Garden Diary

“The impressive garden of a 15th century moated house… where old meets new”
- Jackie Bennett, The English Garden
"Inspirational gardens from around the world"
- Claire Takacs, Dreamscapes
"Dream gardens"
- Widget Finn, Gardens Illustrated
"Hidden and Romantic"
- Roger Last, Norfolk Gardens
"Water-encircled harmony"
- Annie Green-Armytage, Landscape
"Secret Garden"
- Uniquely Away Summer
"Paradise regained"
- Stephen Lacey, Beautiful Britain
“A blossoming romance”
- Tim Longville, Period Living
"Amongst 12 of Best Secret Gardens in the UK"
- Tania Pascoe, Guardian
“Perfect in every detail”
- Leslie Geddes-Brown, Country Life

26th May 2020

Lots to see in the vegetable garden and we are still picking Asparagus, Spinach, Artichokes and our first new potatoes.

The Cistus Monspeliensis along the greenhouse path is evergreen and the first plant came from Beth Chattos garden in 1994. The other plants are all from cuttings and we will start again replacing this hedge this Autumn.

The Delphiniums are appearing above the Iris on the other side of the path and the grass area in between is waiting for the Daffodils to die down.

As you can see we are still waiting for the daffodils to die completely down before we mow those areas.

The Iris in the Bog Garden are a sight to behold. We have the three swathes-deepest of blue and a variegated leaf and a yellow iris (but not the usual yellow flag) and one not yet in flower-Iris Laevagata Variegata, I. Yellow Gamecock and I, Pseudacorus Variegata.

Beyond them we have the Swans with their four signets. Please be aware these are wild birds and keep your distance.

The white rose growing through the Wisteria on the wall of the Hall is Rambling Rector. The rose over the front porch is Banksiae Lutea and on the wing on the left is Albertine.

The one way system operating in the Garden is for your safety. Please observe the signs and allow us all to enjoy a safe visit.

Stay healthy and good gardening,
Lynda Tucker.

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17th May 2020

Lovely warm sunny weather and the vegetable garden is coming to life. We are still picking asparagus but there is also sea kale (crambe maritma) and Spinach. Peas, Beans and Courgettes have been planted out and we are having to think about space. In the cold frame the Sweet Corn needs planting out but the lablab beans could wait another week.

Walking through the Cow Parsley in the daffodil area you must look back at the magnificent Paulownia which is in flower. Its purple foxglove like flowers which give it its name – the foxglove tree and it is a joy to behold.

The Hosta and the Hemerocallis are all in full leaf either side of the path in the water garden but it is the bright pink of the Primula Pulverulenta that catches the eye. They line the beds in the water garden loving the damp and growing to about 18 inches. There are also Primula Denticulata in various colours- they are called drumstick primula because of their round heads. The Hellibore are dying down and Solomans Seal and Acanthus have appeared.

The Cercis siliquastrum (Judas tree) to the right of the path is in flower at the moment. The clusters of bright pink pea like flowers appear before the leaves and grow along the branches. Once the heart shaped leaves appear it is possible to overlook this tree and it has to be seen in the short time it is in flower

The beds in the West Lawn are all bursting into life and I firmly believe it is dangerous to put a fork into a flower bed before May because of the possible damage to unseen and forgotten plants.

N.B Don’t miss the pretty pink Lily of the Valley hiding in the courtyard at the back of the Hall-very special and photos on our Facebook page

Stay healthy and good gardening,
Lynda Tucker

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10th May 2020

The weather has now turned and we shall be leaving young plants in the cold frame a little longer to harden them off.

The Herb garden is a mass of colour with orange marigolds doing particularly well. There are 4 different sage plants -green, variegated, purple and purple variegated and various yellow plants such as the Santolina and curry plant all about to flower and pretty blue chives.

The Iris walk now has an even stronger scent as the smaller aubergine coloured Iris are in full bloom. The bed is fronted by Catmint- Walkers Low, with its silver foliage and pretty blue flowers. So easy to grow from cuttings and after flowering it is chopped down and will put on a second show. Some of the Delphinium in that bed are in bud and lucky that we staked them when we did as we wouldn’t be able to reach them now as the Iris are so high.

Cow parsley is now waist high when walking through the daffodil area and doing a good job of concealing the dying bulbs. The noise you would hear is from the buzzing of hundreds of bees feeding on the nectar of the brightest of yellow laburnum trees.

It is time to dead head the white Camelia hiding behind the Lonicera hedge at the end of that area. It is about 3ft high and we shouldn’t really be growing it as we have the wrong soil but the watering and attention I lavished on it last summer has rewarded me with a beautiful display of white blooms. What’s that they say about forbidden fruits?

