Seven se­cret-ish gar­dens re­vealed in new book

EDP Norfolk - - Inside -

TRAV­EL­LING through Nor­folk you of­ten glimpse, be­hind high flint walls or top­i­aried hedges, a glo­ri­ous pro­fu­sion of flow­ers flow­ing into the dis­tance or a se­ries of serene green av­enues and lawns stretch­ing past bor­ders vi­brant with sea­sonal colour.

They are not ex­actly se­cret, many wel­come pay­ing vis­i­tors, but they are of­ten hid­den from the road or sur­round­ing coun­try­side by shel­ter­ing hedges and walls. In­side, gar­den­ers are cre­at­ing lus­cious, lav­ish land­scapes, in­spired by the plants they love, or the sea, or his­tory.

Gar­dener and gar­den writer Bar­bara Se­gall moved to East Anglia 30 years ago and was thrilled to dis­cover these idyl­lic gar­dens be­ing tended be­side cot­tages and farm­houses as well as in the grounds of grand es­tates.

Her lat­est book is a hymn to the hid­den gar­dens of her adopted home and in­cludes seven from Nor­folk. The pic­tures are among the fi­nal works of her friend and renowned gar­den photographer Mar­cus Harpur who died, aged 52, be­fore pub­li­ca­tion.

At HUNWORTH HALL, near Holt, a re­mark­able for­mal gar­den has taken shape be­hind high hedges. Own­ers Henry and Char­lotte Craw­ley re­searched the past of their home and de­cided to re­in­state its Dutch-style plea­sure gar­dens, in­clud­ing flow­ing lines of man­i­cured hedg­ing, twin canals and a folly, and fan­tas­ti­cally top­i­aried trees cut into balls, cones, para­sols and medic­i­nal flasks (Henry was a doc­tor.)

At EAST RUSTON OLD VICARAGE, near Lod­don, Bar­bara finds the stun­ning se­ries of gar­dens cre­ated from bare fields by Alan Gray and Gra­ham Robe­son. The maze of hedged gar­dens range from clipped pyra­mids of top­i­ary to swirling masses of flow­ers and fa­mously not only lead vis­i­tors through a suc­ces­sion of beau­ti­ful spa­ces but also ‘bor­row’ views of Hap­pis­burgh church and light­house by cut­ting win­dows through hedges.

At WINTERTON LIGHT­HOUSE she sees the site of Robin­son Cru­soe’s first ship­wreck – and a new gar­den which wraps around the re­cently ren­o­vated light­house. It is lush with tall sil­ver, mauve and green plants min­gling in curved bor­ders.

At HOVETON HALL, near Wrox­ham, Bar­bara finds a gar­den which makes the most of its wa­tery set­ting with a lake, streams and pools in­cor­po­rated into the de­sign and wildlife and wild­ness en­cour­aged along­side more for­mal plant­ing schemes.

At RAVEN­ING­HAM HALL the gar­den of the pres­i­dent of the Royal Hor­ti­cul­tural As­so­ci­a­tion, Sir Ni­cholas Ba­con has swathes of snow­drops ev­ery spring plus an ar­bore­tum, a Vic­to­rian-style stumpery of trunks and trees, a 19th cen­tury glasshouses pro­duc­ing mel­ons, figs and apri­cots, a new lake, sculp­tures by Lady Ba­con and a new time-themed gar­den in hon­our of the fam­ily an­ces­tor Sir Frances Ba­con.

At PENSTHORPE NAT­U­RAL PARK Bar­bara says the ‘un­ex­pected jewel at the heart of the site’ is the Mil­len­nium Gar­den. Orig­i­nally a farm and quarry, Pensthorpe is now a wildlife haven, vis­i­tor at­trac­tion and se­ries of wa­ter gar­dens and court­yards, pro­vid­ing year-round colour.

At SIL­VER­STONE FARM gar­den de­signer Ge­orge Carter has cre­ated a blend of sculp­ture, ar­chi­tec­ture and gar­den­ing, with out­door rooms cre­ated from hedg­ing and filled with more top­i­ary and lawns and or­na­men­tal obelisks, benches and pots.Š Se­cret Gar­dens of East Anglia, by Bar­bara Se­gall, with photography by Mar­cus Harper, is pub­lished on Septem­ber 7 by Frances Lin­coln. Bar­bara will be talk­ing about the book at Jar­rold, Nor­wich, on Septem­ber 28

Above: Hunworth Hall in the Glaven Val­ley

Left: Yew top­i­ary pyra­mids at East Ruston Old Vicarage

Left: Winterton Light­house

Top: Hoveton Hall Gar­den

Left: The gar­dens at Raven­ing­ham Hall, near Lod­don Be­low: Pensthorpe Nat­u­ral Park

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