East Bergholt Place Gardens (Place for Plants)

My favourite local garden to visit is that owned by Rupert & Sara Eley, on the outskirts of the pretty village of East Bergholt, just over the border in Suffolk.

East Bergholt Place is a mere 10 minute drive away from where I live; houses a wonderful plant centre ‘The Place for Plants’ and allows RHS members free access everyday but Sunday. This all means that I often pop there for a few hours photography during the week – and always find it to be a most peaceful and rewarding location.

There are many trees and large shrubs, with winding paths along which one can wander freely. Both these things lend a natural setting to the garden, with no starchy formality for the visitor – and this is also reflected in the planting. The latter flows, lives and breathes with the undulating terrain of the Stour Valley, as if it has always been there …
The garden opens between Spring & Autumn – and there is a much to recommend it throughout each season.
Personally, I like to start with a snowdrop visit, complemented by beautiful magnolias & camellias – followed by a slightly later trip to admire the fritillary meadow – and marvel at my favourite rhododendrons. In the late summer, the hydrangeas steal the show in shaded wooded areas and around the ponds, whilst the echinaceas in the upper garden mesmerise both me and the bees.
There are hosts of other wonderful and unusual plants & trees in the 20 acre area of garden – but for now I am going to concentrate on what inspired me during my last 2 Summer visits – :

Part 1 focuses on the Echinacea purpurea and Part 2 on the Eleys’ impressive hydrangea  collection – as each deserved a visit in their own right …

Despite the intense heat of summer, I found the garden shady – and much cooler than at home. It was remarkably easy to lose myself in this plant haven, surrounded by its natural beauty – and totally absorbed in my photography …


    Part One –  July 21st 2016.

Echinacea purpurea – The dancing ladies in pink party dresses begin their lives as spiky, crowned buds – which to me are as glorious as their finished ball gowns .


As they begin to dress, they pull their petticoats over their heads and stretch their skirts out to each side for a while to unfurl …

before allowing them to fall neatly around their stems …


I have included images of 2 other plants that caught my eye during my visit -:

A climbing rose with blooms like cascading blossom with petals of pale pink with a wash of candy-pink.
The other was a single flower spike from a drift of crimson pink Astilbe – whose delicate flowers deserve to be admired at close quarters. The drift itself contrasted well with a stand of variegated iris leaves – both in terms of colour and texture.


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