Open Gardens 2022 – Garden Descriptions

Please note the access limitations specified by garden owners and respect their wishes on restrictions to access for furry friends.

1 Sheila and Ron O’keefe, 1, Church Rise

New for this year a very well kept cottage garden with a distinct Japanese theme created by its owners over the past seven years. The small front garden is a mixture of flower beds and Cotswold stone. You enter the rear garden by the side of the house onto a good sized covered patio area which then leads to the lawn either side of which are flower beds, planted tubs, hanging baskets as well as water features and a selection of Japanese figures, ornaments, Torii gates, and a covered quiet area with gaily coloured lanterns. A Japanese style gateway then leads through to another well laid out area with paths, minimalist planted beds and the focal point of the garden a Japanese tea house.

2 Fred and Jeannie Bloomfield, 2, Church Rise

A colourful well maintained cottage garden. From the front gate a gravel path bordered on both sides by a large selection of perennials leads to the side of the house, where there is a lawned area, small fishpond with solar powered fountain, seating areas and a variety of planting including climbing roses, fuchsias, clematis and geraniums. This then leads into the back garden laid mainly to lawn surrounded by flower beds, plum and apple trees, and a pear tree that has partly reverted to a quince. There is also a patio area and a separate outdoor dining area. Finally beyond that is a Chicken run and a vegetable plot.

Please note paths are not suitable for pushchairs.

Walsham-le-Willows open-gardens. Visitors enjoying one of the gardens.

3  Catherine and Graham Knowles, Priors Close  

Please enter the garden at the bottom double wooden gates: This house has a beautiful walled garden with mixed borders, together with fruit and ornamental trees. There is a small pond close to the house. The ancient walls have trained pears, olives and 2 mature fig trees. There is a very old apple tree that provides a feeding station for birds.  The porch entrance can be seen as you walk passed the house to the double gates and provides a formal welcome of clipped box and repeat flowering roses.

4  Nick and Dawn Bramham, The Priory  

This large mature and unloved garden can be accessed from either Grove Road or the car park behind the Priory Rooms. Unopened on previous Gardens weekends it should be considered as “work in progress” having been neglected for many years. The garden is predominantly surrounded by a high brick and flint walls. There are 2 distinct areas, the “upper lawn” by the house and the “lower field” by the river.  Work has commenced on the upper area which is mainly laid to lawn with a new south facing terrace and border along the western wall. The lower area being roughly mown with some non-native trees such as Sweetgum, Northern Red Oak, Japanese Red Cedar and Bald Cypress trees.

Please note the bridge over the stream is open take care as you enter this way.

6 Peter and Henny Fenwick, Causeway House  

This garden was designed in 1970s  by Nottcutts and the trees and shrubs have reached a maturity. Access from The Causeway is via a drive that leads to the smaller front garden that features a rotunda for turning cars, formal lawn, conifers and a large laurel hedge at the northern boundary. What may be a great attraction is the recent addition of a series of enclosures for Mediterranean tortoises.  A covered wrought iron gateway leads to the south-facing rear garden with lawns and a wide variety of shrubs, bordered with mature trees. Features are a Monet lily-pond and the recent addition of an enclosure for the Giant tortoises, who can be viewed but not handled or accessed directly.

7  Four Ashes Triangle, 40th Anniversary Commemorative Planting

To commemorate the 40th year of Open Gardens the trust planted a naturalist border of flowers,  grasses and bulbs that start flowering in spring with cowslips and grape hyacinths, continue into early summer with flowering Alliums, Salvia and Verbena and end the summer with Rudbeckias, Sedums  and Anemones, to celebrate  the joy of plants. The planting is not watered, as the aim is to show  a sustainable approach to gardening and to provide pollen and nectar for insects.

8 Les Fulcher, Hill Cottage

A very interesting garden, planted mainly with shrubs, conifers, heathers and mature trees. Small grass pathways lead like a maze between irregular-shaped beds onto wooden bridges and walkways over two ponds full of aquatic plants and fish. In the centre of this is a lawn with seating.

Some of the bridges and walkways are uneven: please be careful.

9 Collen Baker, The Elms

A large well maintained two-acre garden and meadow-land. The lawn area is surrounded by some impressive mature trees including a mature Cedar of Lebanon. There will a barbecue, cooking locally sourced produce, and pizzeria operating on both days as well as refreshments and a fully licensed bar.  Light musical entertainment throughout the day. There will be displays of vintage and classic cars in the rear paddock. On the Sunday we have the Morris Owners Club with Monday the Jaguars Enthusiasts Club.

