A se­lec­tion of the county’s best

Flow­ers, foun­tains, labyrinths, lakes, top­i­ary, ter­races, vi­brant bor­ders and bor­rowed vis­tas – Rowan Man­tell picks some favourite patches of planted par­adise

EDP Norfolk - - CONTENTS -

BISHOP’S GAR­DEN, CATHE­DRAL CLOSE, NOR­WICH

The old­est pri­vate gar­den in Nor­wich has been de­light­ing cit­i­zens for cen­turies – and is now of­ten open to all in aid of good causes. This city cen­tre par­adise in­cludes spec­tac­u­lar bor­ders with plants from around the world, an im­pres­sive kitchen gar­den and rose gar­den and a grass labyrinth with a 400-yearold pear tree at its heart. See a hebe grown from a cut­ting taken from Queen Vic­to­ria’s wed­ding bou­quet. dio­ce­se­ofnor­wich.org/about/ bish­ops/nor­wich/gar­dens

BLICKLING

The gar­dens sur­round­ing beau­ti­ful Blickling Hall are so his­tor­i­cally im­por­tant that they are grade two reg­is­tered. Cre­ated over four cen­turies they in­clude mag­nif­i­cent bor­ders, a geo­met­ric parterre, walled kitchen gar­dens, an or­angery, a wilder­ness gar­den and ar­eas themed by colour and plant species. Just be­yond is park­land, wood­land, a lake – even a pyra­mid. na­tion­al­trust.org.uk

BRESSINGHA­M, NEAR DISS

Plant-filled is­lands float across the land­scape. See rip­pling rivers of blooms and waves of grasses, hid­den gar­dens within gar­dens sur­rounded by hedg­ing, all linked and em­braced by wide, green lawn-lanes. Foggy Bottom flows into the Dell Gar­den and the en­tire Bressingha­m site also in­cludes vis­i­tor fun rang­ing from steam trains to Dad’s Army mem­o­ra­bilia. bressingha­m.co.uk

BRUNDALL LAKE GAR­DENS

Vic­to­rian plea­sure gar­dens once brought 60,000 visi­tors a year to Brundall. The river­side gar­dens in­cluded a se­ries of ponds cas­cad­ing down to a lake, rock­eries, an ar­bore­tum and rare plants col­lected from around the world. Then they al­most dis­ap­peared – un­til the owner of one of the new houses built on the site be­gan a restora­tion project across sev­eral neigh­bour­ing gar­dens.

Open by ar­range­ment, ngs.org.uk

CORPUSTY MILL, NEAR AYL­SHAM

This dra­matic pri­vate gar­den was cre­ated over decades. Mys­te­ri­ous and star­tling, it is a paean to na­ture packed with fab­u­lous na­tive and ex­otic plants – plus a fairy­tale tower, court­yards, caves and even a tem­ple. Only open by ap­point­ment to groups. cor­pustymill­gar­den.co.uk

EAST RUSTON OLD VICARAGE GAR­DEN, NEAR HAP­PIS­BURGH

From Hol­land to the trop­ics and a desert to the Mediter­ranean, the mul­ti­tude of gar­dens here are as­ton­ish­ing. Sculpted from coastal fields, the in­ter­linked gar­dens are each a thing of beauty in­di­vid­u­ally, a won­der to­gether, and, a clever win­dow into the nat­u­ral love­li­ness of the sur­round­ing coun­try­side with peep­holes cut into hedges to draw in the nearby light­house and church. e-ruston-old­vicarage­gar­dens. co.uk

ELS­ING HALL, NEAR DEREHAM

A moated manor is sur­rounded by more than 200 va­ri­eties of old-fash­ioned roses, a wild­flower lawn, ar­bore­tum and for­mal gar­den with clipped box, laven­der, sage and thyme.