There is a very old Pink Chestnut in full flower at the moment in the Autumn border. It is about 40ft high but 6ft each side of it are two equally tall Pines which clearly have a negative influence on its development. We are in a conversation area and wouldn’t be able to touch the trees but to lessen the blow about 15yrs ago I planted a Hydrangea Petiolaris against one and have been training it round the trunk. It now reaches about 10ft and is very happy and next month will encircle the bottom of the Pine’s trunk in flowers-a little bit like a hot water cylinder jacket but oh so much prettier!

As you cross the stone bridge to the front of the Hall you will be greeted by a mass of purple with the Wisteria on the walls and the Alliums in the rose bed in front. If you look left as you cross the bridge you will see the white Swan on her nest-keeping her eggs warm on this bitterly cold day.

Stay healthy and good gardening,
Lynda Tucker.

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3rd May 2020

Although the weather has changed in Norfolk, we are getting little rain but as the water table is still high for us it is not a problem.

The Orchard is a mass of blossom – I have never seen it looking so good and as well as that it promises a good harvest,

The vegetable garden is producing artichoke, sea kale, asparagus and rhubarb and we are picking parsley, tarragon, mint, and chives. The peas are up about 2ft, broad beans are in flower and the spinach should be ready to pick next week. Strawberries are flowering and will need strawing up this week.

In the Iris bed there is a mass of white bearded Iris- which you can smell before you see, many other colours will follow and the foliage of the Delphiniums planted in this bed is rising above them and needs staking.

The Paulownia in the Daffodil area is just coming into flower with its beautiful lilac flowers that resemble freesia. We planted this 20 years ago and it reaches 15ft- we like it so much that this year we have planted another one in the Wild garden just across the Moat. 

The two Chestnuts in the pasture are a mass of blossom reaching to 40ft and must be at least a hundred years old- they never cease to delight.

The white swan is still sitting, we have seen a Mayfly this week and our lamb count is up to 30.

Stay healthy and good gardening,
Lynda Tucker.

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27th April 2020

Still the sunshine continues and as yet no sign of rain.

In the centre of the vegetable garden is the Herb garden. It is on a south facing gentle slope and its sides are marked by two rows of Espalier Apples which are in full bloom at the moment. The box hedges that surround the 4 beds have been given a feed as they are looking a little sad but we will delay cutting until we are sure that the threat of frosts have passed. It is a lovely time in the herb garden and the plants are springing to life. The Globe Artichokes at the back of 2 beds are flourishing and providing a very healthy crop. The silver foliage makes a stunning architectural statement and it is such a good plant to have.  

In the vegetable Garden the first pea plants have been planted along with some lettuce and beetroot. The potatoes are thriving and needing earthing up and watering.

The Dell has become a mass of bluebells and there are pink and white as well. The leaves of the Chestnut are not fully out and beneath them Speedwell, Forget Me Not, Cow Parsley and bright pink Campion are growing.

In the Daffodil area the daffodils are dying rather slowly and this year it will be at least 8 weeks before they have all died down, but Bluebells and Cow parsley are growing between the clumps, also Primroses. Daisy, Dandelion, Forget me Not and lots of Cowslips- it is quite damp towards the Moat. The two Crab Apple Trees are in full flower and this area has now taken on a semi wild feel- such a contrast to two weeks ago.

Before the plants and plantings become the stars there is always this time in our Garden when “nature” takes the stage. There is a stunning carpet of celandine at the back of the Orchard and who could imagine the beauty of the combination of Dandelion, Cow Parsley and forget me Nots along the drive where we are waiting for the aconites to die down, and between the stream and Tennis court there are  forget me nots, celandine and campion happily mixed together. And as the perfect backdrop to the gardens this year we are surrounded by fields of bright yellow rape. …….Who needs to garden?

Stay healthy and good gardening.
Lynda Tucker

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19th April 2020

The lovely warm weather continues and the garden is springing to life. The vegetable and herb garden are getting a fair amount of attention and the Greenhouse is packed. Fortunately, we keep a lot of our own seeds which is just as well as they are in short supply this year.

The earliest rose to flower for us is Canary bird- it is across the Moat opposite the West lawn. It is a bright golden yellow with a profusion of single blooms along long arching stems. It is the rose I always look for as it signals the start of my summer and it is now in full flower.

One of our first visitors after we arrived in ’93 was Colonel Dashwood. I don’t know if he was a real Colonel but he did ride a horse around the village and had a very white moustache. He arrived clutching Canary bird which he had propagated himself and although he has been dead many years, I am reminded of him every year when it flowers.

The second rose to flower for us is Rosa Banksiae Lutea. This has tiny (2cm) pale yellow double flowers in clusters. It is a rambler and trained along wires at the front of the house (which is unusual I think). It is just coming into flower and I think one of the prettiest roses.

Also, along the front of the house is the Wisteria, again trained on wires the plant on the right comes from a layered cutting taken from the original on the left of the house. In bloom at the moment it is a truly beautiful sight.

