Reg charity: England and Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907) and the Isle of Man (604).

LAST UPDATED 14th August 2021

We raised over £8000 for the charity over the weekend of 24th and 25th July, thank you so much to owners, volunteers and visitors. Macmillan tweeted their appreciation as seen below.

Our patron, TV Gardener Christine Walkden, posted this message of congratulations on Twitter.

Emma Hammett, Regional Fundraising Manager for Macmillan in the area said.
"A huge thank you to every single garden owner who participated in the trail over the weekend to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support's Horizon Centre in Brighton. With a special thank you going to Geoff Stonebanks who organised the event and heads up the Driftwood Fundraising Group. Geoff has been supporting the charity for many years and we are so grateful for his dedication and support. Your efforts mean that we will be able to be there for people living with cancer in Brighton and the surrounding areas, which is both fantastic and admirable."

Geoff Brown, the Horizon Centre Manager said "Thank you so much Geoff and thank you to all who opened their gardens. An amazing effort and contribution to enable Macmillan to continue to offer much needed support. Thank you very much!"

Great coverage of Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail in Sussex Express online, here and again in the Brighton Indy too here

15 garden owners opened their gardens for this years trail. Details of the 2022 event will be posted this Autumn but it will take place over the weekend of 23rd and 24th July 2022.

Please contact Geoff Stonebanks, the organiser, for more information on the event or if you would like to support Macmillan by opening your own garden in 2022.

Many gardens that open have steps and narrow paths meaning that disabled wheelchair access is not possible.
For advice on access across the trail, please call
01323 899296.

Below are the gardens that opened in 2021

(Including Woodingdean & Saltdean)

Garden 1...... 38A Tivoli Crescent, Brighton

Mel and Trevor have decided to open their beautiful garden this year. The long passage way contains a mix of evergreen plants for structure and cottage garden perenials for colour. This leads to the Italian Terrace that's packed with box topiary, Italian cypress for structure, citrus trees either side of a vintage bench and a vibrant pink rose that sits in-between the ornamental olive trees.

The newly planted lavender hedge against the stone balustrade overlooks the tropical garden containing palm trees, phormiums, banana plants, tree ferns and many more big leafed tropical looking plants.Mostly a green leafy garden with splashes of colour throughout the season from agapanthus, red hot pokers and canna lillies. A definite feel to a tropical paradise.

Garden 2...... 8 North Gardens, Brighton

Rosie and James are opening their small cottage garden in central Brighton for the first time this year. They moved here two years ago and, although gardening novices, have loved maintaining and adding to the beautiful front garden created over 30 years by the previous owner, Marianne. Although small, the space is crammed with traditional cottage garden plants. Refreshments will be available along with some art in the greenhouse too.

Garden 3...... 11 Rugby Road, Brighton

This little house in Brighton is home to Adam (finalist in this year's Great Pottery Throw on C4) & Dan,1 pug and bundles of creativity. Now with beautiful garden, opening for the third year for Macmillan, it started as part of the Artists Open Houses, is now a must see on the Open House trail twice a year, get some great deals on original work here too over the trail weekend.

Garden 4...... The Garden House, 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT

Bridgette Saunders has kindly offered to open up her amazing garden for the trail this year. The Garden House is one of Brighton’s secret gardens This wedge of land was a thriving market garden back in the 1880’s, providing flowers and food for the local residents. She has lived here for nearly 20 years and their aim is to provide year-round interested with a selection of trees, shrubs, herbaceous borders, with annuals for cutting, along with fruit and vegetables to look and taste good They have two glass houses, rose arches, a pond and rockery which enables the Garden House to provide a learning space for creative and inspirational courses and events.

Details on The Garden House web site. The plants, many propagated at the garden, tell a story, a cutting from the Bishop of Norwich of a Hebe, purported to have been in Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet, as well as many others from gardens we have visited where the owners have been generous! This is a friendly garden, always changing with a touch of magic to delight visitors, above all it is a slice of the country in the midst of a bustling city and we look forward to welcoming visitors.

Garden 5...... Stanford & Cleveland Community Garden, BN1 6FB

In 2012 the residents around Stanford Avenue successfully petitioned Brighton and Hove City Council to have the road junction (originally a wide coach turning circle) narrowed and a pavement installed on the grounds of safety. This left a large area of tarmac for which the council invited the local residents to submit ideas as to what to do with the space. A Community Garden was agreed which now provides a lot of enjoyment for local residents and passersby alike, with its striking displays of flowers, rich crops of fruit and vegetables and an abundance of herbs.

Reclaiming the space has been a labour of love for a small group of volunteers. The council provided the original structure of a wooden bed, used mainly for vegetables planted on a crop rotation basis, and a triangulated area which sports a lovely maple tree, two olive trees and perennial planting. Last year they built two raised beds on the space on the other side of the road. Being mindful of climate change these have been planted with drought resistant perennials, they also planted a small area with wildflowers. Naturally there are many challenges to maintaining this space which is so appreciated by the community. Ongoing costs are of course an issue. Historically they have received some grants from the Council, the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership and small donations. In 2018 they were the southern region winners for the Cultivation Street Community Garden competition. They won a Gold medal again last year for the South and South East in Bloom Our Community and Outstanding for It’s Your Neighbourhood and also two Gold medals in Brighton and Hove City in Bloom which is testimony to all the work that has gone into maintaining this space. But more importantly this small haven has been created and maintained for bees and butterflies and people passing by who can help themselves to some of the produce whilst leaving some for others, or simply enjoy the bright and verdant space and seasonal changes. They would welcome more volunteers and they meet on a Thursday morning.
They are hoping to serve cold drinks and cake and have some artwork for sale too! See their website here.