‘See rip­pling rivers of blooms and waves of grasses’

GOODERSTON­E WA­TER GAR­DENS, NEAR SWAFFHAM

This wa­tery won­der­land of streams, ponds, canals, bridges, flower bor­ders, me­an­der­ing paths and ma­ture trees grew from a damp graz­ing meadow. good­er­stonewa­ter­gar­dens.co.uk

HOUGHTON HALL, NEAR FAK­EN­HAM

When the foun­tain of flame and wa­ter is work­ing it is as­ton­ish­ing. Wa­ter! Fire! To­gether! Very high in the air! Even when the fickle foun­tain is not fir­ing, the gar­dens of Houghton are fab­u­lous. Go for the elab­o­rate walled and hedged for­mal gar­dens, the mod­ern sculp­ture col­lec­tion, the vast lawns, the wis­te­ria in spring and the white deer flit­ting through the park­land. houghton­hall.com

PENSTHORPE NAT­U­RAL GAR­DENS, NEAR FAK­EN­HAM

Four lovely gar­dens are part of the huge wet­land wildlife re­serve, in­clud­ing a habi­tat gar­den cre­ated to in­spire visi­tors to plant their own wildlife-friendly plots. pensthorpe.com

PLAN­TA­TION GAR­DEN, EARLHAM ROAD, NOR­WICH

A true se­cret gar­den – this hid­den city haven was sub­merged by a tan­gle of bram­bles and weeds for decades. Ev­ery time we visit we marvel again at the re­mark­able restora­tion which re­vealed a 30ft Gothic foun­tain, a tow­er­ing Ital­ianate ter­race at the far end of the gar­den, and or­nate stonework, fancy beds and a net­work of paths and steps and bridges at ev­ery turn. plan­ta­tion­gar­den.co.uk

SAN­DRING­HAM

Lawns, a lake, a rock gar­den, a bog gar­den, wood­land, a walled kitchen gar­den and year-round colour add to the rich­ness of these royal gar­dens. san­dring­hames­tate.co.uk

SHER­ING­HAM PARK

Next month the thou­sands of rhodo­den­drons and aza­leas in this coastal park­land will be in spec­tac­u­lar full bloom, but the en­tire park is one of the finest achieve­ments of land­scape gar­dener Humphry Rep­ton with stun­ning views of the coast and coun­try­side from spe­cial view­ing tow­ers, and from ground-level too. Unless you’ve a car to park it’s all free. na­tion­al­trust.org.uk

SILVERSTON­E FARM, NORTH ELMHAM, NEAR DEREHAM

Tow­er­ing hedges en­close spaces lit in myr­iad shades of green. Cor­ri­dors of top­i­ary lead into new sec­tions of lawn, leaf, sky and stone. In­ter­na­tion­ally-known gar­den de­signer Ge­orge Carter cre­ated this calm geo­met­ric gar­den, smooth­ing hedg­ing into orbs and obelisks, adding wa­ter fea­tures and fre­quent touches of hor­ti­cul­tural hu­mour. george­carter­gar­dens.co.uk

WALS­ING­HAM ABBEY

While all lov­ingly-tended gar­dens are mir­a­cles of na­ture, these take mirac­u­lous to a whole new level. We love these gar­dens with an­cient ruins set among lawns, flower-filled bor­ders, wood­land and a stream. They were once one of the most im­por­tant places of pil­grim­age in the me­dieval world. To­day the soar­ing gothic arch of the pri­ory and its holy wells stands in gar­dens fa­mous for their Fe­bru­ary snow­drops. wals­ing­ham­abbey.com

‘Tow­er­ing hedges en­close spaces lit in myr­iad shades of green’

TOP: The strik­ing gar­den at Corpusty

RIGHT: Els­ing Hall Pic­ture: Ian Burt

OP­PO­SITE: Bishop’s Gar­den, Nor­wich Pic­ture : Antony Kelly

BELOW: The Pri­ory at Wals­ing­ham has a long his­tory of re­li­gious pil­grim­age dat­ing to the 11th cen­tury Pic­ture: Ian Burt

ABOVE: The Plan­ta­tion Gar­den in Nor­wich Pic­ture: Denise Bradley

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