Wereham Sign Gary Trouton

Open Gardens at Wereham

July 2004

Another delightful afternoon exploring the Wereham gardens and meeting the delightful residents

Sunday 6th June saw us return for a second helping of the wonderful Wereham hospitality I reported on this time last year. This time I took along my sister Phyllis for her debut as a gardens visitor. As she said "I have lived in West Norfolk all my life, I love gardening but this was my first visit to other people's gardens. I really didn't know what I was missing!"

This year we were able to re-visit some old favourites from last year and visit for the first time four new settings. How nice it was to re-new our acquaintance with the delightful Chile House. The hardy perennials were as beautiful as ever and the glass-house setting almost made you want to spend the rest of the afternoon sitting in there in splendid solitude. Not that you would have found much of the latter with ticket sales again exceeding the 100 for adults and an un-counted number of children.

Flintstones has developed nicely over the year and has all the makings of another prize winning garden in the very near future. Scillonia Cottage, bereft of half of its management team who was deployed forward in the Village Hall tea-room was again a welcome port of call. Inglebright, on Cavendish Road was able, with the aid of photographs, to describe the development of several species including the wonderful Tea Tree (Leptospermum Scoparium) from New Zealand and the recently acquired grand-daughter shown in my photograph.

White Willows, the remaining stalwart from last year was, as ever, a shear joy to visit even though Barbara Key - star of the Sky Amateur Gardening programme introduced by Charlie Dimmock - was only released from hospital an hour or so before our visit.

Three of the four newcomers were to be found in a cluster in Back Lane. Russets featured some unusual wood carvings (by the late father of our hostess) and a special garden within a garden idea pinched from a visit to Geoff Hamilton's garden in Rutland. Nutkin Cottage was a delightful mix of old and new. The house, a recently built large detached family home benefits from a magnificent garden wall established several hundreds of years ago. The contrast between the modern decking and the ancient wall made for a most pleasing experience. And then, the last of the Back lane gardens was Crown House, originally the old Crown Public House, where we were welcomed by the charming young man shown in my photograph. With his hair neatly styled and streaked, he bade us welcome and then hoped that we would have a most pleasant afternoon; and so we did.

Pausing only for tea and cakes in the Village Hall, served by the three stalwarts in my photograph, we sauntered off to what we stupidly imagined was a small property on Lynn Road. I have driven by Casa Mia a thousand times and never dreamed that such a splendid garden existed beyond the sight line visible from Lynn Road. Jane Cowieson has developed the almost two acre plot into a veritable paradise of formal and informal garden, an enormous partly covered-in pond ably protected from strong sunlight by the immaculate cut-roof, and splendid rolling lawns. We spent so much time trying to take in all the sights that I suspect we almost outstayed our welcome!

On our return home, the visit to Wereham was the only topic of conversation over a small family barbeque. Once again, we were totally overwhelmed by the wonderful welcome we received at every garden we visited and the pleasure with which we visitors were received by one and all. I can only recommend most strongly that Pump readers take the opportunity offered by the next Wereham Open Gardens to enjoy a wonderful afternoon spent amongst beautiful flowers and lovely people. And to cap it all, the event raised a magnificent £356.50 for church funds.

Ray Thompson

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