Let us walk you through our family Gardens, from the development of the at the time very influential Dell garden by founder Alan Bloom created in the 1950’s as a display for the family nursery of perennials in the form of self standing beds, to becoming an all seasons garden, very much dedicated to diversity with the work of Adrian Bloom since the 1960’s.
Alan Bloom’s Dell Garden
In 1953, Alan Bloom, founder of the family nursery, which by that time had become one of the largest in the country growing hardy perennials, wanted to experiment with a new way of growing them in island beds. His first beds (looking much the same today) were planted in front of the family home, Bressingham Hall, and – proving successful – were soon being planted in adjacent meadows, eventually numbering 48 beds and covering six acres (2.4hectares). Alan, a renowned perennial plantsman, collected plants from all over Europe, ending up by 1962 with nearly 5,000 different species and varieties, making this an important as well as a beautiful historical collection. This garden, now looked after by Alan’s son-in-law, curator Jaime Blake, will amaze you with its rolling open landscape, its colour and variety – truly a Mecca for perennial-lovers.
Adrian Bloom’s Foggy Bottom Garden
Adrian joined the family business in 1962 and soon became keen to create his own garden, wanting to experiment with planting for year round colour using primarily conifers and heathers. His first plantings in 1966 were on the site of an empty meadow and a new house near by; with his wife Rosemary, he was able to gradually develop a six acre (2.4hectares) garden which he called Foggy Bottom. Over 500 different conifers and 100 heathers created an impact across the country, so popular did they become. Now a wealth of mature conifers, trees and shrubs from all over the world add a backdrop to ornamental grasses and perennials. This garden continues to develop and change so there is always something new for visitors to see.
The Summer Garden
This garden was created in 2001 from an old meadow as part of a new, more pleasing entrance to the Dell Garden. It was planted primarily with many varieties of Miscanthus sinensis, a Japanese ornamental grass, and now represents the National Collection of Miscanthus for the British Isles. In late summer these grasses, which grow from 3ft (90cm) or less to lOft (3m) in one season, are spectacular as a backdrop to colourful summer-flowering perennials which drift among them, including a spectacular ‘river’ of Geranium ‘Rozanne’, and other innovative plantings.
In 2001 a new pathway was built connecting the Dell Garden with Foggy Bottom, cutting out the long trip through the Steam Museum, which for the previous 30 years had been used by visitors to Foggy Bottom. This area, originally planted by Adrian Bloom in 1964-65 with trees and conifers, including five giant redwoods, Sequoiadendron giganteum, had become overgrown and almost impenetrable. Now, after felling many trees ten years ago, including thirty 6Oft (18m) high Leyland cypress, Adrian is replanting with entirely North American-origin plants — now a place to stop and enjoy the spectacle as well as to pass through to Foggy Bottom. The redwoods are now more than 8Oft (24m) high.
The Fragrant Garden
From the first conifer and heather beds planted by Adrian Bloom in 1963, then in 1980 replanted as a shrub garden, another new, remodelled garden is emerging. This is being designed and planted with an interesting range of plants with fragrant flowers and foliage. It is situated next to the picnic area, where visitors can enjoy flowers and fragrance throughout the summer.
The Winter Garden
Close to the entrance of the Garden Centre and Steam Museum, this garden opened in November 2006, and planted specifically with plants of winter interest. On a winter’s day and even into spring, the spectacle of coloured stems of Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’, flowers of snowdrops, early bulbs, hellebores and winter-flowering heathers will lift your spirits and hopefully encourage you to consider planting your own winter-interest garden.