Boxford Open Gardens 2018

Flowering Urn



Sunday 3rd June was my 3rd annual visit to Boxford Open Gardens.

A firm favourite with me (despite always being a scorching hot day with tricky light conditions) and so I was expecting great things from my journey around the gardens, even if I could only manage a small proportion in the 5 hours available. I actually managed to visit 19 of the 27 gardens and loved every minute …

I have a passion for my Flower Photography and hope that you will love my images.

I’ve collated my images in order to post my favourites – and most of the gardens have been included. There are new favourites every year – yet 17 Swan Street, Weavers House & Crown House are always eagerly anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed. I do hope you enjoy my peek behind the back gates of the beautiful houses in this charming Suffolk village …

4, The Causeway

This was a lovely, natural garden with lots of wild flower areas and a beautiful Weigela.  A good start to my day !


2, Cox Hill

I was the first visitor of the day to this charming garden, which had a definite Plantswoman’s touch. It was lovely to chat to the owner, Ginny Budd, about her choice of flowers – especially the Cedric Morris irises. There was also a very attractive double geranium that I had never seen before. One of my favourite gardens of the day …


15, Holbrook Barn Road

The roses were magnificent back in early June, before the long dry spell kicked in – and this garden was a spectacular showcase for many beautiful examples. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit here, although it was tempered with sadness that the owner had recently lost his wife – who had been the driving force behind the garden’s creation. He had done a marvellous job keeping it in perfect condition and promised faithfully that he would learn the names of all the roses ready for my visit next year ! This was one of the loveliest smaller gardens that I have ever visited and I especially loved the views through the rose-clad archway !


21, Brook Hall Road

I was lucky enough to coincide my visit here with some beautiful singing by the Madrigalia Choir and enjoy some shade in this restful garden.








15, Brook Hall Road

The houses along this road all back onto a brook ( hence the name) and the owners of this particular garden had taken full advantage of this feature, creating a wonderful series of paths & decking around the brook. It had involved a great deal of hard work and expense, yet the result was totally worth it. They had even unearthed some special friends who lived down near the water !!




13, Brook Hall Road

Another peaceful garden with plenty of welcome shade and nature trees. I particularly loved the alpine sink with the pretty pink Lewisia.




I headed back down into the village towards the church to one of my favourite gardens from last year. I had spent ages in this garden then and was pleased to see that it held the same charm, even though the weather conditions of 2018 meant that there was a completely different display on show. This year I was also able to meet the owner, Sarah, who had been very pleased with my photos from last year’s visit.




3, Church Street

This was my favourite photo from this small courtyard-style garden, recently taken on by new owners. A beautiful rose – and I can never resist bunting !


Rambling Rose & Bunting
Rambling Rose & Bunting


Mary’s House

I always stop off for a quick visit to this lovely property. The tiny garden is always brimming with colour …




Hendrick House

This garden is always very popular with lots of interest, as well as a lovely view of St Mary’s Church tower. The plants on display were quite different to last year because of how different our weather has been – and the roses were especially pretty.


17, Swan Street

I was pleased to arrive here, as it is always one of my top gardens…

I especially love Guy’s Hosta display and the beautiful climbing rose – Constance Spry. Needless to say, these 2 were in stunning form, as always !



Weavers House

Another firm favourite with me – with the added bonus of being able to chat to a wonderful Plantswoman, Maggie Thorpe. Her small courtyard garden always looks special and is filled with more unusual varieties. This year,  I was particularly taken with the Monkshood – this image being one of my best loved of the day …



Crown House

Time was passing quicker than I thought, so I decided to make my way by car up towards Groton & Edwardstone – as I had never managed to visit many gardens from that area. I started with an old favourite at Crown House – the home of another talented Plantswoman – Chloris of ‘The Blooming Garden’ Blog.
It was as beautiful as last year – with the Rose “Phyllis Bide” looking really splendid on the trellis & arches of the Secret Garden. The latter has really come into its own this year and looks established and luxurious with the heady perfume of Honeysuckle – Lonicera “Scentsation” and a very pretty double Philadelphus “Snowbelle”. I’ve included images of my other favourites of the day, including a wonderful white single rose with flushes of pink.
All in all; a truly inspiring garden …


From Groton to Edwardstone and -:

8 The Winthrops

I had been recommended not to miss this garden if I liked roses –  and there were definitely some wonderful blooms here, as well as some delightful cottage-garden species.


