Swannington in Bloom returns

One of the most romantic gardens in Norfolk will feature in a leading fundraising garden party held in the county.

Photos: © Jeremy Smith

Swannington, near Reepham, will host its eighth biennial open gardens event on Sunday 30 June, featuring 10 private gardens spread across a total area of 234 acres.
There will also be classic car displays at Swannington Common and Upgate Common – including a number of Triumph Stags – and a selection of Morgans at Swannington Manor, reputed to be the most romantic garden in Norfolk.
Award-winning farm butchery Swannington Farm to Fork will be holding a barbecue on the village common, with light lunches available in St Margaret’s, Pimms on the terrace at Swannington Manor, cream teas at the Old Rectory and several other gardens serving home-made teas.
This year’s event is raising funds for the redevelopment of the village play area, where families can enjoy garden-themed arts and crafts and discover a selection of old and new farm machinery.
A percentage of the proceeds will also be donated to St Margaret’s to support ongoing maintenance of the church, parts of which date back to the 13th century.
Sue and Gregory Darling will be opening the gardens at Swannington Manor for the first time since moving to the village just over a year ago. In that time they have put their own stamp on the formal gardens, set in nearly 100 acres of parkland, grazing meadows and woodland.
“We’re delighted to be a part of Swannington in Bloom” said Mr Darling. “We’re really looking forward to welcoming back visitors who may have been in previous years – hopefully they will be as pleased with the changes that we have made to the garden as we are.”
The impressive 300-year-old yew hedge is still a dominant feature, while a new potager-style vegetable garden has been added.
Laura Marfell-Williams, chair of this year’s organising committee, said: “This is the eighth edition of Swannington in Bloom and we have more gardens opening this time than ever before, still at just £5 per person. With the inclusion of a number of classic car displays and activities for children, we’re hoping this year will be our best yet.”
Gardens will be open from 10 am – 5 pm on Sunday 30 June. Tickets cost £5 per person, available on the gate at the main car park.
For more information visit www.swanningtoninbloom.org
Full list of gardens opening

  • Swannington Manor – the house, built in 1700, creates a stunning backdrop to the garden. A huge 300-year-old yew hedge dominates the garden, while the potager-style vegetable garden is a new addition.
  • Manor Farmhouse – the house was built in the 1600s, but parts of the garden you see now were only planted about 40 years ago and include a yew topiary garden underplanted with lavender. The garden links to the Romantic Garden Nursery, which offers a large range of topiary, mature shrubs and trees.
  • The Old Rectory – grounds include a well-established rose garden seen at its best in June, along with mature trees, borders, beds and shrubberies – the ideal spot to enjoy a home-made cream tea and pick up some plants to take home from the on-site stall.
  • 1 Manor Cottages (pictured below) – a small and recently established garden, incorporating recycled materials and designed to encourage wildlife.
  • Upgate Cottage – created over the past five years, this colourful garden includes roses, herbaceous plants, a heated greenhouse, a bog garden, potager vegetable garden and wildflower orchard with walks.
  • Swan Cottage – this “fabergé” garden is packed with a large, eclectic mixture of plants and shrubs. There is also a small wildlife pond with a thriving population of newts and frogs.
  • Woodland Wander (pictured above) – reclaimed from woodland, this is the site of an old marl pit that for many years was used as the local tip, but has now been replanted with predominantly British deciduous saplings.
  • Guton Farm Cottage – home to, and showcase for, a professional garden designer, this location is new to the trail this year. A multitude of “rooms” include a miniature Monet garden, a white room and a collection of hot perennials.
  • Heath Farmhouse – comprising two areas of herbaceous borders either side of the house and a more formal parterre complete with box hedge and obelisk. Surrounding rough grassland has been planted with a selection of specimen trees.
  • Honeysuckle Cottage – tucked away on Kett’s Lane, this quintessential English country cottage garden includes a wide variety of herbaceous borders and shrubs as well as walkways around the stream running through it.

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