I recently responded to a challenge from fellow blogger, ‘The Anxious Gardener’, to name my favourite garden. This was a light-hearted way of getting people to enter a competition to win a copy of the recent publication ‘The New English Garden’.

The competition was a ‘name out of the hat’ affair so I stood as much chance as winning as the other 30-odd entrants (and I didn’t win, so there’s another item for the Christmas list). Notwithstanding that, I thought I’d try to do the request justice and thought long and hard about where, if any one ‘where’ stood out in front of the many gardens I’ve visited, read about, seen films and pictures of.

It took some time…

In the end I came up with my nomination and set it out here and the reasons why it came out top. Oh, and I thought I’d share some pics with you too. I hope that you enjoy them.

I’ve visited and seen a few gardens over the years and it’s tricky finding one that I’d call a favourite – some have great borders or other spaces, configurations of plants, superb features and so on. Maybe its because it’s relatively fresh in my mind, but the one that does stand out is Felbrigg walled garden in Norfolk (also a local one to me and so visited quite often).

Why? Well I guess it’s the way the garden team (including volunteers and community gardeners), have managed to create a space that meets so many different needs and in a way that seems to hang together naturally:

* a warm, contained, red brick walled space, with a fountain and dovecote as strong structural elements
* glasshouses with old favourite, traditional exotics and other ‘interesting’ plants
* community food growing in plots that are obviously lovingly cared for
* a children’s gardening area complete with digging pits, tools, washing facilities and novelties such as chickens running free, willow teepees and tunnels
* newer areas set out with mediterranean – style planting, meadows and feature shrubs
* plenty of comfortable seats to entice you to stop, look and soak up the atmosphere
* lots of attractive information about the plants themselves (all the significant ones carefully and attractively labelled) as well as some of the current tasks in the garden and information/quiz sheets for the kids.

All in all a visit to Felbrigg is a tremendously rich experience where the general public, serious gardener and trained horticuluralist (and their children) can come together and have their curiosity tickled, be enthused, amazed and go away feeling regenerated.

Do you have a favourite Garden? I’d love to hear from you!! (no prizes I’m afraid)

Further information: National Trust website

Old School Gardener

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