10 Ann James, Thumbit

A beautiful, very well maintained cottage garden, totally renovated by its garden designer owner. Undulating lawns, pergolas, topiary and pond give plenty of interest. The garden is full of colour and has been planted and prepared especially for the Gardens Weekend. It has been featured in ‘The English Garden’ ‘The Kitchen Garden’ and ‘25 Beautiful Gardens’ magazines and has featured before on television.

11 Penelope Robins, The Beeches

A three-acre garden, which has evolved over the past 60 years under the stewardship of the late Alec and Hilary Russell (the founder of the Gardens Weekend). There are a number of lawns at various levels, herbaceous borders, shrubberies, potager, summerhouse, wild garden by the village stream, shady grotto, water feature and many mature trees.

image showing a beautiful green lawn and old yew hedge with house and church in background

12 Bridge Cottage

Tucked away at the beginning of Grove Road and on the way to the Beeches there is this charming 17th Century house standing within a traditional cottage garden. The garden isn’t open this year but the cottage is described by John Betjemen as one of Britain’s top 100 cottages, it is idyllic and well worth a glance as you wander by.

13 Aline Odell,  Maplestead  

A long narrow garden offering surprising amount of privacy. Divided into three distinct areas, you are taken from the side garden by a cleverly shaped lawn into a small area protected by trellis, overlooking a colourful bed and small pond. From there the gardens opens onto a large lawn, protected by high hedges.

Image of blue cornflowes in white vase on table loooking through open gate in red brick wall out to The Street beyond

14 Mary Anstee-Parry, Beech Cottage

 The garden is also long and narrow and divided into two segments. The more floral, traditional garden is at the top but you can then walk through a gate to the second part which has, as its focal point, a walnut tree which provides a lot of shade…..but also makes it very dry in the summer.  Here there are some hellebores, ferns and the like and I love the woodland feel of this part of the garden. Here, also, there is an ex-pond which I have filled in with gravel but left the liner down so as to have a ‘bog’ garden. The end of the garden is my workshops  which I use for my wood carving and sculptures.

15 Nic and Mary Parsons, Appletree Cottage

Enter this deceptively large garden via a stableyard with hanging baskets, immature figs and horse trough water feature. Turn left to the newly developed ‘Limetree house’ latest addition, temperate plant house behind the now established mixed fruit orchard. Cross the lawned area with ornamental font and alpine collection edged by mixed flower bed. Continue through golden hop covered pergola, take the steps down into the sunken garden with rectangular fishpond hidden by the developed yew hedge screen.

Exiting at the far end into flower beds surrounding a dry river bed with wildlife pond and water feature. Through the gate enter a wooded area leading to Sussex chestnut railed vegetable and soft fruit area. Follow the brick path through various island flowerbeds returning to the rear of Appletree cottage.

16 Walsham Memorial Village Hal, Freeborn Memorial Garden  

Officially opened in June 2012 this beautiful and tranquil extension to the village Memorial Hall was designed, created and given to the village by Ray Freeborn. Entrance to this small garden is through the village hall. There is a patio area and lawn with seating surrounded by colourful flowerbeds and ornamental trees.

Please be careful going in and out of this garden as the refreshment helpers will be working either side of the entrance doorway.

17 Rob and Maggie Barber, The Old Bakery

A gravel driveway leads to along garden with steps and uneven paths, which follows a winding course of the deep and largely unfenced village stream. There are borders of roses, lavenders, fuchsias and perennials, a semi wild area full of snowdrops and primroses in the spring under a dappled shade of trees. Topiary, decorative iron work, chimney pots are a developing interest and there is a fine example of a Black Hamburg vine.

Steep open riverside bank, please supervise children.

18 David and Ann Daniels, Bridge House

An early Medieval messuage of approximately one acre, originally the site of the village blacksmith. The garden has been divided into manageable areas by the use of hedges, pathways and mature trees including mulberry and different mowing lengths. There are herbaceous borders, vegetable garden, orchard and natural pond.

