Winter in the wild garden

Nobleanum venustum in flower in the wild garden

A stroll through the wild garden in the winter could reveal unexpected colour, a wildlife surprise but almost guaranteed (sorry we cannot stop the occasional sea mist drifting in) are views across the parkland down to the coast.

The Main Drive

The drive was central to Humphry Reptons 1812 design for Sheringham Park. As you walk down the drive try to imagine you are in a horse and carriage catching glimpses of the coastline as you travel through the wild garden. Repton's design attempts to build the anticipation until the sea bursts into view just before you sweep down into the parkland when Sheringham Hall reveals itself.

One of the glimpse points from the main drive.
Sea view from the main drive

Winter colour

Due its coastal location and the micro climate created by the large rhododendron collection the wild garden is largely protected from winter frosts. This enables two rhododendron species Christmas cheer and nobleanum venustum to flower throughout most winters even though most reference books refer to them as a spring species.  January may see camellias and snowdrops coming into flower although the timing can be significantly affected by temperature.

Mild winters will prompt camellias to burst into flower
Camellias in flower in the wild garden

Bower

Our learning activities are centred in Bower, where the young at heart can enjoy pond dipping, bug hunting, environmental art and testing their survival skills in our forest school area. It is also a place to relax and observe, birds will often come down to drink from the pond and if you are very lucky you might spy a deer in the woodland.

A peaceful place to sit and observe whatever the season
The Bower garden in winter

Trees

The wild garden is a mix of native and exotic trees. A number of veteran oaks going back to the time of the Black Death are dotted along the main drive, the large beech canopies shelter you on your walk and if you glance up Scots pine tower above you. The bright green bark of the moosewood tree is particularly striking in the winter, alongside the fresh red growth of the smooth Japanese maples.   With many of the trees bare it is a good time to observe the bird life which includes winter thrushes, woodpeckers and roving flocks of tits.

See what ancient tree adviser Brian Muelaner thinks about our tree collection.

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 collection and providing more space to our more delicate specimens to grow and to thrive.
Like to help out?

Download a volunteer registration form

Our volunteers cutting back rhododendron, allowing other plants to flourish
Rhododendron being cut back on the Sheringham Park estate