I will be posting photos of these on our Facebook page and do look at the new path and bed we created this winter- a garden is never finished!!

Stay healthy and good gardening,
Lynda Tucker.

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12th April 2020

A lovely warm Easter weekend in Norfolk and as Houseman noted in his poem A Shropshire Lad – “wearing white for Eastertide”; white is the colour for Easter. I counted 15 different white plants in the garden in bloom at the moment and if you would like to see them look on our Facebook page.

The blossom is out on the fruit trees and strawberry and raspberry plants are coming to life. All the frame supports have gone into the Vegetable Garden and Sweet Peas have been planted on some with wire netting to protect them from mice. Peas are in the cold frame hardening off along with beetroot and some lettuce and the Greenhouse is full of vegetables in various stages of development.

The West Lawn has been getting some attention with scarifying and a feed. If the promised rain doesn’t come before tomorrow evening I shall have to water it in !! I am afraid that we are into “boys toys” with a robotic lawn mower now being used for the West lawn. It has had to have wires put into the grass to establish its perimeter and an extra tool bought to cut the area between the guiding wire and the lawn edge.????! My big fear is that it will go stir crazy and mow into the flower beds or (less of a fear} head straight for the Moat. Watch this space.

Stay healthy and good gardening
Lynda Tucker.

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5th April 2020

Everything is enjoying this lovely warm sunshine.

The later daffodils are beginning to flower and the early are dying back. With favourable weather they flower from February to the end of April and I now have 40 varieties. As I have some time this year, I am going through my daffodil catalogue to identify them. With 11 divisions I am having to identify by size of trumpet / goblet cup / flat eye / corona / split corona / perianth / petaloids / doubles / flateye / reflexed and that’s before we get into height and colour!! My Gold medal daffodil supplier has 400 varieties- I wonder which was the one Wordsworth immortalised in his ‘host of golden daffodils”?

The wild garden is a picture with a sea of blue and yellow. There are primroses and primula along with stunning blue anemone blanda and scilla. If you look carefully there are white, pink and mauve fritillaria and years of lifting and dividing has paid off with a 3ft wide border along the Moat of white Leucojum-the Spring snowflake. The vegetable garden is waking up and the potatoes are appearing through the soil and will need earthing up next week. Tomorrow we hope to have our first asparagus picking – butter at the ready.

The white swan seems to be settled on her nest and is surrounded by masses of bright yellow Caltha Palustis, or marsh marigold, which is benefitting from the high-water level in the Moat. A Mallard has had her first brood – 12 yesterday but I only saw 10 tonight and the Hebridean are still going strong – 10 lambs from 6 Ewes …and they are loving this weather.

Stay healthy and good gardening,
Lynda Tucker.

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29th March 2020

The start of Summertime and the warm weather had lulled me into thinking winter was over. Yesterday’s icy blasts have
brought me back to reality and I am keeping my fingers crossed for the sweet peas and onions that were planted out
last week.?? I am also mindful of the damage that can be done by putting a fork into a bed before the plants are
visible- patience is a definite virtue in a gardener.

Both yellow and red Cornus have had a hard prune and Delphinium and Paeonia are being staked whilst they are still
small and malleable. The Clematis are growing well after their March prune and getting tied in as they grow. A little
attention now pays huge dividends.

The daffodils are looking magnificent and there is a video on our Facebook page if you would like to see them.

One of the ewes gave birth to twins last week and the white Swans seem to be settled on the Moat. The Heron is a daily
visitor and the music from “Jaws” should be playing as the dastardly Cormorant swims around looking for fish.

Stay healthy and good gardening,
Lynda Tucker.

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22nd March 2020

We regret that the gardens will not now open for the foreseeable future.

The National Trust tried opening their gardens last week and found it impossible to police visitor safe distances and their gardens are now closed. Very sadly we must follow suit and will not open on 1st April as we had hoped.

This is a sad time for us all- we had many garden groups already booked and were looking forward to opening the gates but this site has been cultivated since the 12th century, will still be here next year and if we are sensible so will we.

The vegetable garden is producing some lovely rhubarb and the first asparagus tips are poking through. We have covered an area with fleece warming it in preparation for the potato “Charlotte” which has chitted well. Sweet peas are ready to be planted and they are in the cold frame hardening off with onions and my special “Mummies” peas.

Elsewhere the garden is a mass of yellow with thousands of daffodils cheerily nodding in the cold sunshine. Photos are on our Facebook page. The hellebore are still flowering beautifully and their promiscuity has led to quite a range of colours. Talking of colours our early primula have incredibly strong eye catching colours but our lovely common primrose – Primula Vulgaris, is everywhere and one of the surest signs of the arrival of Spring.

Stay healthy and good gardening,
Lynda Tucker.

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