Kaleidoscope of Colour

Rhododendrons and azaleas are a floral triumph during May 2013 and this year promises to be the best display for many years. These plants thrive on the acidic soils often found in Norfolk and actually enjoyed the wet and cool conditions last summer! The National Gardens Scheme has several gardens opening where you can admire these magnificent plants starting on the Sunday 6th May at WITTON HALL nr North Walsham NR28 9UF where a carpet of bluebells provide an ideal setting for the rhododendrons and azaleas.

HOVETON HALL GARDENS nr Wroxham NR12 8RJ on Sunday 12th May has 15 acres of grounds featuring  walled herbaceous and kitchen gardens in addition to woodland walks featuring rhododendrons and azaleas.

On Sunday 19th May  HOW HILL FARM, Ludham NR29 5PG also has splendid views over the river Ant and Reedham marshes with Turf Fen mill as a backdrop to the colourful display.

Opening on both the 19th and 20th May LEXHAM HALL, nr Litcham PE32 2QJ the 3 acre woodland garden adds camellias and fine trees to the exotic mix with a crinkle crankle walled  kitchen garden,

SHERINGHAM PARK, Upper Sheringham NR26 8TL. opens on Thursday 23rd May displaying a fabulous  80 acres of species rhododendrons,azaleas and magnolias throughout waymarked walks.

On Monday 27th May at Bolwick Hall at Marsham NR10 5PU you can enjoy walks around the lake and view the rejuvenated shrub and herbaceous borders.

All the gardens will have a range of refreshments available including the renowned NGS homemade teas.

Sunday  5th May PLOVERS HILL

Buckenham Road, Strumpshaw NR13 4NL. Open 11- 5 Adm £3.50, chd free.

Home-made teas.

1-acre garden of contrasts, small C18 house (not open) with RIBA award winning orangery. Formal lawn hedged with yew and lesser species, huge mulberry, gingko, liquidambar and Japanese bitter orange, herbaceous borders with a range of varied plants and spring bulbs. Kitchen garden with orchard and soft fruits. Garden sculptures. Water feature. Cast aluminium silver birches. To the main part of the garden, some gentle steps to teas.

Monday 6th May HILL COTTAGE

School Road, Edingthorpe NR28 9SY.Open 11-5. Adm £4, chd free.

Cottage garden, approx ¼ acre, surrounding former farm workers’ cottages. Organically cultivated, never watered and densely planted with both traditional and unusual varieties of drought resistant climbers, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Fruit, vegetable and herb gardens, greenhouse and pond. A real butterfly and wildlife paradise. Small nursery. Member of Norfolk Cottage Garden Society. Garden Workshops. Featured in Amateur Gardener.

Monday 6th May PLOVERS HILL

Buckenham Road, Strumpshaw NR13 4NL. Open 11- 5 Adm £3.50, chd free.

Home-made teas.

Monday 6th May WITTON HALL

nr North Walsham NR28 9UF. Sally Owles Open 11-4 . Adm £3, chd free.Light lunches & teas

A natural woodland garden. Walk past the handkerchief tree and wander through carpets of English bluebells, rhododendrons and azaleas. Walk from the garden down the field to the church. Stunning views over farmland to the sea. Wheelchair access difficult if wet.

Sunday 12th May Clermont House

Little Cressingham IP25 6LY. Open 2-5.30 Adm £4.50, chd free. Home-made teas.  

Established since 1984, 13 acres. Woodland garden and walks with spring flowering bulbs, bluebells and shrubs; Arboretum, walled garden and mixed borders, lake, lawns and turf labyrinth. You can sense the close harmony with nature as you wander through the garden. Mown paths open up vistas as they weave through the maturing trees, wild flowers and water features. Stunning views across open countryside. Some gravel paths and steep slope to pond.


nr Wroxham NR12 8RJ.Open 10.30-5Adm £7, chd £3.50

15-acre gardens and grounds taking you through the seasons. Featuring daffodils, azaleas, rhododendrons and hydrangeas in woodland. Mature walled herbaceous and kitchen gardens. Tearooms open serving light lunches and afternoon tea. Gift shop and plant sales available.


Billingford, Diss IP21 4HN. Open 11-5.30. Adm £3.50, chd freeTeas

A visually pretty traditional English garden with herbaceous and shrub borders, Adm £4, chd free. stunning views over Waveney Valley. Also, a formal walled garden with shrub, climbing roses and clematis, box-edged borders and fruit trees. An unusual feature is the thatched roof dovecote in the adjacent park.

