Helmingham Hall Gardens – August 2016

Helmingham Hall is only a stone’s throw away from Otley Hall in Suffolk, yet somehow I had never thought of visiting to take flower images – until this summer.  I ‘discovered’ the beautiful walled garden whilst at the hall for the Suffolk Dog Day in July – was bowled over by its romantic beauty – and made a plan to return as soon as possible …

My first Photoshoot was at the beginning of August and I was filled with a restless excitement to capture as much as possible. I was visiting with a couple of fellow photographers – who were put off by the breezy conditions – so I struck off on my own to concentrate fully on the task in hand.  The weather was brooding and gave a fantastic atmosphere to the views of the hall and its grounds -:

The hall itself cannot be under-estimated. It has all my favourite elements – red brick, masses of handsome chimneys, elegant proportions and a moat with romantic drawbridges. So pleasingly photogenic …

 

I took a few shots of the formal knot garden before making my way to the walled garden -:

 

 

The walled garden itself has a parterre between the hall and its entrance, which allows for beautiful vistas in every direction. There are urns and intricate wrought iron gates, with Pegasus finials on the gate pillars.

 

My overriding impression is that the design of the garden – despite all these formal elements (and not-withstanding the formality of the grid layout within the walls themselves) – has achieved a relaxed and informal feel, romantic and flowing and extremely welcoming.

 

 

The planting has a great deal to do with this achievement. There are no harsh lines or edges – gateways are softened by Japanese anemones, hibiscus clothes the end of the wrought iron bean tunnel, pure white cosmos form wispy swaying circles around the grand urns – and wide herbaceous borders crammed full of complementary colours, heights and textures stretch out in all directions to achieve maximum impact from the grid of pathways …

 

 

Once I had fully soaked up the atmosphere of the garden, I set about studying individual plants and found plenty of favourites …

 

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There were fruit & vegetable areas within the walled garden, which blended in beautifully …

 

 

… and a cleverly designed dahlia ‘cutting garden’ which represented the individual plants set out throughout the herbaceous borders. These were thankfully all neatly labelled and so acted like a key on a map for me. The neat line of plants also made it easy to photograph individual blooms -:

 

 

It was all too soon time for the garden to close – my friends having departed some time before me – and yet I had only managed to concentrate on about a third of the area within the walls. I felt that it would take several days to do this garden justice, however, I had thoroughly enjoyed myself was left with the pleasurable thought of knowing that I needed to return again very soon.

 

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