History of the Gardens
The founder of Blooms Nurseries, Alan Bloom (1906- 2005), began developing a garden in front of BressinghamHall in 1953, devoted to a new concept of using perennials, the nursery’s speciality, in Island Beds. Six acres and nearly 5000 different species and cultivars were taken in and planted by 1962, when the gardens were first opened on a regular basis to the public.
Returning from four years abroad (including two years in the U.S.A.) in 1962, Adrian Bloom began developing more gardens, starting his own, Foggy Bottom Garden in 1967 devoted to conifers, heathers, trees and shrubs.
In 2000, additional gardens were added by Adrian, linking them up to create a more diverse attraction to visitors, and joining the gardens together to create a Foggy Bottom Trail, leading from the entrance near the Steam Museum to the furthest and lowest end of Foggy Bottom. Today, although changes are still constant, the newer gardens are maturing; new planting designs and plants are being tried. Heritage and novelty exist together with the number of distinct varieties now in the region of 8000.
Bressingham Hall, near the entrance to the gardens, plays a historic role and has an iconic presence. Alan Bloom’s home for 50 years and that of the Bloom family has now been fully re furbished and is available for use as holiday lets and for wedding and other group stays.
Lesser known but a man whose contribution to Bressingham and the Bloom family deserves recognition is Adrian’s brother Robert, killed in a senseless car crash by a drunk driver in 1995. Rob was 56 years old and arguably, as a fit person, he should still be with us. Apart from the personal loss of a brother, there have been many times over the past 25 years that Adrian would have been glad of his knowledge, advice and support. Rob, as most addressed him, was a good organiser, a man for detail, and very personable.
Early in his career he worked on Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire farms, specialising in livestock. His hope was that, when he and Adrian were called back by their father to join the family business in 1962, he might be able to further develop animal production as part of the overall family business. As the nursery business grew to be one of the largest in the UK, his talents were needed – not only on the farm side, but increasingly with the administration. Rob was managing director for Blooms Nurseries for many years and throughout this time he was a champion of training, adoption of new technology (including the top-of-the-range ‘metal box’ computer which filled the largest office space in the 1970s!) and business development.
Rob would have been 57 on March 19th 1996 , but instead a small group of the Bloom family, a few Bloom’s staff and colleagues and representatives of Diss Round Table planted a 6ft specimen conifer Picea omorika ‘Pendula Bruns’ in the Bressingham Gardens in his memory, which stands tall to this day.