Sussex Prairie Garden is now closed until Saturday 1st June 2024. Our normal opening hours from 1st June will be Wednesday to Sunday 1pm until 5pm , closed Mondays and Tuesdays . On Sunday 2nd June we shall be holding our Early Summer Plant fair (30 exhibitors plus !) opening time 12 noon until 5pm - lots of plant nurseries , refreshments and music !

RHS Partner Garden.

Artist in Residence – Amanda Davidson

Amanda studied at Canterbury and then Brighton Art college under tutors such as Raymond Briggs and John Vernon Lord. After graduating with a BA Honous degree in Art, Design and Illustration in 1980, with a brief spell as a studio paste-up artist for a travel brochure printers, Amanda was offered a four book publishing contract with Collins (Harper Collins). Her Teddy series sat alongside Mog by Judith Kerr and Brambley Hedge by Jill Barklem, eventually growing into a 13 books series with international sales in America and Europe.

In 1995 David and Charles published ‘Tapestry Cats and Dogs’. After which Amanda followed a five year career in textiles with commissions from Henri Bendel in New York and various UK needlecraft magazines and a feature in Earls Court needlecraft show and Brighton’s Royal Pavilion gift shop. However, severe rheumatoid arthritis led to thumb fusions on both hands. Undeterred, Amanda discovered manipulating chopsticks resulted in a more flexible way of holding both pens, pencils and brushes!

Another career direction led to working with a London interior designer painting wall murals and an architect creating marble effects for Pushkin House renovations in Holburn. Also for Liberty’s window display. Also teaching art skills in her local community centre in Rottingdean. An opportunity arose to open her own art shop and gallery which inturn led to organising The Grange Art Gallery from 2010-15.

Then chance meetings with some local puppetry creators led to some very interesting collaborations, culminating in a 6month Artist Residency ‘The Art of Puppetry’ at Hove Museum and Art Gallery in 2017.

Amanda has returned to illustrating and writing with her new book ‘Bye, Bi-Polar Bear’ in 2021 as well as taking on portrait commissions in oils in large, narrative themed paintings.

As a regular visitor to Prairie Gardens with many of her Art students over the years, and inspired by the tranquility of drawing in the beautiful gardens, Amanda approached Pauline and Paul with a proposal for their exhibition barn. To tell the story of her Dad’s life. A father who died when she was only 7yrs old but left an unfathomable gap in her life. A man who travelled the world during a unique period, from 1925-33 on a luxury cruise liner as ships gardener and florist. What transpired on the lead up to WW11 and his escape from Nazi Germany to England, and his creation of ‘Tropical Plants Display Ltd’ in London.

And so ‘My Dad, the Tropical Plants Man’ became Amanda’s ‘lockdown’ project. An exhibition told in paintings, illustrations and family anecdotes.

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Paul & Pauline McBride,
Sussex Prairie Garden

Morlands Farm, Wheatsheaf Road (B2116),
near Henfield
, West Sussex, BN5 9AT

Find us

  1. RHS Partner Garden.
  2. Sussex Heritage Trust Awards 2022 Winner.
  3. Sussex Top Attractions 2024.
    1. Sussex Prairie Garden
      Based on 518 reviews
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      Fraser BishopFraser Bishop
      10:50 11 Jul 22
      Wonderful garden well worth a visit. Great variety of plants showing so many ways of portraying a garden layout. Must comment on the great tea and cakes selection, our dog loved the doggy ice cream!
      Joan DaniellJoan Daniell
      15:13 06 Jul 22
      Beautifully planted area, in which you are encouraged to walk along paths between the plants so can be completely surrounded by foliage - a lovely effect.
      Peter WardPeter Ward
      08:40 28 Jun 22
      Beautiful garden, very relaxing, and bigger than you might think. Cafe is nice too
      Mike CleggMike Clegg
      16:07 08 Jun 22
      Tea room not brilliant nice cake but coffee in paper cup. No other options other then tea coffee and cake. Opening times short 1 to 5 but gardens beautiful