68 Elm Grove; small, artful and fun. (57)

The garden gate will be open this Sunday 16th July on the north side of the centre of Norwich, not far from Waterloo Park. The garden has evolved over 30 years and is very much an extension to the late 1920s / early 1930s house.


Selwyn, an artful designer by trade has taken the matter in hand and redesigned his NGS poster.


The front garden despite its modest size is not without interest. A touch of railway nostalgia mingles with the mature plants.


The low wooden seat recycled from public transport is now going nowhere,


and a clock, which has never stopped at five indeed, looks as if it never will.


A noble Wollemi pine, an endangered species, is of some height now and in no danger, here displaying  both its female and male cones.


Access to the back garden is to the right of the pot of giant lilies and through an enclosed passageway; creatively decorated it connects house, garage and studio to the garden.


As we enter the luxuriously green garden Selwyn winds down the awning and the space immediately becomes a glorious outside room.


This chap, with furrowed brow finds it all an enormous strain,


whilst this lady emerges serenely from the corner.

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The collection of robust green plants  so varied and textural is calming,


and the patterns in the fronds of the ferns are exquisite.


The path leads either side of the central bed,


which is packed with healthy plants such as tree ferns, cotinus, hosta and arum lily. I feel as if I am in a garden at Chelsea.


Leaves are unblemished, almost perfect; a bud is emerges quietly on a magnolia.


Plants are arranged to complement one another and the silver veins of the leaves are picked up by the pure white of the birch trunk.

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The garden is essentially divided into three parts and we leave the first and emerge out onto the lawn. You would never have guessed this architectural top once housed an air conditioning unit.


The lawns are totally weed free, mown and edged to perfection. Selwyn, who has opened for the NGS for five years, has just recently acquired a couple of pieces of sculpture and what better place to site them. You can feel the movement in this from all the way round.


Through the archway which leads into the third garden we can see the second piece pivoted centrally on the lawn. I wonder at its balance,


and on closer inspection I find the structure to be well supported.


A neighbour keenly watches us from the fence.


Behind the sculpture, the boundary wall which could be straight and flat is given a life and character by the addition of a little ornament.

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We return through the wooden arch


admiring the arrangement and display of pots.


Joining the property is a garden room. No ordinary place to keep the tools and paraphernalia, on the outside it appears to be a butcher


whilst on the inside it is a saloon. Teas will be served in here on the Open Day and what a great place to enjoy that cuppa and home-baked cake.


Everywhere plants and objects are laid out, becoming an art form in themselves.


We end our visit walking along the neat bricked path back towards the house,

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stopping to admire the Chilean fire bush embothrium coccineum against the wall,


and the oh so perfect pot of hostas.


A small garden it may be but there is so much to admire; artistry, humour and rich planting. It is an example that a garden does not have to be large to hold your interest.

Open this Sunday 16th July it is just one of five gardens unlocking their gates across the county of Norfolk. A great variety indeed,  I have to hurry for mine is opening too!



6 thoughts on “68 Elm Grove; small, artful and fun. (57)

  1. I find this garden very interesting. So many tropical or subtropical plants. It is like another world to me. The pine with male and female cones is most interesting. I don’t think I have ever seen it before. I like how this garden shows it’s owners personality with a bit of whimsy, and then more serious art collecting.

    Liked by 1 person

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