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


The Diamond Anniversary Annual Lecture Day of the HPS

Written by Chris Davies. Posted in Events Past

25th March 2017

Norfolk and Suffolk Group can be proud of themselves following the successful hosting of the Diamond Anniversary of the Society's Annual Lecture Day.

Of the 173 attendees, 53 were local Group members, showing their support. These included the ALD committee and all the volunteers for the day.

Speakers were Matthew Biggs on 'Lessons from Great Gardeners' and Alan Gray on 'What is Hardiness?'.

During the long lunch break Norfolk Radio was broadcasting 'The Garden Party'  from an adjacent room, and members could drop in and ask questions of the panel between lunch and shopping at the plant stalls, books and raffle, plus garden ironmongery, until it was time for the AGM, during which stallholders and other non-members could drop in on them.

New Hon Treasurer and Hon Secretary and their introductory speeches made the AGM a long one.

The celebration cake was ceremoniously cut by Flora Bloom, before the cake that was cut earlier was served with tea or coffee, Then Flora, second wife of Alan Bloom, and the other founders' descendants, Penelope Hellyer and Fabian Sambrook, were presented with baskets of our Norfolk and Suffolk Heritage Plants, with their smart labels, and one of the lifelike sugar-paste hellebores taken from the cake, before inviting Alan to give his talk. Alan was also given a set of four mugs sporting hand-painted characatures of his own cats, since he had given his talk free of charge. (Matthew was given a Heritage Plant)

A number of volunteers stayed back to help clear up, for which the Catering Manager was very pleased. I explained to him that most of us were old ladies with well-trained husbands.

Chris Davies



Indoor Meeting: Talk by Jamie Blake "Around the World in 80 Plants"

Written by Chris Davies. Posted in Events Past


11th March 2017IMG 1099

This was the title of the talk by Jaime Blake in which he described his choice of plants with reference to a world map, picking plants from countries and regions as he went, beginning with the UK, France and Western Europe, detailing several snowdrops and a favourite hardy geranium, before moving on to Italy and some of its anemones, asters and lathyrus.

Then there was Greece, with Acanthus, among others, followed by Turkey with alchemilla, hellebores and fritillaries, and their attendant Lily-beetles, leading onto the kniphofias  and amaryllis of  North East Africa.

After that Jaime moved onto Nepal and Northern India, noting an arisaema, adiantum and favourite miscanthus. Thailand raised another arisaema, and Malaysia the hardy begonia B.evansii.

China was the source of a number of lovely plants, including cherries, peonies and Hostas , to name just a few, whilst Japan was the source of astilbe and other miscanthus species.

The USA provided the infamous Leylandii conifer, but also trilliums, verbena, phlox and a number of favourite 'daisies'.

Jaime arrived back in the UK in Liverpool, mentioning a couple of aquilegias, explaining that

 Norah Barlow was the granddaughter of Charles Darwin.

For a longer round the world trip with Jaime, you will have to wait for the next newsletter.

Chris Davies

Breaking News on our Cotswold Holiday

Written by Colin Pusey. Posted in News

 2nd March 2017
Car Parking for the trip will be as normal at Notcutts.
Look there are a few places left why not come on John & Brenda Fosters fantastic holiday to the Cotswolds - Book Now !


Indoor Meeting: Talk by Jane Lister "Hoecroft Throught the Seasons"

Written by Chris Davies. Posted in Events Past

20170211 151218

11th February 2017

Jane Lister, of Hoecroft  Nursery and Garden, at Wood Norton, Norfolk, talked of the development of the nursery and gardens over the past 25 years, illustrated with slides from photographs taken by Brenda, who described herself as ' head- cook and bottle-washer'.

The Nursery focuses on ornamental grasses of all shapes, sizes and colours, and plants with coloured foliage, whether trees, shrubs or herbaceous.

Jane described combinations of trees, shrubs, grasses, other foliage plants and flowering species and varieties that would create an interesting effect at any time of the year.

Much of her material was evergreen, or gold, or perhaps pink, white and green, and showed what could be done with very few additional flowering plants, dwelling more on the shapes and textures, and contrasts of stems, leaves, seed heads and forms of growth in differing habitats.

Jane gave us a huge amount of information in the time, and a long description of plant combinations, which are more fully noted on the account in the forthcoming Newsletter.

Jane told us that the Nursery will be closing this year, but the garden will be developed further, for visiting groups. Take advantage of this place while it is still there!

Chris Davies