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Garden Touring in the East of England with HPSO

Touring in the East of England with HPSO
ARTICLE BY: BRUCE WAKEFIELD
Bruce Wakefield is an HPSO member, previous HPSO Board President, HPSO Office Administrator, and co-owner of Old Germantown Gardens.

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One of the benefits of being a member of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon is the opportunity to join one of its fabulous overseas garden tours. In 2019, HPSO returns to a region of the UK known as the “East of England”. Home to royal estates, historical towns and castles, impressive country manors, expansive wetlands and wildlife, this area includes the counties north and northeast of London such as Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire. Here we also find beautiful gardens, many of which should be on every gardener’s “bucket list”. This will be my fourth visit to the East of England. It has some of my favorite gardens. Here are just a few as seen on the HPSO 2012 tour…

Coton Manor. For me, this garden is the quintessential image of an English garden – roses clinging to the old stone walls of the manor, a stream and lake surrounded by meadows (not pictured), a wonderful and colorful selection of plants…and flamingos? Yes, if one has to have flamingos in their garden, they ought to be real ones!

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

Colorful clematis, roses, and campanula (punctata).

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

Yes, these are real flamingos on the back lawn!

Bressingham. This is the display garden for the justly famous “Blooms of Bressingham”, the gardens of the father/son duo, Alan and Adrian Bloom. There are really two gardens here – one created by each of the Blooms.

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

The front garden (Alan Bloom’s) has flower beds carved into a vast lawn and is packed with color.

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

The back garden contains the collection of conifers by Adrian Bloom. It is quite large, probably about 6 acres, perhaps more.

The Old Vicarage at East Ruston. This is a truly spectacular garden. One could spend all day here. It is a relatively new garden (25 years old?) that has expanded over the years to more than 20 acres. The garden is divided up into rooms, each with a different design and style, and full of interesting plants – many of which it seemed like they shouldn’t be growing in England! Each room/section was done to perfection. Very impressive. I can’t wait to see it again and find out what’s new!

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

Even the wood pile was a design masterpiece!

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

Nice little touches were found everywhere.

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

One section contained an “American West” garden with art pieces imitating desert bones.

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

It wasn’t just a show garden although it certainly was a show! There were areas for outdoor living and entertaining.

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

And, small vignettes were around every corner.

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

Plants don’t take a beat seat in this garden either. They are definitely part of the owners’ passion.

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

The garden includes acreage of wildflowers, too!

HPSO tours aren’t solely about gardens, although that is the common thread throughout. Cultural visits, quaint towns and villages, museums – things you would want to see as a regular tourist – are included.

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

The Norwich cathedral as seen on the 2012 HPSO tour to the East of England.

Touring in the East of England with HPSO

The reflection of an colorful building in central Norwich.

If you would like to join one of these amazing tours, join HPSO and ask to be included in the Travel Club! It is truly fun to travel with other passionate gardeners.


Categories: Garden Travel
Tags: english garden travel, english gardens, Garden touring

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