Shorelands Wildlife Gardens

 A Festival of Midsummer Gardens

The garden visitor is spoilt for choice this month with twenty gardens opening for the National Gardens Scheme in Norfolk and presenting a colourful and varied selection of styles and summer plants.

The highlight of the month is the “Garden Festival Weekend” on June 6th and 7th and Norfolk has six beautiful gardens open along with many other gardens throughout England and Wales in an effort to raise more money for the NGS nursing and caring charities.  Shorelands Wildlife Gardens in Langmere near Diss on Saturday 6th June, is a garden which has something for visitors of all ages including rare trees and shrubs and interesting wildlife.

Owners Ben and Sarah Potterton are famed for their free roaming animals, rare breed poultry and groups of free range monkeys! 167 Norwich Road at Wymondham opens over the whole weekend and has a tropical theme with owners who love to experiment!

167 Norwich Road

On Sunday 7th June you can view two lovely formal gardens for the price of one in the village of Swannington which has Manor Farmhouse and Swannington Manor. Wood Hill, Gressenhall, near Dereham is also open and is a great example of a family garden with plenty of interesting features both old and new. Completing the Festival Weekend is a day out at the seaside town of Wells-Next-the-Sea which has with five charming and contrasting gardens to view, all for the princely sum of £5!

Following on from the Festival there are some fabulous gardens to visit and here are just some of the highlights:

On Saturday June 13th the wonderfully romantic gardens of the 15th Century moated manor house Elsing Hall near Dereham should not be missed. On Sunday June 14th Thorpland Hall near Fakenham opens for the first time for the NGS and has 6 acres of stunning gardens full of colourful plantings surrounding a Tudor house in a superb valley setting.

Also opening for the first time for the NGS on June 21st is 9 Bellamonte Crescent, Drayton which is a large town garden with a spectrum of planting from traditional to exotic!

If you fancy a mid-week visit then there are two gardens opening at Marlingford, The Old Smithy is opening for the first time on Tuesday June 23. Owner Kirsty Reader has skilfully developed a real plantswoman’s garden full of colour and texture so well worth a look for ideas! Just down the road is Jean Austen’s renowned garden at 4 Mill Road which showcases just how much interest you can pack into a small garden.

These are just some of the gardens opening for the NGS in this busy month along with the other long-established favourite Norfolk gardens. Full information about opening times and garden details can be found in the Yellow Norfolk Gardens 2015 booklet available from tourist information centres, libraries, garden centres and nurseries. There are also full details available at

The NGS raises money to support nursing and caring charities and if you feel that you would like to open your garden for the NGS, or would like to volunteer to help, please contact County Organisers Fiona Black 01692 650247 or Julia Stafford Allen 01760 755334

Thur 4 June

SHERINGHAM PARK, Upper Sheringham NR26 8TL. 

Open (10-5).  Adm £5 per car, chd free. Light refreshments in Courtyard Café

80 acres of species rhododendron, azalea and magnolia. Also numerous specimen trees incl handkerchief tree. Viewing towers, waymarked walks, sea and parkland views. No adm charge to Sheringham Park, car park charge payable, £5 for non NT members.

Sat 6 June


Open (10-5). Adm £4, chd £3. Light refreshments. 

Shorelands offers something for visitors of all ages, borders overflowing with unusual perennials, gravel beds with grasses and bulbs, shrubberies containing rare and unusual trees. A new edible garden is situated next to a collection of rare breed poultry. The garden is predominantly known for its free-roaming animals that incl flocks of cranes on the lawns and marmoset monkeys in the trees.

Sat 6, Sun 7 June

167 NORWICH ROAD, Wymondham NR18 0SJ. 

Open (10-5).  Adm £3, chd free. Home-made teas and plants for sale.

This ¼-acre town garden was created from a blank canvas 12 years ago, and contains meandering pathways round a circular lawn to a secluded tropical haven, on to a sunken pergola, greenhouse with cacti collection and fruit and vegetable plot.

Sun 7 June

MANOR FARM HOUSE, Swannington NR9 5NR. 

Open (11-5). Combined adm with Swannington Manor £5, chd free. Home-made teas, plants for sale.

Small garden including knot garden with central fountain, rose garden enclosed by hornbeam hedging, and terrace with large pots of lavender and agapanthus. Access to the Romantic Garden Nursery, which adjoins the garden.


Open (11-5). Combined adm with Manor Farm House £5, chd free. Light refreshments.

The C17 manor house (not open) creates a stunning backdrop to this romantic garden which is framed by extensive 300yr old hedges, thought to be unique in this country. Mixed shrub and herbaceous borders, water garden, sunken rose and knot gardens, specimen trees and sloping lawns combine to make this garden both delightful and unusual. Once again this year the gardens will provide a stunning backdrop to wonderful outdoor works by local artists from NOVA – North Norfolk Organisation for Visual Artists.


Open (11-5). Combined adm £5, chd free Home-made teas at Bishop Ingle House. Of the five in the group four are small town gardens and one is somewhat larger: all demonstrate a variety of design and planting approaches which include ‘cottage’, herbaceous borders, shrub and fruit, with two of the gardens providing different ‘rooms’.

WOOD HILL, Hill Farm, Gressenhall, East Dereham NR19 2NR. 

Open (12-5.30). Adm £4, chd free, home-made teas and plants for sale.

3 acres, the garden is set in mature parkland, incl water features, statues/stones, lily pond, varied rose gardens, yew hedging, vegetable garden, lawns with floodlighting for mature hardwood trees. One of East Anglia’s oldest Tulip trees, beautiful Oaks and Copper Beech.

