I have missed the opening of this tiny garden for many years and so was thrilled to be able to join the many others who visited last Sunday. Little Plumstead is some 5 miles east of Norwich not far off the A47.
The team from Radio Norfolk had arrived just before me but they soon rushed off to hunt for the next clue in their Quest for Treasure.
The Garden Gate is Open and a narrow gravel path leads up to the front door packed with plants along the border.
Over to the right and in front of the house you can glimpse the path circling around a stone sundial. Many alpine plants are growing in the gravel.
Flourishing in this sunny open position is a pearly white Exochorda x macrantha growing by the low fence.
This is not a garden with vistas. No tall trees to glance through, hedges to peer over or boundaries to gaze upon the borrowed view.
It is a garden to look intently down. Study the plants on the ground; in a similar vein to this crouching photographer.
Witton Lane holds the National Collection of Muscari, the Grape Hyacinth. Richard Hobbs inherited the collection, now numbering over a hundred, from Suffolk gardener Jenny Robinson.
The herbalist John Parkinson (1567 – 1650) warned of this plant which he advised ‘will quickly choke a ground for which cause most men do cast it into some bye corner.’
Not in this garden. Here the collection is carefully controlled with the many different varieties growing amongst other interesting plants .
There are plenty of gems to see in the front, and even more in the back garden.
The colour range of the muscari is subtle:
Blue appears to be the predominant colour, either in a small shrub,
or bulbs and perennials.
Anenome makes a good match with cellandine.
Various types of Pulsatilla, the memorable pasque flower, appear in different shades and they too enjoy the gravel conditions.
While the bright primula standing before the pulmonaria, benefits from the more moist conditions in the border.
There is a small selection of auricula on display.
In the conservatory Sally is busy selling the plants which are ‘going like hotcakes’. Richard is much in demand with enquiries. With fork at the ready, he generously fulfils a request for a plant.
Every inch of the ground is a patchwork of plants,
There is just enough room to squeeze in a greenhouse and shed.
It is a study in leaf design; baby sorrel,
and an Erythronium fighting for space with the soft silvery leaves of lamium
I forget to ask him what this is.
A type of lathyrus vernus looks delicate in the morning sunlight.
The seat at the end of the narrowing path signifies the limit of the garden; a full stop.
By the time I publish this Richard and Sally will be guiding another walking tour through North Mallorca (http://wildlifeholiday.com/richard-hobbs/). With destinations all over the world it is little wonder that the garden is so rich and their knowledge so great.