Hidden Gardens of Bury St Edmunds - England 2013

A visit to the Hidden Gardens of Bury St Edmunds, England, Sunday 16th June 2013.

The small market town of Bury St Edmunds, in the eastern county of Suffolk, England, is full of history and beauty. The town has a Cathedral and Abbey at its centre and is named after King and Saint, Edmund, of the East Angles who was killed by the Vikings in 869 CE. The Abbey itself has beautiful gardens that are well worth visiting throughout the growing seasons. What makes Bury special is the many period houses with walled gardens that normally are private sanctuaries for the owners to enjoy. Once a year the gardens are opened for charity and the general public can visit and get a glimpse of the Hidden Gardens of Bury St Edmunds.

walled garden of bury st edmundsclimbing roses against a sunny wall

One of the standout features of these gardens is the tall brick walls that are ideal for growing climbing roses, Virginia creepers, and clematis. Especially when you can get a sunny south-facing aspect, it makes the ideal backdrop for the lush colourful borders.

wall of climbing roses and creepers

Another climber that is a highlight of these gardens is the Clematis.

clematis climbing on sticksclematis against pergola clematis with lush green foliage

Three plants that stand out in a border

The first stand out plant for me would be the Peony.

open and closed pink peonyclosed pink peony multiple pink peony

The second must-have would be the Iris. Although this is a large genus of plant, the ones I am thinking of here are the ones commonly referred to as 'flags'. Tall in stature to elevate the back of a border.

tall iris flags against a brick wallsingle iris flag head

The last tall plants to add height, colour, and bold flower heads are poppies.

array of tall dusty pink poppiessingle open dusty pink poppy

single dusty pink poppy

More Border Plants

A plant that does excel in early summer for its shape and vibrancy is the Gladiolus Communis Byzantinus.

gladiolus communis byzantinus

Dahlias and Cosmos are other border favourites with so many different forms and colours to choose from.

dahlia yellowcosmos white

Shrubs of distinction

Moving on to Shrubs or Bushes that are more of a permanent fixture in the gardens. One that stood out for me was the Kolkwitzia Amablis or Beauty Bush.

Kolkwitzia Amablis Beauty BushKolkwitzia Amablis Beauty Bush with Bee

Here is a beautiful Viburnum. Popular in cottage gardens they are hardy and need little maintenance. The Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Kilimanjaro' or Japanese Snowball Bush is a popular choice.

white viburnum

Every garden needs a bit of shade

Appropriatly positioned trees can give height and structure to a garden and the shade provides for a different growing environment. One tree that interested me was the Varigated Norwegian Maple, Acer platanoides 'Drummondii'. Semi-translucent leaves give both light and shade and an attractive appearance.

Varigated Norwegian Maple, Acer platanoides 'Drummondii'

Container Plants add Feature, Control, and Flexibility

Growing plants in pots can elevate and isolate the smaller more delicate flowers. It can restrict the spread and protect from more vigorous plants nearby.

white, yellow and purple planted pot

Urns filled with burgundy Petunia and crimson Geraniums stand out from the grey limestone pavement.

crimson petunia urns

Traditional basket planters filled with acid yellow calceolaria, slipper flowers ideal hung against a weathered rustic fence.

planter with yellow calceolaria - slipper flowers

Garden Ornaments and Water Features

A classic greek urn with egg and dart rim on a simple square stone pedestal gives hight and prominence to a single Hosta. Hopefully keeps the slugs from eating it too.

urn on pedestal with hosta - plantain liliesowl in a niche

Armeria Maritima or Sea Thrift is a plant that forms a mat of ground, or indeed roof, cover that thrives in harsh, exposed areas. Often found as its name implies by the sea, but this time provides a cover for a wooden structure that gives it a splash of colour in the late spring and summer.

roof covered with Armeria Maritima - Sea Thrift

Well established water features that add cool to the summer heat and attract wildlife of all kinds make a worthwhile feature in many of the gardens.

cast iron water featureornamental pond with statue

Well worth the time and effort if you can make it.

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