Pictures by Graham Boutell and Colin Pusey
9th July 2016
Rosemary Roe welcomed us on arrival and gave a brief history of how the garden has developed.
The original field was full of bramble and fallen fruit trees so her farmer father helped to level and clear the land. To provide a windbreak she planted leylandii, which she later regretted, so as a Christmas present 15 years ago, her farmer brother removed the 53 trees! Rosemary apologised for any weeds and for the ground elder but said she maintains the garden herself with help from Doug, her gardener. We were informed that ground elder can be eaten! The green in front of the farm is a private green, one of only six in the country.
On retirement, Rosemary did a 5-day course on garden design which she found most beneficial so she started to develop a spring border. When the farm was sold 8 years ago she purchased a small parcel of land from the agent. On return from a visit to Highgrove she developed her own hexagon water feature to be viewed from her window. The garden borders are kidney-shaped or curved and billowing with herbaceous perennials, shrubs, roses and trees. Hidden paths meandered through the beds.
A pond with a seat, facing the setting sun over the open countryside, had a bed of extremely large and well-kept hostas with no sign of slug damage. Ligularia “The Rocket” positively zoomed skyward.
The stumpery was lush with ferns, honeysuckle and Hydrangea arborescens “Annabelle”. The courtyard had containers of pelargoniums and the gravel garden was suitably planted with Mediterranean style plants. There was also a newly planted meadow and a small vegetable area.
I particularly liked the idea of attaching a piece of guttering to a wall a couple of feet off the ground which was planted up with various house leeks - most novel.
Doug, who is passionate about hostas, had many planted in containers and there was the added bonus of some to buy. He had a few I did not know. A tip he gave on the healthy state of the hostas by the pond was to give a generous mulch to them just as the spikes begin to burst forth from the ground. This feeds the plants and also deters any molluscs. He feeds the container hostas well and also uses a liquid deterrent for small molluscs to douse the plants and stop the leaves being eaten.
We were also able to visit the local church, King Charles the Martyr, which had a little bellcote and Georgian interior, luckily hardly touched by the Victorians. The dedication to King Charles I is one of only five in England. The barrel organ, still in use and dating from 1810, is the only remaining one in Suffolk. An unusual feature in the church were the complete set of box pews with matching triple-decker pulpit with reading desk and clerk’s pew. Doug was overheard telling someone about the church and referred to the pews as pigsties!
The beautiful hot sunny afternoon ended with delicious home-made cakes and a very welcome cup of tea.