Adventures in Boots – The Old Vicarage Gardens – September 2015

August visit to The Old Vicarage Gardens in East Ruston, Norfolk.

One of the joys of having friends living far & wide is that you get to visit the gardens in their locality. The Old Vicarage Gardens in East Ruston, Norfolk is on the edge of the universe as far as I’m concerned & a difficult place to visit which means it’s been on my list of places to go for about twenty years & I’ve never managed to get there until this summer. One of my best friends lives in Bury, Suffolk so it was still another couple of hours on from her place to East Ruston. Undaunted & cameras charged we set off on a beautiful sunny day, (the only one we had in August) & landed at The Old Vicarage Gardens at 1pm opening time.

Alan Gray and Graham Robeson have been owners of the gardens for 40 years. When they arrived there were no gardens & they have worked meticulously to re-establish lost wildlife & areas full of horticultural diversity. Sections of the gardens are planted with roses, exotics, Dutch style planting, herbs, desert plants, vegetables & cut flowers & fortunately for us on the day there was shade to be had in the woodland garden where a terrific collection of hydrangeas thrived.

One area close to the house had the most beautiful collection of echeverias & succulents…whether they were taken into a greenhouse for the winter or draped with fleece I didn’t ask but they looked good & strong & most at home.


No fine upstanding garden that hawks visitors is complete without a tea shop. The Old Vicarage didn’t disappoint; the cakes were all homemade & the tea served in a proper pot. The plant shop sold a huge healthy array of plant specimens that grew in the gardens & I also spotted a shed that displayed some interesting old tools.  I reckon if I lived closer I would’ve trundled along to one of their open evenings to see the gardens at dusk. Also, I’ve noticed from their website they hold flower arranging & painting classes along with Gardener’s Question Time & Summer Parties. East Ruston could be a good locality for a short break-there is a great beach very close & a lighthouse too.  Everyone loves a lighthouse.

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