PUBLISHED: 08:47 10 October 2013 | UPDATED: 08:47 10 October 2013
Archant © 2013
From our greatest landscaped estates to tiny patches of town centre paradise, the Norfolk Gardens Trust has championed the county’s gardens for 25 years.
Trust members are passionate about the history, design, architecture and horticulture of gardens – some are keen hands-on gardeners, others are landscape experts or love exploring the county’s wealth of planted plots. Some own vast estates, others might have no garden at all.
Over the past quarter century they have helped save, restore, catalogue, create and maintain some of our loveliest gardens.
The trust was set up in 1988, following a national English Heritage gardens survey. Early committee members included horticulturalists, historians, planners, landowners, and parks and gardens experts. Today every county has its own Gardens Trust, but the Norfolk trust was one of the earliest. Norfolk is also thought to have more significant gardens than almost anywhere else in the country.
Throughout its history the trust has carried out surveys of the county’s gardens and open spaces – one of which highlighted the importance of The Walks in King’s Lynn. The Walks was one of the first specially created areas for public promenading in the country and the trust’s research led to it being placed on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens.
The trust has also organised gardening competitions in schools, bought tools for school gardening clubs and arranges visits for members to gardens across Norfolk and beyond, some of which are never open to the general public.
A garden party was the ideal way for the members of the Norfolk Gardens Trust to celebrate their 25th anniversary. The party was held in the grounds of Oxnead Hall, near Aylsham, owned by trust members David and Beverley Aspinall. The earliest gardens at lovely Oxnead Hall are thought to date back to the 1580s. The area around the house was designed as a series of statue-filled Italianate courtyards and terraces, leading down to the River Bure. Today, the garden is being restored and also includes a parterre, fountain, lake, lawns, folly and water gardens. Around half of the trust’s 400 members enjoyed drinks, canapés and supper in the gardens, including five of its six chairman from the the past 25 years. The current president is Lord Walpole.
The Norfolk Gardens Trust welcomes new members, for details visit www.norfolkgt.org.uk
In November the Trust will publish Norfolk Gardens, the most comprehensive guide to the county’s gardens ever compiled.
This major new glossy overview of the county’s gardens and designed landscape will be packed with photographs and illustrations and aims to include every notable Norfolk garden from the 16th century to the present day.