Walsham Open Gardens – Descriptions 2017

visitors to willow cottage garden

‘…we got here early and we are ever so glad we did because there is so much to see and do…’


  • Visitors enter all gardens at their own risk. The Gardens Weekend Committee and owners cannot accept any liability for loss, damage or injury caused.
  • Please do not take your dog into any garden or take photographs without first asking the owner’s permission.
  • There is a regular free mini-bus service running around the village. Just wave it down if you seek a lift.
  • Members of St John Ambulance are stationed all weekend at the Memorial Hall.

‘…these Open Gardens are the best organised in the country…’

Open Gardens Descriptions 2018

This is position so far. The open gardens will be finalised very soon with two new gardens for 2018.
NumberGarden & DescriptionDisabled Access
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.
When Priors Close was purchased in October 2006 the house and garden were in great need of restoration. This has progressed well over the years and the predominantly walled garden now has mixed beds of shrubs and herbaceous perennials, together with fruit and ornamental trees. The main aim of the changes was to open out the garden and provide continuous interest through the year, whilst indulging the placement of Paul and Sue’s favourite species.
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3COLLEN BAKERA large well maintained two acre garden and meadow-land. A large lawn area is surrounded by some impressive mature trees including a Cedar of Lebanon. There will a barbecue and pizzeria operating in the garden on both days as well as a bar. Rolls Royce tours of the village start and end here.disabled access icon
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 lawned area with seating. N.B. Some of the bridges and walkways are uneven: please be careful.
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.
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A large open garden. At the front are a number of mature trees, a small orchard, a shrubbery and a good sized vegetable plot all surrounding a large lawn. Whilst at the rear, three patios overlook a large lawn surrounded by flowerbeds, a small kitchen garden, greenhouse and a new fruit cage. There is a novel water feature (the novelty being that it has no water).
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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. Thanks to the generosity of Dr Russell, the garden hosts many other village events including the Church Fete, Village Picnics and outside theatre. It is well worth a visit.
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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 ladies will be working either side of the entrance doorway.
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A gravel driveway leading to a long garden, with steps and uneven paths, which follows the winding course of the deep and largely unfenced village stream. There are borders of roses, lavenders, fuchsias and perennials. Topiary, decorative ironwork and chimney pots are a developing interest. The former vegetable garden is reverting nicely to a primrose meadow with mown paths under the dappled shade of trees. There is a Black Hamsburg grape in the Conservatory.
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. The Walsham History Group will be displaying Information and Publications for sale in this garden.
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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.
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.
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New for this year a courtyard style garden crammed full of flowers, vegetables, pots, baskets and interest. Hidden in the corner of a small cul de sac you enter the front garden and are immediately surrounded by a number of raised beds at different heights packed with a wide variety of annual and herbaceous 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 planted with tomatoes and beans. 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 surrounded by pots filled with flowers vegetables and ornamental trees. There is also small vegetable garden, trellis covered by clematis and honeysuckle, a banana plant and another small covered seating area. We defy you to find a piece of bare earth anywhere in this garden. NB All the pathways in this gardens are at various levels with low steps leading up and down, please be careful.
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 it is quite low so please mind your head.
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A really colourful and interesting garden full of surprises. The front garden is mainly laid to gravel and used for car parking however around the boundaries are small raised beds, pots and planters. Along the side of the house there is a huge array of pots and planters arranged at different heights all crammed full with a variety of colourful plants including begonias, fuchsias, lillies, hostas and many more. The back patio area is again partly covered with a further array of pots, from here a narrow garden path leads you up the garden between three greenhouses, the huge one on your right full of tomatoes, potatoes and an unusual shaped pumpkin. After that you walk under a rose arch onto a grass area with fruit trees, on your right is an aviary which houses up to 70 lovebirds. The path continues up the garden passing a further three greenhouses containing chrysanthemums, cucumbers and more tomatoes. Finally at the end of the garden is a small bathing pool and a chicken run. The planting in the garden is varied and very colourful with annuals, perennials, shrubs and roses. During the weekend John will be selling a variety of plants and vegetables.
