A GARDENER honoured for his “exceptional services” is preparing to open for the summer season.

Geoff Stonebanks is putting the finishing touches to his award-winning garden Driftwood at Bishopstone, Seaford.

This week he was awarded the Don Mabey Award for “exceptional services to the town of Seaford” at the annual town forum.

Seaford Mayor Councillor Linda Wallraven praised Geoff for his commitment and dedication to the town.

She also acknowledged his tenth year of opening and said how this was the right year to receive this award.

Geoff said: “I am absolutely thrilled to receive this award and to be recognised in such a positive way.

“I love doing what I do and I am naturally very proud of Driftwood.

He has raised some £100,000 for charities, selected each yearby the mayor, with more than half going to Macmillan Cancer Support.

The next fundraising event is the mayor’s open garden trail on June 10 with nine private gardens opening to the public.

Geoff has single-handedly organised this event over the last seven years.

All money raised will go to Teddy Treats and Seaford Museum and Heritage Society.

His fundraising continues throughout the summer with other events in his garden.

Driftwood has appeared on BBC2 Gardeners’ World and was a recent finalist in Gardeners’ World Magazine Garden of the Year.

He also organises the annual Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail between Brighton and Seaford.

Geoff said: “June is fast approaching and I am busy getting Driftwood ready for the 2018 season.

“This year the garden celebrates ten years of opening and my charity fundraising will top £100,000.

“This has been acknowledged by my invitation to a Royal Garden Party in June at Buckingham Palace. I am looking forward to the day very much.

“This year, there are already group visits booked from Sweden, San Francisco and Dublin.

“The first visitors arrive on June 1 with the first public day on Sunday, June 10. TV presenter and garden designer Juliet Sargeant will be opening the trail on the day.

“There will be 13 other open days during the summer but many visitors choose to visit by arrangement and enjoy the garden to themselves.”

You can read more of the garden and all its events at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk

There is more about the 10 years at Driftwood at www.geoffstonebanks.co.uk/10th.html.