Last Wednesday I visited Kettle Hill, situated high on a hilltop on the North Norfolk coast at Blakeney, It was an event organised by the Norfolk Gardens Trust, an interesting body set up in 1988 concerned with the preservation of gardens and landscapes within the county http://www.norfolkgt.org.uk.
The garden looked glorious on this last day of May and it was a visit everyone could not help but enjoy. It was also an opportunity for me to visit the garden ahead of its opening for the NGS this coming Sunday.
Not just any old garden gates, these impressive posts topped with eagles lead us through from the parking area to a mediterranean courtyard.
A handy peacock proudly greets us in the corner,
and an oval mirror provides a characterful focus amongst the roses.
Paved pathways provide easy access for all. Mrs Winch, the owner is very much in evidence, she chats to guests as she glides around the garden on her electric scooter. We take the left hand gate and walk into the walled garden.
We are delighted to find Tamara Bridge hot foot from her recent success at Chelsea. She was the 2015 RHS Young Designer of the Year and has worked her charm at Kettle Hill, contributing to the design originally made many years ago by Mark Rummary.
There is an elegant place to sit in this sheltered garden, either in the shade under the cloud pruned trees,
or in the sun in front of the summer house.
Generally the planting is of subtle tones but just occasionally there is a splash of colour,
and architectural silvery giant.
Mrs Winch explains that this shaded area was full of white flowers back in the spring.
This is a pretty cool water tower, and I wonder if is it the only one in the country to be painted in pink?
I am not sure what is behind the lattice fence and mirror but they provide a bit of fun and cheer up a shaded corner.
Through the branches of the tree you can see Morston Church in the far distance.
We decide to follow the woodland walk over the mound where bluebells have finished flowering, and there are fine places to sit and rest in the shade.
Tucked away is a secret rose garden which is home to a very realistic-looking peacock.
Walking past the antique urn that stands majestically on the edge of the wood,
we follow the path between the fields, effectively lined with pink and white campion it brings us up to the borders by the house.
Beyond that hedge is a coastal landscape whilst within it is a sheltered area planted with an abundance of roses and herbaceous perennials.
The roses are at their best and Tamara has hidden their feet by planting with veronica, alchemilla mollis and alliums,
making a delightful tapestry of colour,
which ever direction you look.
The striking fox tail lily, eremurus grows tall and remarkably straight.
A perfect place to enjoy that irresistible coffee and walnut cake.
More majestic eagles grace the steps,
which lead up to the parterre where a delicious tea is being served.
Visitors are very content. The joy of garden visiting is you can relax in someone else’s garden, after all, who has time to do that in their own?
The deep pink rose looks charming climbing against the cream walls,
and honeysuckle mingles with hebe.
Topiary appears all around the garden either in the borders, by the house
or across the lawn where they frame the seat.
Magnificent roses everywhere too, this one trained over the arch is waiting to burst into action.
Every where the colours are carefully chosen; soft and easy on the eye they in blend easily.
I never thought I would see a blue Himalayan poppy, meconopsis growing in Norfolk.
Combinations are pleasing like actinidia and geranium.
There are plenty of fruit trees and this little shaped pear seems happy in his pot.
It is time to depart and on our way out past the house we admire the crisply clipped topiary,
but find no sentry in his elegant box today.
It has been a delightful afternoon in this hidden gem of a garden. We have enjoyed the variety of spaces, Tamara’s artistic planting schemes and the stunning views to the sea. This is a must on the ‘gardens to visit list’ and it also has the added bonus of most of the paths being accessible for buggies and wheelchairs.
The garden gate is open for the NGS on Sunday 5th June 11am -4.30pm.