19 Richard and Janette Winch, Riverside

Riverside has a large cottage style garden divided into rooms with yew and hornbeam hedging. The garden has been developed over the last 25 years but is still a work in progress! The area around the house features crowded borders of perennials and shrubs around seating and outside dining areas on two levels. Steps and a rose covered arch lead to a lawned area with further borders.

An inherited shepherd’s hut left by the previous owner acts as a cider wagon on family occasions. Beyond this is a kitchen garden with green house and raised beds. Continuing further an orchard containing apples, pears and greengages gradually becomes less structured and wilder to benefit insects and birds.

20 Rob and Karen Wheeler, Millers Arch

The newly created front garden, which can be seen from the pavement, consists of raised beds planted with herbs and flowers. The rear garden, reached by the drive at the side of the house, is very small and quirky. A raised lawn with a small eye shaped pond is retained by walls decorated in Gaudiesque style with colourful mosaics and render, steps by the side of this lead down to a gravelled patio area with planted pots. Rob is a well-known local potter and has a studio at the back of the garden. This will be open all weekend and he will be giving demonstrations of throwing and depending on the weather, firing. In addition he will be displaying some of his work for sale.

21 Anita Nichol and family, Cherry Tree House

A family garden that is slowly evolving as our children grow. As you enter the back garden, look for the well shed which houses a 15 metre deep well. The garden features different areas including a strawberry patch, container garden, greenhouse, borders and a challenging dry, shaded border complete with stumpery seating area. We have selected many of our plants with pollinators in mind and garden for wildlife by providing wild areas, nesting boxes, a bug hotel and a hedgehog home. See if you can find the three container ponds. There is also a fairy garden which may delight younger visitors but please remind them that the fairies do not like to be touched.  

Be careful of slippery surface of railway sleepers if wet, please do not enter playhouse.

22 The Walsham Play Park

The play park was designed with the input of 16 local children, whose ideas helped create a natural and exciting play space that encourages challenging play. Partly funded by the Open Gardens Weekend, it is a must visit for those of you with restless children. It is now about to be refurbished thanks to funding from the Lovells development and Parish Council.

23 Barbara Wills, Pound Cottage

A medium sized peaceful garden with a well-kept lawn surrounded by beds planted with a mixture of perennials, shrubs and ornamental trees including Willow, Cotinus and Buddleias. In one corner of the garden is a small fish pond. There is also a good sized, partially covered patio area, surrounded by brightly planted pots. Entrance to the garden is under a pergola/arch covered with honeysuckle and Wisteria which is quite low so please mind your head.

24 Angie Nice and Phillip Bennington, 3, Pound Close

A courtyard garden crammed full of flowers and interest.  Hidden in the corner of a small cul de sac, enter the front garden to be surrounded by a number of raised beds at different heights packed with flowers. In the middle of the paved area is a large Acer tree under which is a small pond, seating area and more beds. A gate leads to the side of the house with a number of sheds and pots. At the rear of the house is a decking area with seating overlooking a small pond with water feature stocked with koi carp and goldfish.

All the pathways in this gardens are at various levels with low steps leading up and down, please be careful.

25 David and Vieve Brown, 14, Palmer Street

You enter the garden from the side of the house onto a large patio with seating area and a selection of flower pots and planters. Shallow steps lead up under an arch onto a wide pathway which winds between raised beds and planting areas with Mediterranean planting on one side and vegetables on the other. The path then leads past a sunken trampoline (please do not use) and greenhouse on the left to a fence with gate. Beyond this is a grass area surrounded by narrow flower beds. At the end of the garden is a pond with ornamental bridge leading to a chicken/duck run.

Please supervise children near the pond.

26 John and Judy Ruddy, 13, Palmer Street

A colourful and interesting garden. The front garden is gravel with small raised beds, pots and planters, with a variety of colourful plants. The back patio area also has an array of pots, leading on to three greenhouses.  A rose arch leads onto a grass area with fruit trees, on your right is an aviary which houses up to 70 lovebirds. The path continues to a further three greenhouses containing chrysanthemums, cucumbers and more tomatoes. Finally at the end of the garden is a small bathing pool and summer house. John will be selling a variety of plants and vegetables.

Warning: please keep a watchful eye on any children under your supervision. Under no circumstances should visitors to the garden use the pool.

