Sowing the Seeds of Hope

Everyone has been affected one way or another by the Coronavirus but what has been so heartening is how the Henfield community has pulled together to make life better for people in different ways.

We were really delighted when Paul and Pauline McBride of Sussex Prairie Gardens approached us with their idea to ‘grow’ a bit of positivity in the local community through the power of gardening; “Paul and I have lots of flower and vegetable seeds, kindly given to us by the local Sussex Plant Heritage Group, which we would like to distribute to BN5 Magazine readers for free!”

As Britain’s largest ‘prairie’ or ‘naturalistic’ garden with eight acres of stunning garden to roam around, Paul and Pauline know a little bit about  growing things! “The seeds are a mix of really unusual flowers and heritage vegetables and we thought that whilst confined to the home on lockdown, perhaps people would like to have a go at growing something for the first time, or maybe even as an activity with their children whilst home schooling. 

“Growing things from scratch is easy to do and really rewarding, especially when you can eat the results! It’s a small thing but we all need some small things to encourage and inspire us in these difficult times…”

If you’ve never grown flowers or vegetables from seed before, then all you need are the seeds, a patch of soil or a container filled with compost in a sunny position (a grow bag or a large plastic pot will do), access to water and patience! You may want to start off growing your seedlings indoors on window sills in recycled containers such as yoghurt pots or egg boxes and then transfer them outside once the threat of frost has passed. You can obtain compost or grow bags from local suppliers Rushfields, Swains or Olus (Sussex Prairies use their organic soil improver, produced in Henfield from the brown-lidded bin waste). Go to to purchase.

To take advantage of this fantastic offer of free seeds for hope, please send a stamped self-addressed envelope (with a 1st class stamp) to: Seeds of Hope Offer, Sussex Prairies, Morlands Farm, Wheatsheaf Road, Nr Henfield, West Sussex, BN5 9AT.

If your seed-growing is a success, we’d love to see the results and will print your photos in an autumn edition of BN5 Magazine. Happy growing!

Sarah Butler

At the moment we don’t know when Sussex Prairies will be able to open to the public in 2020 because it all depends on how when the Covid-19 lockdown finishes. However, despite their diminished team of gardeners, Paul and Pauline are currently working hard getting the garden looking great, testing out new cake recipes for the cafe and looking forward to when they can welcome visitors again. Keep an eye on their website at