Raveningham Gardens

 A feature from the September 2016 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life magazine
Suffolk Norfolk Life September 2016Click to view this issue »
Nature, Places
By Alan Beaumont

There are some fine gardens in our two counties of East Anglia, East Rushton Old vicarage, The four National Trust properties at Blickling, Felbrigg, Oxbugh and Ickworth and the superb Bressingham gardens developed by Alan and Adrian Bloom. For a highly specialised wetland garden there is the Broadland property of Fairhaven. There is another, Raveningham, that is probably not so well known but surely deserves to be as the ones listed above.

The 10-Acre garden is positioned within the 120-acre parkland where wildflowers are allowed to grow in quite staggering numbers. It was Priscilla Bacon who initiated the garden and had a nursery. Now her son, Sir Nicholas Bacon, has taken on the role of maintaining and expanding the garden as is evident to see. His ability as a gardener and a planner is evident as he has been honoured by being elected to the position of president of the Royal Horticultural Society.

There are a number of ways in which a garden and its house can be complimented: to be accepted by the National Trust is obviously one. Another must surely be to have a working steam locomotive named after you, and Raveningham Hall is one of this small select group. Originally there were over 200 steam locomotives of the Great Western Railway’s rolling stock named after British Halls. 6960 is one of the very few that survived the Beeching axe and is now one of the steam trains that run on the West Somerset Railway between Minehead and Taunton. Unfortunately neither ‘Holkham Hall’ nor ‘Oxburgh Hall’ survived the scrapping of the steam trains.

On entering the Raveningham garden from the car park, you see the large grassy area devoted to the production of Agapanthus varieties, and this is one of the specialities and includes the white ‘Queen Mum’ and the appropriate Raveningham Hall variety. In the late summer some of these bulbous plants, depending on the success of the growing season, will be available to purchase. Ahead is one of the walls of the walled garden, but there is a new orchard of 30 apple trees including the appropriately-named variety Sandringham and what is a superb tasting variety, Norfolk Royal Russett.

Read the full article in the September 2016 issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life Magazine
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