27 Ina Blyth, The Maltings House

A large, established garden, split into four distinct areas. At the front behind high hedges are a lawned area, beds of shrubs and a conservatory. To the side is a small rose garden. Directly behind the house is a paved area with roses, dahlias, fuchsias and greenhouse and behind this again and to the left there is a walled garden, containing lawn mixed flower borders full of dahlias, fuchsias, buddleias and roses. Mature trees, a vegetable plot and soft fruit cages complete this garden.

28, 29, 30 and 31The Maltings Wattisfield Road are a group of courtyard gardens within the grounds of the old Maltings which were converted into homes in the early 1980s.

28 Michelle Ogelsby, 3, The Maltings       

A small courtyard garden with an array of herbaceous perennials and annuals, and a large honeysuckle, enclosed within a newly-erected wicker screen fence. The garden has an old dry well which incorporates a feature lily.

29 Constance Whitaker, 5, The Maltings

A country garden with 20 year old Acers and bonsai plants which I am learning to cultivate on my own. As the garden is paved most of the plants are in containers, including white and blue flowering Agapanthus. Mature shrubs include Purple smoke bush and winter flowering Witch Hazel.

30 Jon and Jan Hall, 6, The Maltings

A compact cottage garden, unique in its slightly remote position from the house. The garden has a signature Judas tree against a flint-knapped barn, with a fine display of perennials, including dahlia and agapanthus. Over the entrance is an umbrella- shaped silver birch tree, providing a degree of shading. Along the south side are a variety of plants including a small bay tree and a large hosta bed, backed by a spreading honeysuckle.

31 Peter and Claire Maxton, 7, The Maltings 

A small garden that show you can still have lots of interest in a small space  with evergreen shrubs  such as box, juniper and rosemary in  large  pots and  height and colour provided by   different roses  and Japanese anemones. There is even an olive tree.  

32 John and Shelia Cumming, Huntly

A very well maintained garden, at the front is a small lawn, surrounded by a mixed bed of shrubs and perennials and a Mediterranean style bed of phormium and grasses. The rear garden is mainly lawn surrounded by mixed borders of shrubs, fuchsias, roses and herbaceous perennial as well as colourful dahlias and pelargonium. Directly behind the house is a small patio with ornamental pond, rockery and colourful tubs

33 Walsham Allotments

The Allotment Association is a group of villagers from all walks of life with a common goal, namely home-grown produce. Formed in 2005, with 20 plots each with their own shed and water butt,  it has evolved over the years with mature fruit trees,   a communal picnic areas with  wildlife pond, many greenhouse and polytunnels and some of the plots have been halved to make growing possible on smaller plots.

Everything from spuds to gherkins are cultivated on the site, with many plot holders also enjoying fresh eggs from their chickens.  All against the back drop of the brightly painted sheds. They are a thriving community so why not visit them at their Pimms and Produce tent.

A line of wooden sheds painted yellow, orange, not painted so natural wood colour, sky blue etc. – an agricultural version of Southwold’s beach huts. Many various plants and vegetables growing in front of all the sheds.

34 Mike and Sarah Cousins, Millbank

South facing and with excellent open skies in the evening, our garden is ideal for chilling with a glass of something and for entertaining friends. A couple of water features provide a relaxing backdrop of sound and the semi-mature borders offer a variety of colour throughout the whole of the summer.

A pair of sails give welcome shade for alfresco dining and a raised deck gives home to a comfortable seating area.

With access via a gateway just opposite the allotments, please pop in on your exploration of the Wattisfield Road section of Walsham’s gardens – we look forward to seeing you.

35 The Walsham Wildwood

 There will be a guided walk each day at 2pm. Do come along to see what can be achieved in 10 years from an arable field to young woodland. A community woodland, which has been partly funded by the Open Gardens Weekend, The Walsham Wildwood aims to improve further our village environment through the restoration of woodland.

Started in 2012 the wood has been planted with over 1500 saplings, whips and wildflower plugs, it is now coming up to 10 years old and is a much loved community and wild space for the village.  Many wildflowers have arrived under their own steam including pyramidal orchids and bee orchids. Sit on the bench at the heart of the wood and look south along an open ride for views of St Mary’s Church in the distance.

We have plans for autumn 2022 to extend the wood southwards as the Jubilee Wood – taking on a 2 acre former arable field and we are all very excited at the prospect. 

