The Secrets of Worthing Gardens.

Posted on 16/06/2019 By

Worthing Gardens.

Ambrose Place Back Gardens.

Worthing Gardens - Ambrose Place Back Gardens Open Day Website.

Each year, the secret back gardens of Ambrose Place in Worthing are opened to the public in aid of the National Garden Scheme. The Yellow Book to many. Last year we went with Merrill and wrote a story about it, which never saw the light of day. So here it is. These gardens are open this year on Sunday 23 June. Details above. We will be there and maybe you?


Well you know, Bobby’s legendary lusting after the considerable charms of Merrill have raised a smile with so many of you over the years. Diddley raised a knowing smile. Geoff a friendly smile and Merrill herself a sort of sillyoldsodbutIlikeyou smile. Nowadays the fantasies are based on a combined age of 148 and restricted to tea and cake at Yellow Book gardens. Romance was in the air as we headed to Worthing Gardens. In separate cars. ….

This was the first time I had been out with them and I am not sure how Merrill saw the competition. Watching her virtual sweetheart walking round wonderful town gardens with me under his arm. I attract a lot of attention after all. There were eleven gardens to visit, starting with the most important. The tea and cake garden.

Bertie at the entrance to the Tea Garden.

Bertie enjoying afternoon tea with Merrill.

Tea and cake with Merrill.

We moved on but, by garden three, we had lost Merrill. Clearly bored with Bobby’s incessant chattering to anyone who took an interest in a teddy bear. Dishing out Mindfully Bertie cards right left and centre. We eventually caught up with a knowingly smiling Merrill at the very last Garden.

Along the way we met many interesting people. Bears open doors. One couple told us they had very posh bears. Steiff, you know. Bobby just had to tell them about Salzburg. Couldn’t resist it. Their response was to bring out Alphonso and his little cousin. Russian Cossacks. Well, I’ll take that with a pinch of salt. I asked Alphonso what he did with his time.

“I live in a box under the stairs. Too posh and valuable to be messing around like you!”

I asked him when was the last time he saw the light of day? “Don’t remember, but my fur is in perfect condition.”

“Mine isn’t. I am booked into Alice’s Teddy Bear Hospital at Lyme Regis to mend my bonce.”

“How awful!”

“Not as bad as living in a box under the stairs.”

Bertie, Alphonso and little cousin.

Alphonso and his little cousin. Russian Cossacks, who live in a box under the stairs.

Alphonso and his little cousin. Russian Cossacks, who live in a box under the stairs.

Here’s some nice pictures of the Worthing gardens:

Bertie smelling some white roses.

Just smell the roses.

Bertie looking over a wall into an adjacent garden, watching the people looking round it.

Over the garden wall.

Bertie, with people looking around a garden behind.

Berite by the Roses and Jasmine.

Blimey. Look at those roses, (and Jasmine)

Bertie by a notice: "Caution, Spiky plants"!


Queing outside the garden entrances.

Not very promising if the doors were shut. That’s the thing with secret back gardens.

Bertie in a garden of exotic plants.


Bertie in the final garden having found Merrill.

There’s Merrill! Thought she had gone home!

Rarity. A bloke wanting to have his picture taken with a bear.

Rarity. A bloke wanting to have his picture taken with a bear.

Bertie sat in the "Y" of a tree's branches in one of the gardens.

Just hanging around.

Bertie lounging in a garden chair, with Merrill looking on.

No competition! How about you Merrill?

Bobby really wanted to see what was not part of the occasion. The front of the houses. Well, what a surprise – and another reason for going to NGS gardens and discovering what is not on the official itinerary.

Bertie in front of the houses in Ambrose Place.

Ambrose Place.

Blue Plaque reads: Harold Pinter, 1930-2008, Playright, Actor and Director, lived here 1962-1964.

Just a couple years.

We had gone in separate cars to the Worthing gardens knowing that Merrill would need to get home early. So Bobby and I decided we would like to light a candle for Diddley in a local church.


Some progress has been made from our Darling Buds rant. We were introduced to the local “nextdoor” forum, from which a local councillor has taken up the issue through her contacts at Surrey County Council. We also contacted “Plantlife” and we are delighted by their response that follows:

> wrote:

Hello Bob

Thank you very much for your email regarding road verges. Apologies for the delay in responding to you – it’s been a busy month here for the campaign and consequently for my inbox too!

I’m so sorry to hear that so many lovely wild flowers were mown down. It is good that you raised the issue with the council – the more they hear from people not wanting to see verges cut and the wrong time and left for wildlife the better. Whilst they do have responsibility to keep the roads safe by maintaining key visibility splays especially at junctions ,and therefore safety comes first, but with the size of most verges there should be no conflict with conservation and several simple changes can be made to management regimes to support wild flowers and the wildlife they support.

I hope you’ll be pleased to hear that Surrey CC highways and Surrey WT have invited me and other people/organisations working on verges to a meeting all about verge maintenance. I’m looking forward to sharing information and case studies of options they could adopt. They do seem keen to learn about how they can improve things which is a good step forward and I’m looking forward to the meeting.

In terms of what else you can do, continuing to spread the word locally about wildlife-friendly verge management is brilliant. Support on the ground locally and making the council aware of that can really help to influence their decision to let things flourish for nature. Over 1000 people in Surrey have signed our road verge petition for example which is brilliant and shows there is definitely appetite for change. I’ve attached our Good Verge Guide in case you don’t have a copy, and there is more information here on our website: We also have a Facebook road verges group which may be of interest to link up with other verge supporters in Surrey.

Many thanks again for your email and for your support. It’s much appreciated and really makes a difference.
With best wishes

Kate Petty
Road Verge Campaign Manager
Direct Dial: 01722 342730
2nd Floor Brewery House, 36 Milford Street, Salisbury SP1 2AP

Lighting a Candle for a Diddley

Bertie in a chair by a tray of lit candles, one of which is for Diddley.

Bertie sat in a chair in the Nave, with tea and cake being served behind.

More tea and cake!

Christ Church, Worthing.

Christ Church, Worthing.

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  1. katherine says:

    Worthing looks lovely.. interesting not many men like to be photographed with you Bertie. Merrill looks so sweet..

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