Norwich gardens open to the public for charity

Kate ScotterNorwich is known as a city of history, culture, shopping and a tourism destination.Kate Scotter

Norwich is known as a city of history, culture, shopping and a tourism destination. Now it is becoming known for its collection of gardens of quality and character as gardeners open up their pride and joy for charity.

A number of secret gardens hidden behind the city's walls are featured in this year's National Gardens Scheme prestigious 'Yellow Book'.

The annual event sees thousands of people across the country throw open their gardens to the public to raise money for several charities, including Macmillan Cancer Care, Help the Hospices and the National Trust.

Over the next two months, garden lovers can follow a garden trail in and around Norwich.

This Sunday, the Bishop's garden, a four acre walled garden dating back to the 12th century, will be open from 1pm to 5pm.

And next weekend will see the garden at the Bear Shop, in Elm Hill, open for the first time for the National Gardens Scheme.

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The garden, considered to be based on a design by Gertrude Jekyll, will be open on July 4 from 11am to 4.30pm.

Meanwhile, the quarter of an acre garden hidden behind Strangers Hall, the former home of wealthy merchants and mayors of the 16th and 17th century, will be open from 11am to 4pm on the same day.

Just outside of Norwich, Heronsbridge in Bawburgh Road, Marlingford, will be open on July 11 and North Lodge, Bowthorpe Road, will open twice - July 18 and 25.

In August, people will once again have the chance to see bananas and palm trees growing just outside the city centre with Will Giles' renowned Exotic Garden in Thorpe Road.

The garden is said to be 'a riot of colour' among towering architectural plants such as cannas, bananas, aroids, palms, giving the garden a subtropical feel.

To end the Norwich garden trail will be Plovers Hill, just outside the city, in Buckenham Road, Strumpshaw, on August 8.

Home of assistant county organisers James and Jan Saunt, the one-acre garden features a formal lawn hedged with yew and lesser species, huge mulberry, gingko, liquidambar and Japanese bitter orange, herbaceous borders with a range of varied plants, garden sculpture and water feature.

It also has a kitchen garden with orchard and soft fruits.

Mr Saunt said: 'The NGS gardens posses a beautifully tranquil atmosphere in and just outside of the city centre. More and more city garden owners are transforming their homes to incorporate green or tropical gardens. It is also interesting to find large gardens within Norwich.

'For many years only a few gardens have opened regularly. The awareness of 'The National Gardens Scheme Yellow Book' and the increased interest in garden design and grow your own has led to many gardeners becoming enthusiasts and aiming for high standards.

'It is very rewarding for them to achieve the recognition of the NGS and share their gardening passion with visitors while raising money for worthwhile charities.'

For full opening times and prices, go to your nearest tourist information centre or garden centre to pick up a Norfolk NGS Garden Guide or visit

If your garden is blooming, now is the time to contact county organiser Fiona Black to discuss opening your garden on 01692 650247.