Warning: As mentioned there is a small raised bathing pool in the garden, please keep a watchful eye on any children under your supervision. Under no circumstances should visitors to the garden use the pool.
New for this year a large cottage garden of approximately 1 acre surrounding a beautiful 16th century thatched cottage. It is a garden in the making, the new owners having embarked on a long term project of renovation and development. To the front of the house is a large lawn surrounded by hedges. There are a variety of fruit trees, brightly planted
pots and herbaceous borders in front of the cottage. In the middle of the lawn is a stunning marigold river which runs the length of the garden, planted with over 1000 French marigolds, it is a temporary planting and will be replaced next year with lavenders to give a more realistic river effect. Immediately behind the cottage is a very large pond surrounded by new and colourful flowerbeds. The pond is well stocked with fish and has a variety of
water lilies and irises. Beyond the pond is a large lawn area with apple trees shed and greenhouse.
NB The pond is not fenced and the only barrier between it and you are the flower borders. Please do not venture too close and keep children under strict supervision.
New for this year – The One Year Garden. Most of the hardscaping of this new build bungalow was completed by the developer in March 2016 and planting started in May/June 2016. The existing clay and flint in the borders (turned up from the footings of the bungalow) did not help and a large quantity of organic material was added to improve the soil. David and Jennifer describe it as a ‘bijou garden’ … which in their words means it is blooming tiny! But again, in their words, it suits a couple of oldies who are not quite ‘dribblies and can cope with the weeding which takes about 20 minutes to go all round. They think of maintenance as a ‘two gin and tonic input’. But in all honesty it is a fine example of what can be achieved in a new garden in one year.
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The Allotment Association is a group of villagers from all walks of life with a common goal, namely home-grown produce. Formed in 2005 and funded by a village charity it is now 90% self supporting with sale of produce and grants awarded by the open gardens committee added in. Everything from spuds to gherkins are cultivated on the site, with many plot holders also enjoying fresh eggs from their chickens. Encouraging families and children, smaller plots are available and sit alongside the full plots – 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 community woodland, which has been partly funded by the Open Gardens
Weekend, situated behind the allotments The Walsham Wild Wood 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 plugs. Our local children are part of the Wild Wood project through their Forest School programme. The gateway at the entrance of the wood, the inspiration of which has been taken from the Victorian gateway to the village cemetery. The structure is made of oak and incorporates carved inscriptions. Please come up for a walk around or just sit on the Queen’s bench and enjoy the view to the church. We now have a board at our entrance for you to write up your sightings and we will leave any current information there too.
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A very well maintained garden, at the front is a small lawned area 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.
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Helen Dougall’s studio is open to show her landscape paintings and batik wall hangings. She will be demonstrating batik, the technique used by children of Walsham school to produce a large Wallhanging commemorating the end of WW1. This work is hung in the Memorial Village Hall.
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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 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.
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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.
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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 No. 25.
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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. 24 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 Ella plants many sorts of wild flower seed. 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.
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New for this year, this garden is another example of what can be achieved in a small area in a short space of time. Whilst a commercial area serving customers the garden has been layed out on different levels with seating areas, intelligently placed trellis screening, planters, hanging baskets and raised beds all planted with a large selection of herbaceous and annual flowers, climbers and shrubs. Entrance to the garden is via a narrow pathway to the left of the cafe. N.B. As previously mentioned this is a commercial area which will be open during the weekend. Staff will be working there serving food and clearing tables, so please be careful and keep children under strict control.
A very small walled garden with various climbers, lawn, raised flowerbed and tubs. Gill is a spinner, and natural dyer, using material from her garden and local hedgerows. She will be giving demonstrations of spinning during the weekend and will have items for sale and order.
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 nine years ago 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 3 years ago 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.
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All images on this page © Kevin Boardley (captured at Willow Cottage)