10:00 am June 18, 2022
The sun is shining, the refreshments are delicious, the music is playing… and you’re sitting in an enchanting setting.
The Sunday afternoon tea season begins tomorrow (June 19) in one of the country’s most important Victorian town gardens.
Located off Earlham Road, near the line of the medieval city walls, it was laid out in a former chalk quarry by its owner, the city’s leading businessman and horticulturist, Henry Trevor.
Commissioned by the Plantation Garden Preservation Trust, Sarah Spooner of The Landscape Group at the University of East Anglia has written a fascinating book that tells her unique story.
She explains so well how Henry created a garden containing many features, plants and buildings from the Victorian era on a site of about eight acres.
The land was used for lime kiln and chalk extraction before Henry leased the site, built the house and began landscaping a garden in the mid 1850s.
The garden is believed to be the work of Henry himself in close collaboration with his gardener George Woodhouse and the great architect Edward Boardman.
They combine to create a very special place with a unique atmosphere and features.
Although the plantation was a private garden, Henry often opened it to the public for charity events.
In the summer of 1892, he permitted the YMCA to hold a bazaar and garden party in the garden, which drew around 4,000 people and included fireworks.
He often donated flowers from the gardens to churches across the city, and large numbers of people living in the late 19th century had the opportunity to enjoy the gardens and explore the landscape he created.
Henry died in 1897, and although his widow lived on the plantation until 1902, the lease was soon put up for sale.
In 1905 Sir Kenneth Kemp lived in the house, followed by Percy Evershed and in 1922 George Green became the last private occupant of the plantation.
The well known Green family made a number of changes to the garden and then records show that the plantation was converted into a nursing home until 1931 and continued as a clinic until after the war when Norwich City Council used it as a maternity home.
The garden fell into disrepair and was overgrown and forgotten until it was rediscovered and thankfully the Plantation Garden Preservation Trust was formed in 1980 with the aim of preserving this gem.
It was a huge task. One we should applaud
What a wonderful job they have done and continue to do. The Plantation shines with new splendor and is a place for all of us to enjoy.
It was the result of one man’s vision and is a superb example of a privately owned Victorian garden (as opposed to a public park or garden) and its survival means it is an important site…one to cherish .
Sarah Spooner’s book is available in the garden. It was sponsored in memory of Rosemary Salt who loved the space dearly.
And we have much to thank the members of the conservation team for all their hard work to ensure that this glorious jewel brings joy for many years to come.
It was the secret garden… now it is the garden of men.
Down in the garden
The Plantation is hosting a variety of events this summer including concerts, plays, family shows and films.
The Sunday Afternoon Teas start tomorrow (19 June) from 2pm to 4pm. You can enjoy homemade cakes and listen to the performances of some talented local musicians and singers.
The first will be members of the Ukulele Society and others attending throughout the summer will include The Heart Troubadors, Musical Allsorts, Sarah Smith, Kelmerized, Colin & Malle, Sonrisa and A13 Allstars, Saxobility, the Community Choir and finally on the 4th. September will see the Park Lane Singers perform.
For all details about events you need tickets for some. Visit plantationgarden.co.uk in the coming weeks