Garden 6...... 23 East Drive, Brighton

Walk through the rose covered arch where Gill Palmer will be serving tea and cakes on two lawns surrounded by well stocked borders with a cottage style theme. A shrubbery and water feature add ambience to this spacious garden with places to sit, relax and unwind, not to mention the gorgeous art they will be selling too with a percentage to Macmillan! See a wooden Playhouse and slide in memory of Grandad Peter, Gill's beloved husband who passed away a few years ago.

Garden 7...... 26 South Avenue, Brighton

Sarah and Martin have decided to open their garden again this year too! This is their garden in spring. Sarah says, "please come and visit in summer and see the different spaces where we have planted mixed grasses and perennials, roses, coastal plants, a willow arch and vegetables. The outcome of various garden courses that I have attended! There are lots of places to sit and enjoy a cup of tea and cake made from garden produce." There is plenty of on street pay parking by the garden.

Garden 8......27 Balsdean Road, Woodingdean

Beryl & Alan Brown will be opening their garden again in 2021. Take home-made tea and cake in the garden or on the terrace outside the Summer house. You can even visit the secret garden down the side of the property! A long garden with established trees and shrubs and a sun trap in the afternoon.

Garden 9...... 33 Wivelsfield Road, Saltdean

Chris and Steve are opening their amazing, work in progress, for the second year running, a 3 tiered garden which includes a large meadow and field leading out to the Downs. There are beautiful succulents in containers, incredible views from the meadow to both the ocean and the Downs and lovely planting. They will be serving tea and cakes too as well as plants along with garden art and craft items. Steep steps to gain entry to the garden.


Garden 10...... Driftwood 4 Marine Drive Bishopstone
BN25 2RS

Our patron Christine Walkden was at Driftwood for the opening of the trail in 2019.

Geoff Stonebanks's garden, Driftwood , has been featured on BBC Gardeners' World, was a finalist in BBC Gardeners' World Magazine's Garden of the Year 2016 and has been seen on Good Morning Britain and had a fabulous 8-page feature in Coast Magazine in 2017. You can also read many reviews of the garden on TripAdvisor. It has also won several national awards and featured in many national and local papers and magazines.

Visitors can enjoy tea on the beach garden or amongst the sumptuous planting in the back garden. Winner Best Small Garden in UK 2012 and owner of coveted Daily Mail National Competition blue plaque. Check out the Driftwood monthly updates in the national gardening magazine, Garden News.

Garden 11......The Walled Garden at the School House, On The Egg, Bishopstone, Seaford, BN25 2UF

Following its great success on the 2019 trail, Tim and Karen will be opening their gorgeous, work in progress, walled garden in the tiny hamlet of Bishopstone old village. Located off the village green, called The Egg, it has stunning views of the borrowed landscape of both the Downs and St Andrews Church. It is an extremely relaxing space and quite unique. Park in Bishopstone Road by the church but don't block the road to make sure you leave plenty of space for farm vehicles.

Garden 12......Seaford Community Garden, Seaford,
BN25 1AD

A community garden which offers everyone the chance to work on something positive in the community, and introduce more people to the joy and health benefits of gardening regardless of age or ability. Herbaceous borders, roses, alpines, a pond, a woodland area, fruit and vegetables. Plants and seasonal fruit and vegetables available to the public with suggested donations on their labels. Click HERE for their web site.

Garden 13......"Burford", Cuckmere Road,
BN25 4DE

Chris Kilsby has very kindly offered to open up his garden for the very first time on this trail. He describes his garden as having a symmetrical layout with well defined beds that each have a week or two of glory. The beds are not expected to look good the whole time, simple topiary and hedging provide interest when perennials are not in season. The plants used are traditional with plenty of box, roses, lavender and yew.

Garden 14...... Cupani garden, 8 Sandgate Close, Seaford BN25 3LL

A green and tranquil haven with a delightful mix of trees, shrubs and perennial borders in different themed blocks. Courtyard garden, gazebo, summer house, water features, swet pea arches and huge range of plants in all seasons. Plenty of places in sun or shade, to sit and enjoy delicious afternoon tea. Check out their garden website here .


Garden 15...... Martlets, The Broadway, Alfriston,
BN26 5XH

Rosalind Danesi will be opening her garden again for the trail. Having enjoyed it so much in 2019, opening 1 day, she has decided to do both. It is a large garden sloping down away from the house with garden scupture dotted around with a pretty, small courtyard at the front of the house. Lots of plants for sale too.

