Bohemia’s gem of a garden with a Chelsea Fringe on top

Permaculture expert Anna Lock explains how to garden the natural way. SUS-170530-123841001
Permaculture expert Anna Lock explains how to garden the natural way. SUS-170530-123841001

A hidden gem of a walled garden in St Leonards on Sea was recently opened to the public as part of the Chelsea Fringe.

Members of the Bohemia Walled Victorian Garden (situated off Bohemia Road) held an Open Day on Sunday, May 21.

Bright sunshine greeted shoppers as they eagerly bought plants, refreshments, jams and books.

Gardeners also had the opportunity to learn about eco-friendly ways to grow their food and flowers while listening to music from The Sea Tones Choir. Youngsters had the chance to make miniature gardens in a tented area.

Attractions included a talk by Anna Locke, an experienced community gardener and permaculture designer. Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centred around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. Anna explained how gardeners can use and work with nature to produce gardens that are easy to care for, sustain and develop.

Ben Fairlight Edwards, a retired medical herbalist, gave a talk and guided tour of the garden to show how growing and using medicinal herbs could promote a healthy lifestyle.

A raffle helped raise funds for the garden’s running expenses.

The Bohemia Walled Victorian Garden is a community garden run by volunteers. They welcome new members and supporters.

Mary Dawson, chairman of the Bohemia Walled Garden Association (BWGA), says the event was a great success. “The Open Day raised £700 with about 200 visitors,” she said. “The event went very well.”

The BWGA was formed in 2009 to bring the walled garden back into use for horticultural, cultural and education events. The garden was originally part of the estate belonging to Bohemia House, home to the Brisco family from 1831 to 1901. Bohemia House was demolished in the 1970s.

BWGA members also ran a stall last Sunday (May 28) in Alexandra Park, Hastings, as part of the Mini Chelsea Festival - promoted by the Alexandra Park Greenhouse Group (APPG). Events included plant sales and displays, music, a guided walk, rides on the park’s miniature railway, and cream teas in the cafe.

Bohemia Walled Garden is open most Wednesdays and Sundays, March-November, 10-12pm. Visit: or email or visit: