East Ruston, The Old Vicarage Garden

The Old Vicarage Garden in East Ruston, Norfolk, is a remarkable and amazing achievement. I visited on a hot day and in the smaller courtyards, surrounded by hedges and high trees it felt like the tropics! The gardens are only open from 2.00-5.30 and you need all that time to really enjoy the plantings and understand the garden. And a tea house will provide a half-time break.

The gardens cover c.32 acres and were established about twenty years ago. The first action taken by the owners was to plant trees around the property, providing protection from the sea winds and creating the micro-climate so obvious on my visit.

The fuchsias were beautiful, planted in over-size containers and many years old. The container plantings reminded me of the importance of scale – to make an impact, even in a small garden, you need to plant big! I have no idea how to identify the varieties but will try with the help of this site.

Fuchsia
Fuchsia ?
Fuchsia
Fuchsia ?
Fuchsia
Fuchsia ?
Fuchsia
Fuchsia ?

There were many vistas and views and I could do a whole post – but I need more photographs!

Looking down the Kings Walk towards the house
Looking down the Kings Walk towards the house
The lavender walk - with a bit of Carolyn!
The Apple Walk – with a bit of Carolyn!
From one room to another
From one room to another
East Ruston Church in the distance
East Ruston Church in the distance

And plants which were beautiful on the day –

Clematis
Clematis ?
Waterlilies in the Exotic Garden
Waterlilies in the Exotic Garden
The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden
Rose
Rose ?
Astilbe ? with Allium seed heads
Astilbe ? with Allium seed heads

Angel's Fishing Rod

Angel’s Fishing Rod – Dierama

And plants which I have never seen before –

New Zealand?
From New Zealand?
From New Zealand?
From New Zealand?

I took away an idea for planting my patio in London – I need to think of BIG containers, and I need to grow standard and bush fuchsias.

A small terrace over three seasons

The back ‘garden’ in 2010 –

The back garden in 2010
Uneven paving and rough grass in 2010

Starting the hard landscaping –

The back garden in February 2011
The back garden in February 2011

Taking shape –

The back garden in March 2011
The back garden in March 2011

One year later –

The back garden in May 2012
The back garden in May 2012
After rain in high summer, 2012
After rain in high summer, 2012

All the plants are behind this year, and the hydrangea has not flourished, but I love the change. The anenomes are all staked and won’t be falling over this year, and the rose is starting to grow well.

The back garden in July 2013
The back garden in July 2013

David Austin’s ‘William Shakespeare’

My roses are flowering abundantly but the flower heads are so heavy the stems are bending downwards and when I tried to lift and stake I broke a stem. I phoned David Austin and was told that the roses will get stronger as they age, and that I should consider pruning in November, rather than February. I think I should also provide stronger stakes, in a kind of cradle shape. So far I can’t find anything on the internet…

'William Shakespeare'
‘William Shakespeare’
Three bushes of 'William Shakespeare'
Three bushes of ‘William Shakespeare’

I wondered about this shape, which I found on Pinterest –

small_rusted-iron-tulip01.jpg

Or perhaps a more natural material –

Hazlewood rose support
Hazlewood rose support

The support seems to look like this –

Willow garden cloches. Protect plants from animals, and/or provide support to plants that need a little protection from the wind, or a place to climb. 

Or perhaps a combination of the two, a vase shape, with an inner ring, and made out of willow, or hazlewood –

flower supports

Evening light

The light at the end of the day has a beautiful quality. The David Austin roses (‘William Shakespeare’ and ‘Graham Thomas’) are heavily in bud, and well-staked and sprayed, so I hope we will have a good show this year after the unkind weather last year.

Rosa 'William Shakespeare'
Rosa ‘William Shakespeare’
Rosa 'Graham Thomas'
Rosa ‘Graham Thomas’

I enjoyed the evening, and the flowers, with a glass of pink wine, but I would have liked to share the enjoyment. I remembered something a friend once said – ‘My soul is lonely’.