A friend of mine suggested that I might visit and write about a small garden, “you know, less rolling acres” she suggested. Well, Gertrude Jekyll thought that a garden of 4 acres was small, however I knew what she meant and so suggested she accompany me on my next trip, a new build on the outskirts of Norwich.
It was a minimalist front garden that greeted us at number 4 Wensum Crescent and with very little in the way of plants we wondered what to expect.
What hidden treasure lies behind the home of an Easter Island head?
Moira opens her garden gate to the left side of the house. Despite her colourful floral dress she quickly explains that she really does not ‘do’ gardening.
And, as we are drawn into the garden through a pergola adorned with an explosion of leaf and colour, we are somewhat confused by this statement.
The wonderfully scented Trachelospermum jasminoides sometimes mistakingly known as jasmine, is one of the climbers.
On another pillar is the elegant Fuchsia ‘Lady Boothby’ unfurling her crimson petals to reveal dark purple centres. There are red roses too but Moira declares that she only likes purple. In my mind I recall the poem by Jenny Joseph ‘When I am an old woman I shall wear purple’, but I really can’t remember anymore and Moira is not the slightest bit old.
Moira has had her garden professionally designed and maintained. It is most certainly an outdoor living space. Neat paths move you into circular spaces, and here one catches the sound of lightly burbling water.
We move through the lavender which is just buzzing with bumble bees.
A standard fig grows by the house,
and there is an assortment of unusual plants, many are labelled as Moira does not know their names. Against the wall is the climber pileostegia viburnoides, a type of hydrangea.
and close by is hydrangea vilusa an upright shrub just coming into flower.
The path moves us pleasantly round the edge of the garden.
Clean and weed free, little gems like this bright sedum softens the paving,
and the ground hugging phyla nodiflora
Although a new garden many of the plants look mature and well established, Eupatorium purpureum is no exception, against the back fence its dark purple stems growing magnificently tall.
In the corner of the fence is a small triangular fruit cage housing three prolific and heavily cropping blueberries growing in pots.
Moira unlocks the gate in the fence and through the rustling bamboo, it is a surprise to find an expanse of grassland stretching across to the river Wensum. This land will never be built on as it is shared amongst the homeowners.
It is a warm day and we welcome a cup of tea which we take in the shade outside the converted garage. No cake today, instead a delicious bowl of blueberries There are plenty of seating areas around that provide different views of the garden.
From here we look across the near-perfect green sward, around which hues of purples and greens blend easily together; the exotic with the familiar. It is calming and relaxing.
Through the stems of verbena bonariensis is the studio; it is of course painted in purple.
Although there is a watering system laid throughout, Moira has her watering cans, pretty in purple, at the ready.
But the garden is really not all purple, A variegated pittosporum sits comfortably with the fan of a palm with a haze of eryngium and fading erysimum ‘Bowle’s Mauve’,
and the giant leaved Tetrapanax papyrifera ‘Rex’ stands regally in another paved circle.
Neil, master builder, designer and gardener arrives. He promises to tidy up before the opening on Sunday and I am truly perplexed at his need.
We have been overwhelmed by the variety of plants, the blend of colour and foliage combined with the hard landscaping that flows throughout. Moira enjoys being in her garden, not because of a love of gardening but because she has handed it over to someone else. I wonder why more people don’t just cut the struggle and do the same.
4 Wensum Crescent will be open this coming Sunday 9th July between 12 noon and 8 pm; it should be fun as it has the added attraction of not only teas but also light alcoholic refreshments.