A mild winter so far!

Written by John Metcalf. Posted in In my garden

It was a bright mild afternoon here in Forncett St.Mary, Norfolk, so I went into the garden and took some pictures. Flowers shown include aubretia, erysimum, geum, hellebores and aconite.


click on picture for slide show -  photos by John Metcalf

Christmas Bash

Written by Chris Davies. Posted in Events Past

Winter Event 30th November 2013

About 60 members attended, bringing lots of lovely food to share, all of which drew compliments as we ate.

John Metcalf had set up a very educational quiz (ie: we couldn't do it!) of dead stems. I think the top score was 6 out of 21. ( Training course needed?)

Colin Pusey, his wife, Maria, and Lionel Ponder took care of the raffle, with an interesting assortment of prizes including a pheasant which had grown into a turkey, and back again, during the course of the day.

Ben Potterton was his usual entertaining self, demonstrating the production of three seasonal arrangements which he kindly donated as raffle prizes. This probably boosted the raffle proceeds.  Ben also introduced the self-explanatory term 'spriglet' and said that he was not a 'real flower-arranger', but a 'plonker'. He had a range of very non PC artefacts, which he used to identify the character of some towns and villages within the group, (lynching party from Ipswich?) - and who was it defined by orange string, or the plastic flowers?

 clickon pic to view

We also had an “ideas board”, and book where members could vote for some of our present activities or alternative ones, or write new ideas in the book. These will be considered at future committee meetings to see what the consensus is, and what we can do to brighten up our drab wretched lives!

After lunch, Andrew had devised a set of themes, one for each table of up to 8 members, requesting them to create a flower arrangement, prompted by Ben's demonstration, as a group. A vast amount of props had been provided by Andrew, plus quantities of greenery, dried material and frivolous bits for decoration, as well as quantities of extra material generously provided by members. We voted by placing a coin in the pot for the one we liked best. One group won by a wide margin. Ben presented prizes to the best three. I asked him afterwards which one he thought was best, and he said that the winning one had been 'outstanding' in it's flower-arranging quality. They were all interesting and good enough to take home, so each group agreed amongst themselves who would have their creation, (remembering to return to Andrew any special artefacts after Christmas.)

click on pic to view

Thanks to the committee, especially Anita , Cynthia and Andrew for the detailed organisation, and other committee members and the 'usual suspects', plus some new ones, for helping in the kitchen and clearing up. We all had a great day which has started us off towards a very happy Christmas to everyone.

Chris Davies
photos by Colin Pusey

The Old Sunhouse, Damgate, Wymondham

Written by Linda Hall. Posted in Events Past

The Old Sunhouse, Damgate, Wymondham
This well established garden is one-and-third acres and is surrounded on three sides by water -  large drainage ditches and the River Tiffey.  It also has a pond and bog garden.  Trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, old roses, vegetable garden, fruit trees, wild flower meadow, ferns, hens, quirky sculptures and interesting out-buildings.  The colchicums looked particularly stunning on this very warm afternoon.

A full report of this garden will appear in our next newsletter.


Click on pic for slideshow.
Photographs by Linda Hall

Henstead Exotic Garden , Aug 17th

Written by Linda Hall. Posted in Events Past

Exotic Garden Henstead

In the morning we visited this 2-acre exotic garden featuring 100 large palms, 20+ bananas and 200 bamboo plants.  Two streams, 2-tiered walkway leading to Thai style wooden covered pavilion.  Mediterranean and jungle plants around 3 large ponds with fish.  Suffolk's most exotic garden.  Newly installed composting toilet.

Featured on Gardener's World, Look East and in The Daily Telegraph and many other publications.


(Click on pic for slideshow)
photographs by Linda Hall

Gable House Redisham

Our afternoon visit was to one of our own HPS members' garden known well to many of us. 1-acre plantsman's garden of all-year interest. Colour and variety from shrub roses, perennials and interesting trees and shrubs. Large productive fruit and vegetable garden. Greenhouses contain rare bulbs and tender plants.

Featured in The Garden and Gardens Illustrated.


(Click on pic for slideshow)
photographs by Linda Hall

Full reports of these gardens will appear in our next newsletter.

Garden Visits July 13th 2013

Written by Linda Hall. Posted in Events Past

On Saturday 13th July we visited two wonderful gardens in Suffolk, both of which are also open for the NGS.

In the morning we were welcomed to Bays Farm, Earl Stonham.  This two-acre garden is composed of formal shady borders, themed beds, woodland and butterfly planting, kitchen garden, vegetable and cutting garden, greenhouse, herb garden, orchard and wild flower area (in a nutshell!).

The house is also run as a 5* bed and breakfast -www.baysfarmsuffolk.co.uk.


(Click pic for slide show)
photographs by Linda Hall

At lunchtime, for those of us who brought along our own picnics, we were invited to eat these in the beautiful garden of Mavis and Lawrence Smith, who are members of our group.

In the afternoon we visited Woodwards, Coddenham.  This is a year-round planted garden of one-and-a-half acres on a gentle slope, designed and maintained by the owners. Very well-stocked island beds, mature trees, shrubs, perennials, vegetable garden and many containers and hanging baskets.


(Click pic for slide show)
photographs by Linda Hall

Cheshire 2013

Written by John Metcalf. Posted in Events Past

A full coach party of our group left Norwich on June 21st 2013 on a four day trip to Cheshire organised by members John and Brenda Foster. Though the weather was dull the trip was anything but - nearly all of us came back with yet more plants after having viewed some wonderful gardens.


Felley Priory, NG16 5FJ (click pic for slide show)
A garden of 2.5 acres, tucked into the rolling hills with varied plantings among the topiary shapes.
photographs by John Metcalf


Alpine Plant Centre, S32 3ZD (click pic for slide show)
A very large collection of alpine plants in a scree setting
photographs by John Metcalf


Arley Hall, CW9 6NA  (click pic for slide show)
Double herbaceous border, a very large walled garden, large kitchen garden with wall greenhouse, plus an avenue of clipped ilex and a splendid house are just some of the pleasures. On our visit there was a large plant fair, what more could one want.
photographs by John Metcalf


Ness Botanic Garden, CH64 4AY (click pic for slide show)
Outstanding collection of Himalayan and Chinese plants as well as rhododendrons and heathers. Herbaceous borders and rose garden are just a few highlights from the very interesting botanical garden.
photographs by John Metcalf


Bluebell Cottage Garden, WA4 4HP (click pic for slide show)
A specialist plant nursery offering a wide range of perennial plants. A delightful garden well worth a visit and with a tea room
photographs by John Metcalf


Bridgmere Garden World, CW5 7QB (click pic for slide show)
a nursery growing nearly a million plants a year and six acres of themed, award-winning show gardens.
photographs by Linda Hall


Cedar Farm, NN14 2QD (click pic for slide show)
On a ten acre site, that was once a farm, a husband and wife team have made  a delight ful garden full of mysterious pathways and delightful border the whole plot well furnished with trees and shrubs.
photographs by Linda Hall

A full report will appear in our next Newletter