36 Alison Findlay and Steve Ayles, Millcroft  

Our small back garden has been divided to achieve the effect of more space, a shady seating area beneath a vine that provides shade in the summer and a place for house plants to enjoy the summer outside.  Through an arch way of chocolate vine and jasmin discover 3 round lawns, each with its own surrounding planting. Bamboos create a dappled shade area to disguise the oil tank!  An open sunny dry border runs along the south facing side of the garden with Mediterranean planting.  A decking area is shaded by a Paulonia and Bamboo with a small barrel pond for interest.

37  Chris and Mia Witham, Mill House  

Chris and Mia have lived at the Mill House for over 20 years. When they first moved in there were only 4 trees and one large shrub in the garden; the rest was laid with lawn. Over the years Mia in particular has developed their garden and turned it into a space that includes a pergola, raised beds and a small basketball court. Mia enjoys experimenting with plants and refers to her garden as her playground; a place where she can observe how plants behave in different conditions and this informs her work as a landscape designer.

38 Joe and Liz Mccann, The Chestnuts  

Enter by walking up the driveway past the house and turn left. At the top of the garden is a pergola and seating area with climbing roses, wisteria and brightly planted pots and hanging baskets. There is a large central lawn area with apple tree, beyond which is a small pond with water lilies and fountain. There is a rustic pole walkway with climbing roses, clematis, honeysuckle and fruit trees. On the left, against the house, are herbaceous borders with obelisks supporting sweet peas. As you go past the pond the garden widens, there are two large weeping willows, further herbaceous borders and a small terrace with a good selection of pots planted, with among other things, Olives and Cannas.

 39 Sharon and Gareth Rees, Claret House

Following the renovation of Wattisfield Wines to a residential property, the garden of Claret House was established in April 2019.  The garden has been designed and planted for colour and interest throughout the year and includes shrubs, bulbs and various climbers over the pergola.  Raised beds with scented plants and herbs are located next to a seating area

40 Reg and Mary Bradley, Sideways  

A cottage garden with mature trees, shrubs and well-kept lawns, giving easy maintenance. There is a good sized ornamental pond surrounded by rockeries with water features, hanging baskets and pots to add colour.  

41 Paddy Hamilton, Clematis

A small enclosed courtyard style garden, with raised beds planted with a variety of colourful herbaceous perennials and all backed by many different climbers. Another feature in the garden is a large working water pump incorporated in the raised bed.

42 Steve Colby, Top Shop

A long garden running behind the houses in The Street, which is full of surprises and interest. A narrow grassed and paved path leads down the garden off which are a number of small garden ‘rooms’ each planted in a very different manner. The path then opens out into an orchard area with various seating areas. The whole garden is dotted with quirky statues, sculptures and pots and is well worth a visit. At the end of the garden on the left hand side wrought iron gates lead into garden 43.

43 Ronald Higginson, Colby’s Mill

A very large garden of about 3 acres part of which is used as agricultural land. You enter the garden through gates from Garden No. 26 into what’s left of an old orchard which still boasts 28 varieties of apple, plum, greengages and quince. This leads onto a large grassed area with a hedged experimental garden where wildflowers have been planted.

The garden is undergoing a long term landscaping project, evidence of which can be seen by the tree and hedge planting. There are many sculptures and statues to give the garden added interest. If you follow the garden around you can exit past the house back onto the road.

44  Kevin Boardley and John Ward, Willow Cottage

A small cottage garden, approximately 11 x 12 meter’s, once shaded and dominated by a large willow tree which was removed early in 2010.  Design and hard landscaping were completed in 2011.  Outbuildings were restored and are now used as a potting shed, wood store and under cover seating area.  Planting is predominantly perennial to attract bees and butterflies the numbers of which are at their height in late June and through July when the garden is at its best.

The garden is on two of levels with an open well which will be fenced off.

45 The cemetery

A cemetery is not normally associated with an open gardens event but we’ve included it in our programme as evidence of where funds raised by our annual event are distributed. Originally consecrated in the late 19th century the cemetery and, more importantly, its impressive lych gates were positioned when the heaviest traffic on the road was a horse and wagon. However, 21st century traffic levels meant that the positioning of the lych gate proved unsuitable for use. Therefore the gate was repositioned in a delicate operation using a crane and a layby was created to facilitate modern needs. A major part of this operation was funded by the Open Gardens Weekend. Another addition was a garden of remembrance again partly funded by the Open Gardens Weekend. You are more than welcome to visit it if you have time.

Colour photograph of the lych gate showing carved roof and gate.
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