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
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.
We have experienced and we have learned! Every year at this time we crown thin our olives, this late in the season there should be no new (therefore vulnerable) growth but the cuts will callus up nicely before there are any frosts. Thinning allows us to maintain a lovely goblet shape to the branches in the crown whilst reducing the total volume of the crown significantly, thereby making it less vulnerable to potential damage caused by either heavy snow or strong winds.
Grow your own
Tips for planting olives in your garden
Plant outside in a sheltered position, in full sun. Soil should be free draining and not too rich – mix in shingle on heavy soils and do not manure or over feed. Water newly planted trees until established.
Once established the plants will not require watering even during the driest of conditions.
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..
The garden pets
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 will completely redesign this memorial garden to reflect the rest of the gardens whilst retaining its own distinct character.
- You can see the transformation in 2014.