Joy and Des Bell’s garden in Norfolk Downs is another model of what you can do in a small town property. This is a great example where people can see a garden that is just being established.
I was intrigued to see this garden because I had recently got to know to Des at the Cambridge Bowling Club, not realising that his was one of the gardens in the festival. Ailsa, my wife, and Liz, my sister, accompanied me on this visit on Queen’s Birthday. Joy and Des had just moved to the new property in October. They wanted a smaller place and a garden was definitely a priority. This garden was so new when we visited that the spray-on lawn seeding had just been done and this meant we were restricted to the paths and shuffling along some garden edging!
Nandina domestica ‘Lemon-Lime’ line the front path. Their new foliage has striking lemon tones fading to lime green as they age. A feature at the front is the standard Liquidambar ‘Gumball’ which has a naturally compact growth habit.
As we walked down the path on the side of the house and around to the rear garden, I was struck by two clear themes – topiary and garden art. I think Joy and Des like shaping plants. They will shape the teardrop green lorapetulum and the red ones will be balled. Pittosporum have been mop-topped and a Star Jasmine is growing up an obelisk.
Joy has moved some of her favourite plants from her previous garden, including a group of Camelia ‘Quintessence’ covered in buds. This is ideal as groundcover with its compact low-growing nature. Another ground cover was the Altemanthera brasiliensis with its stunning burgundy foliage. She has lots of Alstroemeria, carpet roses and Helleborus.
Features include the highly ornamental weeping Acer Ornatum Variegatum by the patio, standard Viburnums and lots of garden art. On the side fence there is an impressive mosaic that was created by their daughter. The mosaic is in red, white and black and these colours seem to be the primary theme of the garden. At the back of the property there is a walkway and Joy and Des seem to enjoy chatting to people who pass by. They were given a couple of statues by Connie, one of the people they had met in this way. Apparently, she was not allowed the statues in her retirement village.
I was truly amazed what this couple had achieved in such a short time. I expect it will have developed further by the time you see it in November.
By Don Wilson