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Three super Suffolk gardens to put zing into spring

PUBLISHED: 18:00 06 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:14 09 March 2020

The banks of the Stour at Great Thurlow Hall are adorned with daffodil and narcissi, and blossoming trees in spring    Picture: Steven Moore

The banks of the Stour at Great Thurlow Hall are adorned with daffodil and narcissi, and blossoming trees in spring Picture: Steven Moore

Archant

What with all the wind and rain, and talk of Covid-19, we need something to cheer us up

There's much to enjoy at the Place for Plants during the spring     Picture: Sara EleyThere's much to enjoy at the Place for Plants during the spring Picture: Sara Eley

Thank heavens for the National Garden Scheme. Visitors get the chance to enjoy the kind of gardens most of us can only dream of, and a clutch of super charities benefits from the money raised.

The daffodils are going strong - a sure sign the 2020 garden-visiting season is about to get going in earnest. So let's start planning our trips (see ngs.org.uk). To kick off, here's a trio of local lovelies opening their gates on the first weekend of April. Mark them on the calendar now...

(Many NGS gardens open more than once during the year, so it's worth checking the website.)

At Thornham Walled Garden, charity Beyond the Wall has run a day-care initiative since 1987, helping disabled adults enjoy horticulture and the outdoors      Picture: Phil Vaughn-WilliamsAt Thornham Walled Garden, charity Beyond the Wall has run a day-care initiative since 1987, helping disabled adults enjoy horticulture and the outdoors Picture: Phil Vaughn-Williams

Thornham Walled Garden: A newbie for 2020 - and a goodie. Charity Beyond the Wall has run a day-care initiative since 1987, helping disabled adults enjoy horticulture and the outdoors while also gaining life skills and confidence.

It all happens in the grounds of a Victorian walled garden on the Thornham estate, near Eye. Clients are helped to care for and develop the garden. The produce is used in cooking.

Thornham Walled Garden is about two acres and was originally created to supply fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers to the estate's "big house".

It fell into disrepair but was revived thanks to National Lottery money. There's an orchard, rose and double herbaceous border, tropical plants, a vinery and fruit/vegetable garden.

Great Thurlow Hall: All this and a large walled kitchen garden too      Picture: Steven MooreGreat Thurlow Hall: All this and a large walled kitchen garden too Picture: Steven Moore

Thornham Walled Garden, Thornham Magna, near Eye, IP23 8HA

Saturday, April 4

11am to 4pm

Adults £5, children free

The Place for Plants: This sloping garden is reckoned to look particularly beautiful in the spring    Picture: Sara EleyThe Place for Plants: This sloping garden is reckoned to look particularly beautiful in the spring Picture: Sara Eley

Home-made teas available

Three miles south-west of Eye. From A140 (heading north) take left turning at White Horse pub, Stoke Ash, to Thornham Magna. Take right turn at Four Horseshoes pub.

01379 788700 and www.beyondthewall.org.uk/our-garden

Thornham Walled Garden is about two acres and was originally built to supply fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers to the estate’s 'big house'                      Picture: Phil Vaughn-WilliamsThornham Walled Garden is about two acres and was originally built to supply fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers to the estate’s 'big house' Picture: Phil Vaughn-Williams

Great Thurlow Hall, near Haverhill: Thirteen acres of beautiful gardens by the River Stour, the banks of which are adorned with daffodil and narcissi, and blossoming trees in spring.

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The garden was developed in the middle of the last century by the owner's grandfather. A large walled kitchen garden includes a vinery, berry cage, greenhouse, espaliered fruit and a range of apple trees, as well as a mixed picking border and vegetable patches.

The main garden has mixed borders, a rose garden, a gazebo, large lawns, yew hedges and arboretum.

Great Thurlow Hall, near Haverhill has 13 acres of beautiful gardens by the River Stour    Picture: Steven MooreGreat Thurlow Hall, near Haverhill has 13 acres of beautiful gardens by the River Stour Picture: Steven Moore

Great Thurlow Hall, Great Thurlow, near Haverhill, CB9 7LF

Sunday, April 5

2pm to 5pm

Adults £5, children free

The Place for Plants, at East Bergholt, is a 20-acre garden originally laid out at turn of last century by the owner’s great-grandfather    Picture: Sara EleyThe Place for Plants, at East Bergholt, is a 20-acre garden originally laid out at turn of last century by the owner’s great-grandfather Picture: Sara Eley

Home-made teas available in church

Twelve miles south of Bury St Edmunds; four miles north of Haverhill. Village is on B1061 from Newmarket; and 3½miles north of junction with A143 Haverhill/Bury St Edmunds road

The Place for Plants, East Bergholt Place Garden: Twenty-acre garden originally laid out at turn of last century by owner's great-grandfather. It's described as a "Cornish garden in Suffolk". Near the estuary, and with a high water table and acid soil, this sloping garden is reckoned to look particularly beautiful in the spring.

It's full of fine trees and shrubs, many seldom seen in East Anglia. There's a wonderful collection of camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons, topiary, and the National Collection of deciduous Euonymus.

There are numerous primroses and snake-head fritillaries. A couple of ornamental ponds and examples of topiary surround the walled garden housing specialist plant centre The Place for Plants.

The Place for Plants, East Bergholt Place Garden, East Bergholt, CO7 6UP

Sunday, April 5

2pm to 5pm

Adults £7, children free

Home-made teas available

Two miles east of A12; seven miles south of Ipswich. On B1070 towards Manningtree, on edge of East Bergholt

01206 299224 and www.placeforplants.co.uk


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