The Wild Garden at Sheringham Park

A view of rhododendrons on the main drive at Sheringham Park

The 50 acres of wild garden at Sheringham Park houses a nationally important collection of rhododendrons. The garden developed around a base planting of Scots pine and oak, with the earliest plantings thought to date from around about 1850.

Plant collector Ernest Wilson is thought to have provided specimens that added extensively to the planting here in the early 20th century and the last private owner of the estate Thomas Upcher also made significant additions to the garden up to death in 1985.  
 

The wild garden is now home to over 80 species of rhododendron and azalea often providing colour from November to August with peak flowering occurring from mid-May into early June.

Two viewing platforms provide ideal vantage points from which to look down on a carpet of colour in late spring and over the surrounding countryside at all times throughout the year.

Year round interest

Spring

The rhododendron display is a dynamic one gradually building in colour to its late spring peak. An early spring species ‘rhododendron macabeanum’ with its large lemon coloured flowers tucked away from the path network is worth seeking out and you cannot miss the crimson-scarlet flowers of ‘rhododendron Doncaster’ one of our most photographed species along the main drive. You will need to look up at some of our taller specimens including the appropriately named rhododendron arboreum.

We also have a number of specimen trees flowering at this time , the handkerchief, pieris and snowdrop trees are of particular interest. Spread around the garden their are also fifteen species of magnolia to admire.

Patches of bluebells decorate much of the estate including the wild garden, and if you extend your walk into the parkland you will be rewarded with a display of buttercups and cowslips in late spring.

Macabeanum, one of the early flowering rhododendrons at Sheringham Park
Macabeanum rhododendron in flower at Sheringham Park
Macabeanum, one of the early flowering rhododendrons at Sheringham Park

Summer

The rhododendron season is drawing to an end but the brilliant white flowers of rhododendron polar bear is a fitting end to the show. Also in white 2 eucryphia trees along the main drive covered with rose like flowers will add to your summer experience.

The rose like flowers of the eucryphia tree.
The flowers of the eucryphia tree
The rose like flowers of the eucryphia tree.

Autumn

Look out for two of our specimen trees early in the autumn, the striking display of the golden larch can be short lived, but the change of the smooth Japanese maple is a far more gradual process and can be enjoyed for a number of weeks.

Veteran beech and oak trees will react to drop in temperature to provide a golden display in the garden combining often with a colourful show of fungi.

An ancient beech tree in Sheringham Park showing its autumn colour
Beech tree in autumn colour
An ancient beech tree in Sheringham Park showing its autumn colour

Winter

The start of the rhododendron season is upon us, with at least a couple of species in flower throughout this period. Rhododendron Christmas cheer in particular providing extensive colour at the northern end of the wild garden.

 Our close proximity to coast often provides protection against the worst of the winter frost providing ideal conditions post-Christmas for snowdrops and camellias to flourish.  

Upcher snowdrops named after the family that owned Sheringham Park for more than 170 years
Upcher snowdrops along the main drive at Sheringham Park.
Upcher snowdrops named after the family that owned Sheringham Park for more than 170 years

Ancient and remarkable trees

We have some special trees in the wild garden including one of the biggest Scots pine outside of Scotland and the larger of our 2 snowdrop trees is one of tallest specimens in England.

Ancient oak trees along the main drive may well have acted as boundary markers in the past and many of the beech trees are well over 200 years old including our wandering beech tucked away to the side of one of Reptons glimpse points.

" Managing the wild garden is an ongoing process, we are gradually removing rhododendron ponticum, planting less invasive rhododendron species alongside other plants in its place. Much of the planting comes from seedlings collected from the garden, and is part of a twenty year plan for the garden. "
- Graham Brennan
Two snowdrop trees can be seen flowering in the wild garden
Snowdrop tree in floweer
Two snowdrop trees can be seen flowering in the wild garden

Join in

A group of volunteers go out every Friday to work in the wild garden. They are currently working on cutting back rhododendron so we do not lose one of our visitor routes around the rhododendron collection.
Like to help out?
Download a volunteer registration form (PDF / 0.3MB) download