International visits for NGS opener Driftwood

International visits for NGS opener Driftwood

Tue 28 Feb 2017

County News

Award-winning  National Garden Scheme garden owner, Geoff Stonebanks, from Bishopstone in Sussex had a real shock last week. He is busy getting his much visited seaside garden, ready for visitors again this Summer season. He has already got 2 coach tours booked in July from Dorset, as a direct result of appearing on BBC Gardeners’ World last Autumn, along with many smaller bookings from individuals across the UK, but was utterly amazed to receive an e-mail recently from a teacher in Japan requesting a visit!

Suzan Matkin wrote to him saying: “Hello we were greatly impressed by your garden story and would like to visit. We have arranged our flights according to your National Garden Scheme open day on 20th June. I do hope our group of 7 could visit from Japan at 11am – one lady is herself a small but interesting gardener and featured in the Japanese version of Vogue. We would like to have light early lunch too if possible.”

Needless to say, he was somewhat taken aback and immediately wrote confirming the visit, also asking how they had heard of the garden, so far away in Japan!

Suzan replied “We studied an article on your garden which was reprinted in the Japanese media,  so I tracked down the story on the internet. My students are all senior ladies – retired teachers etc. so I used articles on lives of retired people, like yourself. Most of my students are keen on gardening too.”  Suzan sent a photo of some of the ladies who will be visiting.

Fearful he might not have been able to devote time to the group to talk about the garden on a busy open day for the National Garden Scheme on the 20th, he has now persuaded them to visit, by arrangement, a day earlier, on the 19th, so that he can provide a personal guided tour of the garden and discuss it’s development with the ladies.

Driftwood, was a finalist in BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine’s “Garden of the Year”  last year as well as appearing on BBC Gardeners’ World. This summer it is set to be featured in 2 national gardening magazines, Gardeners’ World in April and Coast magazine in July, as well as a possible feature in a national daily newspaper. Geoff was also the winner of More Radio’s “Fundraiser of the Year” 2016, as well as nominated in BBC Sussex’s Community Heroes Awards, both in recognition of the £76,000 he has raised for charity. Full details of all openings this summer can be found at Alternatively call 01323 899296 to book your own private visit with either afternoon tea or light lunch!