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First Garden Visit Proves a Tonic

On Wednesday, we were delighted to have our very first excursion of the year post Covid-19 lockdown. Jean and Richard Thompson opened their beautiful gardens to us at Norney Wood in Shackleford. Whilst social distancing still prevailed, twenty-one of us were led on a guided tour of their gardens. Jean and Richard indicated that their remit to garden designers, Acres Wild, had been to create something sympathetic to the surrounding landscape and Edwardian house and giving a nod to Gertrude Jekyll and Edward Lutyens collaborations from the turn of the century. The garden itself has an almost 10 metre fall from the level of the house to the lowest point. A series of terraces help one navigate the garden and lead people from the top terrace of spectacular roses underplanted predominantly by geraniums, a lime tree avenue and luxurious seating area to a calm, reflecting pool complete with thunder house at the top to summerhouse at the bottom level. From here the garden moves towards a slightly 'wilder' area where the dominant features are a treehouse and large natural pond. The immediate area around the treehouse has been built as a teaching space with small kitchen garden area for the local primary school children to use. This area provides a wonderful opportunity for these young children to learn about growing vegetables and fruit.

The natural pond was stunning with its naturalistic planting around the margins and deck for enjoying the last rays of sunlight of an evening. Absolutely bliss. Jean and Richard explained that this particular area had been massively overgrown and neglected when they first arrived. The process of thinning and restoration led to the discovery of an old beech hedge that had grown into a beautiful row of established beech trees. These were left as a natural boundary separating the more formal part of the garden from this more wild area.

We were thrilled that they spent so much time with us and were able to discuss the various plants and the history of the garden. Their own enthusiasm was inspiring.

Please see our gallery for a further selection of photos from our visit.

Also Norney Wood will be open for further dates under the National Garden Scheme. Please do check here for additional dates. We would highly recommend visiting the garden.

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