Edwardstone Cottage

This garden had stunning Cistus purpureus with petals like crushed silk …




Walnut Tree Cottage

By the time I found this delightful property it had just gone 4.30 and the garden was officially closed. The owners were extremely friendly,  however,  letting me have a look around and providing me with welcome refreshment ! It was a lovely garden with the highlights being a wonderful brick outbuilding adorned with climbing rose and a stunning deep-raspberry-red lupin – which gave me another favourite image of the day.




I had planned to visit Dormers as my finale because it was open until 5pm. It was a marvellous way to finish the day, as it was a stunning garden in a most favourable setting.
Being surrounded on 3 sides by open fields gave a perfect backdrop to the planting schemes, which had been cleverly designed to maximise vistas from all angles. Beds were planted up to be viewed both looking back into the garden from the field perimeter as well as to be admired with the fields and woods beyond.

There were numerous pathways around the garden which led me to new vistas  &  garden ‘rooms’. It would be difficult for me to choose my favourite feature of the garden – as there were so many-:

The gorgeously romantic pink clematis;

The pond area with views to open countryside;

The amazing selection of roses in the front garden …

Perhaps I would have to say that the vistas created by the rose & clematis-covered archway in the side garden were the loveliest aspect ?


Certainly my image below of this vista is my top photograph of the day …


Overall – and it is a very tough decision – this was my favourite garden of the day. You will have to visit Dormers next year and decide for yourselves ..!

East Bergholt Place Garden

I have always enjoyed taking photographs at this beautiful garden, so was looking forward to capturing images of the wonderful array of Hydrangeas on show this Summer …

After sharing some of my latest images with plantswomen Sue and owners Rupert & Sara Eley, I was thrilled to be granted some wall space in the cafe area of the garden centre to display some of my favourites and to offer them for sale to the public …

East Bergholt Place Garden – Part 2 – 18/8/16

The Hydrangea has been another late-comer into my realm of favoured flowering plants – in a similar way to the Dahlia and Rose – it took discovering the flowers in their perfect environment to awaken the admiration in me …

It was in this very garden last summer where and when I realised that hydrangeas were more than just the blousy pompon blooms of suburban front gardens, which came out either pink or blue depending on the soil they were planted in.
It was this particular bush –  Hydrangea aborescens –  that really opened my eyes -: a delicate froth of pale-pink petals, like the lace of fairy’s bonnet.

I was so impressed that I purchased my own from the Place for Plants garden centre, as it gives a romantic, cottage-style effect to my own back garden …


There are hydrangea bushes dotted all around the garden – and one day I will try to capture each and every variety and shade. For this particular visit, I concentrated on the shrubs closest to the lower ponds and tried my hardest to record all the names. I only missed a few that were without labels … The sheer variety of colours and shapes kept me busy for 2 hours, with no one else to disturb the tranquility – apart from a small mouse I spotted rustling through the undergrowth.


The different shades within one particular variety amazed me …


Next – there was a variety called Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Burgundy’ – with huge oak-shaped leaves, although curiously enough at this stage there is no sign of ‘Burgundy’ whatsoever. As Autumn approaches, however, the flowers apparently turn from creamy white, through pinkish hues to deeper purple red, with the oak leaves taking on the gorgeous red shades of the season. I will have to return to capture an image of this transformation …

Each different variety had a slightly different shade – this ‘Green Shadow’ also has a colour change throughout its lifespan – I loved it as it was with its cool violet petals with blue stamens and buds …


The ‘Rotschwanz’ below had really impressed me last Summer – for its rich wine-red petals and how gloriously it stood out against the backdrop of the pond with its covering of lime green. It was still as impressive as I had remembered.


It was hard to believe that there could possibly be more colours to feast upon …


And to finish – Hydrangea grandiflora ‘Paniculata’ –  the most wonderful frothy cream flower-heads tinged with pink on arching boughs – which looked graceful and delicate enough for a Fairy Queen’s wedding bower …


As you can now no doubt appreciate, the Hydrangeas at East Bergholt Place told a story so much richer than just pink and blue …

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.