Sunday 19th May CHESTNUT FARM

Church Road, West Beckham NR25 6NX. Open 11- 5 Adm £4.50, chd free. Light refreshments, home-made cakes and light lunches served all day.  

A 3 acre garden for all seasons, created over many years by enthusiastic plant lovers. Lawns, formal areas, herbaceous borders, vegetables and fruit. Woodland garden, specimen trees and shrubs.  Plant sales and visiting nurseries at all opening. Featured in The Garden, Gardens Illustrated, the Norfolk magazine etc. Wheelchair access weather permitting.

Sunday 19th May HOW HILL FARM

Ludham NR29 5PG.Open 1-5 Home-made teas in Thatched Barn.

Broadland garden. 2 very different gardens around the house. 3rd garden started 1968 on green field site with 3 acre broad dug 1978 with views of Turf Fen Mill, R Ant and Reedham Marshes. Approx 12 acres incl Broad, 4 ponds, site of old Broad with 100yr old Tussock sedges 5ft tall, approx 1 acre of indigenous ferns under oak and alder. Paths through rare conifers, rhododendrons, azaleas, ornamental trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. Collection of holly species and varieties. Various very old stone carvings used for seats, excellent vistas.

Sunday 19th May LEXHAM HALL

nr Litcham PE32 2QJ. Open 11-5 . Adm £5, chd free.  Home-made teas

Fine C17/C18 Hall (not open). Parkland with lake and river walks. Formal garden with terraces, yew hedges, roses and mixed borders. Traditional kitchen garden with crinkle crankle wall.  3-acre woodland garden with azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and fine trees. A major new planting scheme in the walled garden.


Ridlington, nr North Walsham NR28 9NZ. Open 12-5Combined  adm £5, chd free with West View.  Home-made teas.

A tranquil 2 acre garden around a former rectory. Established trees and some topiary. Mixed borders of shrubs, perennials, roses and bulbs, raised vegetable beds. A peaceful spot for a cup of tea!. Stalham Brass Band 2-4pm. Childrens treasure hunt. BBQ 12-2. Gravel drive and some paths might be difficult if wet.

Sunday 19th May WEST VIEW

Youngmans Lane, East Ruston, nr Stalham NR12 9JN. Open 12-5 Combined adm £5, chd free with The Old Rectory, Ridlington.  

1 acre plantsmans garden incl borders with trees and shrubs under planted with carpets of hellebores and bulbs, pergolas with roses and clematis, greenhouse with many interesting plants, a summer border with mixed perennials, vegetable parterre, tropical border, orchard and pond. Gravel paths.

 Monday 20th May LEXHAM HALL

nr Litcham PE32 2QJ. Open 11-5 Adm £5, chd freeHome-made teas.

Thursday 23rd May SHERINGHAM PARK

Wood Farm Visitors Centre, Upper Sheringham NR26 8TL.Open 10-5No adm charge to Sheringham Park, car park charge payable, £4.80 for non NT members  

80 acres of species rhododendron, azalea and magnolia. Also numerous specimen trees incl handkerchief tree. Viewing towers, waymarked walks, sea and parkland views.. Special walkway and WCs for disabled. 1½m route is assessable for wheelchairs, mobility scooters available to hire.


Stone Lane, Brandon Parva NR9 4DL. Open 11-5 Adm £4, chd freeHome-made teas.  

4-acre, mature garden with large collection (70) specimen trees, huge variety of shrubs and herbaceous plants combined to make beautiful mixed borders. The garden comprises formal lawns and borders, woodland garden including rhododendrons, pond garden, walled garden and pergolas covered in wisteria, roses and clematis which create long shady walkways. Croquet lawn open for visitors to play. Featured in the EDP and EDP Norfolk Magazine.


Wells Road, Stiffkey NR23 1QH. Open 1-5 Adm £4, chd freeHome-made teas.

7 acre garden on a steep chalk slope, surrounding C19 house (not open) with views across the Stiffkey valley and to the coast. Woodland walks, formal terraces, shrub borders, lawns and walled garden create a garden of contrasts. Garden is on a slope which is steep in parts. Paths are gravel, bark chip or grass and may be uneven.

Monday 27th May BOLWICK HALL

Marsham NR10 5PU. Open 1-5 Adm £4, chd free Home-made teas.

Landscaped gardens and park surrounding a late Georgian hall and stable block (not open). The original design is attributed to Humphry Repton. The current owners have rejuvenated the herbaceous and shrub borders and clad the walls of the house in old roses. Enjoy a woodland walk around the lake as well as as stroll through the working vegetable and fruit garden.


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