Oxburgh Hall's French parterre

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As you come through the arch that separates the orchard from the house area, you can't help but stop and gaze at the impressive view before you.

In the background is the Hall, surrounded by its moat, and in the sunken area before it lies a patchwork of blue, yellow and silver around a circle of bright scarlet and green. Scattered throughout the bed are yew bushes of the darkest green, which set off the colours of the flowers perfectly.

History

This is the parterre, a bed laid down in the middle of the Victoria era by the Bedingfeld family, who owned the Hall, after seeing a similar scheme near Paris on a trip to France.

Originally within the box hedges that give the parterre its shape would've been coloured brick dust, gravel, coal, glass and chalk to give the mosaic pattern its colours. But the Victorians preferred to use bedding plants.

The present

The annuals in the parterre this year are geraniums, cannas, French marigolds and heliotrope. These are planted in early June and volunteer help is always appreciated. Lavender and stachys are used in the other beds.

The aspect

Parterres were always designed to be looked at from above, so the terrace was built to achieve that. The family. though, only had to look out of their windows to see it. The view shown in the image is only available to visitors with wings but you can still get a good view from the roof.