievement of Sir Frederick Stern (1884-1967) and his wife, who purchased the 8.52 acres (3.45 ha) in 1909 and worked for 50 years to prove that plants would grow on chalk.
The garden was created during a period when many expeditions were going out to China and the Himalayas collecting rare and beautiful plants. Many of the original plants from the early collections can still be seen in the garden today, particularly plants collected by Reginald Farrer and Ernest Henry Wilson.
On the death of Sir Frederick in 1967, aged 83, Lady Stern carried out his wishes and left the garden to Worthing Borough Council.
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