East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk

east ruston vicarage garden

East Ruston Old Vicarage is a must visit for visitors to Norfolk. However please don’t do what we did and arrive before opening time (a leisurely 2pm) in desperate need of tea / coffee / any old caffienne, having been victim of a powercut at our rented cottage.  Sad, desperate times they were.

We detoured to the beach for a few hours before returning and I am pleased to report that they serve tea and we cleaned them out of savoury bakes. I was also very happy to meet their gang of lhasa apsos who were hanging about the cafe area, presumably trying to nick cake crumbs.

The gardens are lovely.  You must pick up the booklet while there as the illustrated map of the grounds is a nice keepsake and extremely helpful in guiding you around.

norfolk garden east rustoneast ruston old vicarage

The garden is made up of many ‘rooms’, some of which have been positioned to ‘borrow’ a view from a distant landmark.  One of the most stunning has to be the framed view of the Happisburgh Lighthouse from the Winter Garden.  So difficult to photograph and one that really must be seen in person (an image can be seen here). My other favourite thing about this garden was the glasshouses. Er, again no pictures. Clearly we were too busy enjoying these lovely things! One housed a beautiful climbing rose and the scent was just incredible as you walked inside.

east ruston old vicarage

They also have a nicely stocked nursery area where you can purchase plants. Must be a lovely place for locals to come and stock up.

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East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens / Closes for winter on 26 October / Opening times: 2 – 5.30pm

RHS Wisley – A Winter Visit

RHS Wisley Gardens Weather Vane

It feels like we’re very nearly there: the end of winter (hurray!).  I have to admit that I find February the most wearying month, despite the signs of spring, because it seems to be persistently grey. I had been eyeing up the weather forecast for a few weeks and had spotted a sunny day on one of my days off, so I planned a visit to RHS Wisley in Surrey with my good friend Hayley.

I knew there would be lots for us to see at Wisley, even in winter.  And there was: snowdrops, crocuses, hellebores, the odd daffodil.  They currently have a butterfly display in the glasshouse (visit at lunchtime  – the queue is shorter).  The willow and dogwood stems were stunning as was this little Robin who sat on this tree singing for ages.

If you’re sick of hibernating, I really recommend a trip to Wisley.  It’s about an hours drive from central London.  There is a nice pub about five minutes drive from the gardens if you fancy lunch or dinner: The Anchor on Pyrford Lock.

Willow stems at RHS WisleyDogwood stems at RHS WisleyHouse at RHS WisleyWillow stems at RHS WisleyAir plant at RHS WisleyCacti RHS Wisley glasshouseWisley glasshouseRHS Wisley Alpine Gardentree arches