The Walled Garden
The Walled Garden at Felbrigg Hall is widely renowned as one of East Anglia's finest.
Get up close to the double borders and herb beds and really breathe in the scent of lavender, sage and mint.
You can find a good many modern surprises within this traditionally laid out garden.
The Orangery was built in 1704 and was designed to harmonise with the west wing of the house.
In the 19th century the building was given a glass roof which by 1958 had fallen in and was replaced by the one you see today.
The Orangery now houses a collection of camellias, some of considerable size and age.
The community allotments
As part of an initiative to encourage people to grow their own food, eight community allotments were created within the Walled Garden.
The programme sparked immediate interest and continues to be a topic of conversation with our visitors.
Life in the garden
The walled garden
September in the garden is full on, with August having been wet, windy and occasionally quite warm. The rain has mashed flowers and caused a huge flush of weeds to germinate all over the garden at once. The grass is growing like its spring and the fruit pruning and hedge trimming has started. The lavender has been clipped over as it had put on a lot of growth and with the change to such wet conditions it was going mouldy and dying off in the centre. The clip has allowed better air flow through the plants so they should start to green up again soon. The garden looks more late mid October rather than early September!
The vegetable gardenThe veg plots are now taking a lot of our time with veg being harvested, plants that are finished are coming out, potato tops are being cut off; loads of weeding and leeks to plant. As soon as the veg plots are finished we must get back onto the double borders, loads of plants here are also in need of dead heading, plants that are finished need to be removed and there are a lot of weeds to clear out too. All in all we have some catching up to do but we’ll get there over the next couple of weeks – hopefully the weather will help out and stay dry for a bit!
Olives in the garden?
Yes Olea europaea is surprisingly hardy, in the very cold winter of a few years ago, we had thick snow on the ground from the beginning of November till Christmas, temperatures fell to -14 in the walled garden. All of our olive trees survived with one exception, it wasn’t the cold that killed the tree but the weight of the snow! It was our biggest tree located in the kitchen garden, the crown was so thick the snow piled on top of it pulling the tree over until it snapped off clean at the soil line.
Old variety plants
We have some lovely old figs trained against the south facing wall of the herb border in the walled garden, thought to have been relocated to its present position around 1750. There is a quote in the “Eastern Arboretum” by James Grigor, published in 1847, which mentions the figs stating that they were about 100yrs old at the time, making the figs the only original remaining plants from the garden of that period.
We have an Umbellularia Californica, planted around 1860, which is rare in the UK. Also known as the “Headache Tree” or “Balm of Heaven”. One of our gardeners enjoys the scent released by mowing through the leaves, and following a debate amongst them as to whether the "headache" side-effect was a myth, another gardener broke off a handful of leaves, crushed them and inhaled deeply – it ruined his day! You decide which it is..
This is the time of year we are constantly asked: “What happens to the fruit?” Sometimes visitors are quite concerned that the fruit is “going to waste”. Please be assured that it’s not - in our last full open week we harvest all the fruit and it is available for visitors to the garden to help themselves in exchange for a small donation (paid into the honesty box located by the walled garden entrance gates). In the orchard area we are happy for visitors to help themselves to the fruit, but please be kind to the trees and don’t climb them to get to the fruit or yank fruit off damaging the branches. When fruit is ripe it will easily come away into your hand with a slight twist.
The garden pets
Silver Laced Wyandottes
Meet our 3 latest residents the Silver Laced Wyandottes.
Ginger - named after Ginger Rogers - is a Speckled Sussex and is seen here with her chicks foraging for their lunch.
Rocky ( Rock Hudson) the Buff Orpington cockerel and some of his girls, 2 Buff hens Goldie and Doris (Goldie Hawn & Doris Day) and a Light Sussex, Honour (Honour Blackman)
The Peking Bantams, cockerel JD (James Dean) and one of his girls Marilyn enjoying themselves rootling the the flower beds.
Jake the cat is one of our semi-feral cats who, as you can see, looks happy and healthy living in the walled garden where the gardeners and the volunteers make sure they are fed and looked after
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Moments in the garden
- The Rose garden was created in 1971 in memory of the last squire by his friends and Felbrigg villagers.
- The original design was simple and effective with 4 box edged beds cut into the lawn containing various species and cultivars of roses.
- Although the layout has not changed over the years, the plants have and now we have a rose garden with no roses!
- We have completely redesigned this memorial garden to reflect the rest of the gardens whilst retaining its own distinct character.
- You will see this garden on your way to the front door when you visit the house.
- Now in its second year, maintenance is all about weeding, dead heading the roses and sweeping the gravel off the paths!