Sat 13 June

ELSING HALL GARDENS,  Elsing, Dereham NR20 3DX.

Open(11-5). Adm £4, chd free, home-made teas.

10 acre garden and 10 acre park surrounding C15 fortified manor house (not open) with working moat. Significant collection of old roses, walled garden, formal garden, marginal planting, Gingko avenue, viewing mound, moongate, interesting pinetum and terraced garden.

Sun 14 June

THORPLAND HALL, Thorpland, Fakenham NR21 0HD. 

Open (2-5.30). Adm £5, chd free. Home-made teas.

Mature English garden in a superb setting, containing ruins of an old chapel, and surrounding a fine Tudor house (not open). The 6 acres of garden, with some recent re-planting, incl peony beds, herbaceous borders and a rose garden. The walled garden is in full working order and kept to a high standard. A small lake, and nearby restored shepherd’s hut, are surrounded by interesting trees and shrubs.

Tue 16 June

CHAUCER BARN, Gresham NR11 8RL. 

Open (2-6.30). Adm £3.50, chd free, home-made teas.

5-acre garden created by owner over 20 years in ruins of farmyard. An uphill drive flanked by topiary leads to award winning barn conversion. Knot/herb garden leads to lawn with walled herbaceous borders and pergola leading through contemporary topiary garden to stunning views over rolling hills to woodland. Woodland path leads downhill to wild flower meadow and young arboretum.

Sun 14, Wed 17 June

HIGH HOUSE GARDENS, Blackmoor Row, Shipdham, IP25 7PU. 

Open (2-5.30). Adm £4, chd free Home-made teas and plants for sale.

Plantsman’s garden with colour-themed herbaceous borders with extensive range of perennials. Box-edged rose and shrub borders. Woodland garden, pond and bog area. Newly-planted orchard and vegetable garden. Wildlife area. Glasshouses.

Wed 17 June

NARBOROUGH HALL, Main Road, Narborough PE32 1TE. 

Open (11-5).  Adm £5, chd free. Light refreshments

Gently evolving romantic English garden. Herbs, wild flowers and fruit are planted throughout, with yew hedging and sumptuous herbaceous borders. Lake, river and woodland walks, ancient parkland, willow sculpture. Subtle and unusual colour schemes, lots of planting for wildlife, particularly in the gravel paths and the ‘wild at heart’ garden.

Sun 21 June

9 BELLOMONTE CRESCENT, Drayton, Norwich NR8 6EJ.

Open (11-4.30). Adm £3, chd free, home-made teas, plants for sale.

1.5 acre garden with deep mixed borders of traditional shrubs, perennials and exotic mediterranean plants. A large deck overlooks main lawn with planted pergolas. Borrowed landscape with views of Drayton church give interest and privacy. Terraced upper garden with fruit and vegetables and secluded courtyard.

BLICKLING LODGE, Blickling, Norwich NR11 6PS.

Open (2-5.30).  Adm £4.50, chd free, home-made teas, plants for sale.

Georgian house (not open) set in 17 acres of parkland incl cricket pitch, mixed border, walled kitchen garden, yew garden, new woodland/water garden and river walks 


Open (11-5). Adm £5, chd free. home-made teas, plants for sale.

Charming 4-acre garden surrounds an attractive farmhouse, with many interesting features: Formal quadrants with obelisks, ‘Hot Spot’ with grasses and gravel, small arboretum with specimen trees, pleached lime walk, vegetable parterre and rose tunnel. Unusual ‘Taj’ garden with old-fashioned roses, tree peonies, lilies and pond. Small herd of Formosan Sika deer.

Tue 23 June

4 MILL ROAD Marlingford NR9 5HL. 

Open (10.30-4.30). Combined adm with The Old Smithy £5, chd free. Home-made teas.

Take home ideas from this small garden packed with unusual features. Designed as a collection of garden rooms divided by hedges, paths, arches and pleached limes. Colour-themed borders, Japanese garden, pond, vegetables and fruit. Wind sculpture. A children’s trail and new colour scheme for 2015.

THE OLD SMITHY, Marlingford, Norwich NR9 5HL. 

Open (10.30-4.30). Combined adm with 4 Mill Road £5, chd free. Home-made teas at 4 Mill Road, also light refreshments.

A garden for the family designed by a plantsman, with unusual cottage garden perennials and shrubs. Large marsh-facing border filled with colour for all seasons. Woodland planting, specimen trees, stumpery, vegetables and hens.


Thur 25 June

MANNINGTON HALL ,nr Saxthorpe/Corpusty NR11 7BB. 

Open Evening (5-9).  Adm £6, chd free. Light refreshments, plants for sale.

20 acres feature shrubs, lake, trees and roses. Heritage rose and period gardens. Borders. Sensory garden. Extensive countryside walks and trails. Moated manor house and Saxon church with C19 follies.

Sat 27, Sun 28 June

THE BEAR SHOP, Elm Hill, Norwich NR3 1HN. 

Open (11-4.30). Adm £3, chd free. Teas, plants for sale.

Considered to be based on a design by Gertrude Jekyll, a small terraced garden behind a C15 house in the historic Cathedral Quarter of Norwich. Enjoy the tranquillity of the riverside.

Sun 28 June

HEGGATT HALL, Horstead NR12 7AY. 

Open (12-5). Adm £4, chd free. Light refreshments, plants for sale.

Elizabethan house (not open) set in large gardens surrounded by parkland with ancient chestnut trees. Herbaceous border, sunken garden. Walled knot/rose garden leading into kitchen garden with wisteria walk and further flower beds

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