Inside the city garden now transformed into a botanist's paradise

George Ishmael, front, with some of the Heavenly Gardeners volunteers who have worked on the new Nor

George Ishmael, front, with some of the Heavenly Gardeners volunteers who have worked on the new Norwich Botanists' Garden at St Martin at Palace Church. From left, Sandy Munro, Elizabeth de Iongh, Tony Hufton, and Peter Woodrow. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Across the city patches of disused green space are being transformed thanks to the hard graft of volunteers. 

The Heavenly Gardens project is on a mission to spruce up the gardens of Norwich's many medieval churches - and have unveiled their latest transformation.

The team has already seen the garden of All Saints Church turned into a twinning garden, celebrating the city's global twin cities, which opened in 2019.

The markers naming Norwich botanists over the years at the new Norwich Botanists' Garden at St Marti

The markers naming Norwich botanists over the years at the new Norwich Botanists' Garden at St Martin at Palace Church. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

And now, the latest vision pays tribute to a thousand years of botany in the Fine City.

The churchyard of St Martins at Palace Church is now known as the Norwich Botanists' Garden and was officially opened to the public a few weeks ago by Caroline Jarrold, the Sheriff of Norwich.


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George Ishmael, project leader of Heavenly Gardens, said: "Over the last 1,000 year, Norwich has had many residents who have contributed to the knowledge and understanding of plants, from the Benedictine monks of Norwich Cathedral who kept alive the skills of gardening, to the present day scientists at the John Innes Institute, working to unravel the mysteries of plant life at the molecular level.

George Ishmael, front, with some of the Heavenly Gardeners volunteers who have worked on the new Nor

George Ishmael, front, with some of the Heavenly Gardeners volunteers who have worked on the new Norwich Botanists' Garden at St Martin at Palace Church. From left, Sandy Munro, Elizabeth de Iongh, Tony Hufton, and Peter Woodrow. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

"Norwich has produced famous botanists like Sir Edward Hooker, the first director of Key Gardens and John Lindley, famed secretary of the Royal Horticultural Society who sent out plant hunters to far corners of the world.

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"To commemorate these men and women and their contributions through the ages, a Norwich Botanists' Garden has been made in the churchyard of St Martin at Palace, headquarters of the Norwich Historic Churches Trust."

The Heavenly Gardens project has already left green fringerprints across the city, as it works towards creating a trail of interconnected gardens for city folk to enjoy.

A teasel, a plant used in medieval times for carding wool, which is in the new Norwich Botanists' Ga

A teasel, a plant used in medieval times for carding wool, which is in the new Norwich Botanists' Garden at St Martin at Palace Church. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

It has completed projects in St Stephens, St George Tombland, St Simon and St Jude, St George Colegate, St Clement, and St Peter Mancroft churchyards.

The project is also looking to establish a walking trail between the gardens, which people will be able to follow and learn of the city's history along the way.

The botanists' garden part of the project was built by Heavenly Gardens volunteers and largely funded by the Norfolk Gardens Trust.

The markers naming Norwich botanists over the years at the new Norwich Botanists' Garden at St Marti

The markers naming Norwich botanists over the years at the new Norwich Botanists' Garden at St Martin at Palace Church. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021


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