The garden gate was open a few weeks ago at Bolwick Hall, Marsham some 8 miles north of Norwich.
This is a garden attributed to Repton, and surrounds a late Georgian house. It is Repton’s tercentenary next year and further research being undertaken by the Norfolk Gardens Trust might reveal more about his involvement.
Bolwick was bought in 2003 by the present owners who have rejuvenated various areas. As you can see on the map it is essentially the lake that dominates the site.
Ironically it is the swimming pool rather than the lake which is the first water that we encounter at the entrance; an enclosed gravel garden with small box compartments. Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ and lavender will bring colour in the Summer months.
Honeysuckle tumbles over an archway which opens out into a smaller courtyard.
The hornbeam arch leads us out to the lake side of the house,
where we arrive on the lawn to find an abundance of visitors. It is a happy atmosphere and people are clearly enjoying themselves. A Sunday when everyone wants just to get outside and relax in an English Country Garden.
There is plenty of space for visitors, who walk, sit and chat while admiring the view.
Even lying down to take in the serenity of the lake.
After chatting for sometime with a fellow NGS garden owner I go through the little gate to take the path around the lake.
It is mainly wooded so quite shaded in places. The cow parsley finds a clearing where it seems to dance in the dappled sunshine.
The water on the lake is still and reflective,
and it comes with its own elegant living sculpture!
I am drawn to the sound of rushing water by the weir.
No ground is left unexplored, visitors will look at everything. I wonder if it is actually an old mill, and perhaps it is this interesting fact that they are admiring rather than the decaying nature of this rustic edifice.
Returning to the path I duck through a series of bamboo tunnels.
A clearing in the wood reveals a magnificent mature oak.
Through the reeds I spot Mrs Swan a-sitting.
Children are loving this watery landscape and moving back toward the house there are several canals and bridges to explore.
Now there is a little more formality nearer the house; hedges are clipped and it is as if these two might be meeting for a quiet conversation.
Orderly rows of vegetables and a perfect line of poles, are firmly fenced.
Running along the side is a neatly mown path with summery borders stretching out on either side.
Old hedges line a network of paths that link the vegetable garden and tennis court to the house.
This charming hut revolves and in a former life it was used in a TB hospital in Mundesley where patients would sit and be turned gently to face the sun. (Walcott House blog 33 also has a similar hut). No patients nowadays, it is a perfect place to rest awhile in the shade; this couple are keen NGS supporters and we discuss the variety of gardens they have visited.
Growing to the side is the beautiful tree of Staphlea pinnata; I feel it is best to call it by the latin name rather than the slightly unattractive common name of bladder nut.
The perfect shape of verbascum olympicum grows contentedly in the dry gravel garden,
and you can’t beat the colour of montana ‘Broughton Star’ for a clematis growing against a wall.
A tree stump acts as an architectural full stop in a driveway.
It is the end of the day and the visitors have all gone; the bright pink bench is at last empty.
A perfect afternoon for families and friends, it has been a joy to see so many visitors relaxing in such beautiful surroundings and there is something here for all ages to enjoy. Parents from the local school have been in charge of the teas which has naturally brought many children here too; and what entertainment they have had exploring the lakeside paths, wandering through the wild woodland and cartwheeling on the spacious lawn. What pleasure they have had while at the same time raising precious funds for their school.
Entrance for children to all NGS gardens is free.