When coronavirus hit, thousands of vital cancer treatments, surgeries and appointments were cancelled. This cannot happen again. Join Macmillan's call for urgent action from UK Governments to protect cancer services. Click image to visit Macmillan's web site

Never before have Macmillan needed our donations more!
After the devastating pandemic of 2020 and the significant drop in their much needed income to support those suffering with cancer, any donations you are able to offer can be made by clicking below.

Despite the problems in 2020, the group raised almost £4300 for Macmillan, thanks primarily to Group Chair Geoff Stonebanks's online fundraisers for his birthday and virtual tour of his Christmas decorations. Jan Wilks made and sold face masks in the first lockdown, Stanford & Cleveland Community Garden sold plants all summer, Beryl Brown made and sold gorgeous Christmas cake and Adam and Dan from 11 Rugby Road made a good donation too. All this in addition to the monies raised from the virtual tour garden trail tours.

You can still view these short virtual garden films here.

Below, our Patron, Christine Walkden, cutting the ribbon to open the last trail in July 2019 trail at Driftwood with trail organiser, Geoff Stonebanks and Ruth Leonard (Head of Volunteering Development at Macmillan).

The generous people of Sussex raised £3.7m to help fund the building of the Macmillan Horizon Centre, but more is still needed. The running costs of the centre are covered by Macmillan Cancer Support, and services provided by a team of skilled local volunteers. Macmillan is funded solely by donations and the running costs of the centre are over £650,000 per annum. All monies raised from this trail will support Macmillan in it's operation.

All the monies raised from entrance fees to the gardens, monies raised by selling raffle tickets, along with the proceeds from the sales of teas and coffees will go towards maintaining and operating the new Cancer Support Centre in Brighton. Any stalls operated in the gardens will donate a percentage of their proceeds to the charity as well.

In addition to the monies raised on the trail Geoff Stonebanks also raises money for Macmillan through income from private visits to his own garden, Driftwood throughout the Summer, through raffle of artist donated pieces and proceeds from the sale of tea and cakes at many charity openings. Over £85000 raised to date!

In December 2017, trail organiser, Geoff Stonebanks, received an invitation from Buckingham Palace. His Royal Highness, Prince Charles invited him to a reception for Macmillan Cancer Support in January 2018. Macmillan said it was a thank you for him having made a significant difference to the charity and to those suffering with cancer! Read all about his experience visiting the Palace here.

It was an amazing evening for Geoff at Buckingham Palace, in January 2018, meeting His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, at a reception for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Geoff has attended a Macmillan Executive Team Meeting in the Horizon Centre, Brighton where The Trustees and Board met with groups of volunteers and staff at the centre and heard direct from Geoff about his fundraising work with the charity, both the trail and other events in his own garden Driftwood. He can be seen here with Chief Executive of Macmillan, Lynda Thomas prior to the meeting.

Ruth Leonard, Head of Volunteering Development at Macmillan Cancer Support said at the opening in 2019, "Fundraised income makes up 98% of Macmillan’s income, which means the dedication and generosity of our supporters like Geoff is absolutely essential to changing the lives of people living with cancer. Thanks to the effort of such incredible fundraisers we raised a tremendous £230.8 million in 2018. It is 2.5 years since we opened our dedicated Information and support centre in Brighton, the Horizon Centre and since its launch it has supported 100’s of people living with cancer in Sussex, to live life as fully as they can. Geoff has singlehandedly raised nearly £80 thousand for the Horizon Centre through his Driftwood Fundraising Group Committee, including £53,000 from this amazing Macmillan Coastal Garden trail alone. Geoff, on behalf of Macmillan, I’d like to say thank you."

Christine Walkden's horticultural knowledge, combined with her obvious passion for gardening is what has made her a TV and radio favourite, and The One Showís resident gardening expert, along with being a regular pannelist on Gardeners' Question Time. Autumn 2014 saw her in a 15 part series on BBC1 called "Glorious Gardens from Above". Christine said "I support cancer charities as we have had problems in the family so I know myself what people go through and also how its upsets families as well. I just hope it may help you." See Christine's web site HERE.

Surprisingly the BBC2 series Christine did a few years ago, Christine's Garden is not available on DVD but you can see them all on YouTube for free. Check them out HERE!

In 2019, Christine generously agreed to travel to Sussex to open the event in the award winning garden of organiser, Geoff Stonebanks. She said "Opening gardens and sharing them with others is a great treat for all. It generates a sense of community, camaraderie and interest in the beauty that gardeners create. I am thrilled to continue as patron for the fifth year, especially having seen it first hand."

Christine goes on to say "There are probably umpteen better gardens down my street, but it doesn't bother me - I'm not competitive or pretentious. I don't want a showcase garden. It's the relationship I have with my garden that matters."

Christine can be seen above in Geoff's garden with 2 visitors.

Over £85000 has now been raised by Geoff's Driftwood Fundraising Group since 2012!

In September 2016, Geoff and some of his garden supporters, were invited to a preview of the centre and were amazed to find that Driftwood Fundraising Group was listed on the roll call of supporters who have raised money for the centre. Sussex Committees have raised over £1.1 million and Driftwood £85000 of that.

Please contact Geoff Stonebanks, the organiser for more information on the event.