Events Past

Reports of previous HPS Norfolk and Suffolk Group events, as told by our members.

Garden Visit & Plant Sale: Fairhaven Water Gardens

Written by Chris Davis. Posted in Events Past

13th May 2017

Twenty eight members attended, and were taken on a guided tour, by Head Gardener, Ian. with information on the history of the gardens, the two types of candelabra primulas - P. japonica, which hybridised to give red and pink varieties, whereas the other gives rise to pale ones and other colours. They have self- seeded along the banks of the waterways. Of particular note was the Viburnum mariesii, with it's layers of pale blooms in the light shade.

The massive oak trees mentioned in the Domesday Book were examined, also the extensive quantities of Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton ?) and some very large plants of Gunnera manicata.

Ian explained that there were issues with the tidal nature of the water level - 5hrs after high tide at Gt. Yarmouth. Extra high tides had required digging out to raise levels and the use of board walks.

Willow and hazel were coppiced for various uses in the garden. They made good plant support structures and were used in a layer under soil to create new paths over boggy areas, since the continuous covering of moisture delayed disintegration for some years.

The vast quantities of fallen leaves were collected in December, turned out into piles  after some months, then the coarse material  sieved out, before leaving until the following year when it is fine and ready for sale.

Boat trips were available, and it was encouraging to note that up to two dogs could be taken on board.

The Plant Sale was also managed by a few other members who did not attend the walk. There were plenty of nice plants, thanks to the time and energy of members who kindly brought them along for fund-raising. There was a continuous trickle of customers throughout the period and a total of approximately £100 was raised. In addition, two of Len Speller's Acer collection, and a couple of the large pots were sold. ( The proceeds from these go back to Pat Speller.)

Chris Davies


Garden Visit: Chestnut Farm, Beckham

Written by Margaret Tyler. Posted in Events Past

8th April 2017

20170408 161715The North Norfolk countryside was looking at its best as we drove to Chestnut Farm on a sunny and warm spring day.  We were greeted by our hosts, John and Judy's and divided into two groups for a guided tour of this three acre garden.  

John and Judy's have gardened here for 54 years and trees  they planted as saplings are now stately giants.  The garden is mostly informal in character, but near the house is a sunny area with paved paths and now full of tulips and other spring flowers including muscari Saffier, which John told us is sterile.  Useful information if you love to grow them, but don't want them seeding everywhere.  Much admired were the white and pale yellow double primroses along one of the paths.

In the woodland part of the garden many interesting shrubs have been planted enjoying the dappled shade cast by mature trees, including stachyurus salicifolius - so much more graceful than other forms of this interesting plant.  A very large skimmia Kew Green had been planted some years ago,  I had no idea they could grow so large, likewise Pittosporum Tom Thumb, my five year old plant is less than two foot high, at Chestnut Farm, after 35 years it is about twelve foot tall.  In the understorey,  many herbaceous perennials were flowering, including chrysosplenum davidiaum, saruma henri and scilla bithynica had spread and made a large, attractive patch in dappled shade.

The front lawn was dominated by a magnolia x soulangeana in full flower and a border shaded by the Chestnut trees which give the farm it's name, was filled with anemone blanda  and other ephemeral spring flowers which will be strimmed to the ground when they have finished flowering.

Finally, a relaxing cup of tea and a slice of cake on the back lawn, and a closer examination of the pots and troughs of alpines and dwarf bulbs that Judy grows.  On the back of the house rosa Maigold and a purple wisteria were just showing colour and will look magnificent in a week or so's time.

If you were unable to make this trip the garden will be open again on Monday, May 29th and  Sunday, July the 9th, well worth a visit

Margaret Tyler