About the garden
Anne and Simon Harrap
New for 2024: Natural Surroundings is a compact, loveable garden situated on the Bayfield Estate alongside the River Glaven, one of Norfolk’s internationally important ‘chalk rivers’. In the late 19th century, the gently rolling landscape, a patchwork of fields, woods and fine specimen trees were enhanced by Alfred Repps Jodrell (of ‘Jodrell Bank’). Many other fine specimen trees are located in and around the eight acres of the Wildflower Centre.
Around half of the site is divided up into small gardens designed to showcase every aspect of wildlife gardening, such as the ‘bee’, ‘butterfly’ and ‘moth’ gardens and the herb garden. There are several ponds as well as the river itself. Anne and Simon Harrap (the owners) are ‘plantaholics’ and have authored books on British wild orchids and the best-selling Harrap's Wildflowers.
Naturally throughout the gardens there is an emphasis on encouraging a love of plants, with many of the smaller and more delicate species displayed in raised cold frames, troughs, sinks, greenhouses and even an old bath. Bordering the River Glaven is a wet woodland, with a working charcoal kiln, and an area of well-managed wet meadows; boardwalks take you over the boggier bits and allow an intimate experience of many wild flowers.
From early spring to late autumn the great diversity of plants, both British wildflowers and cultivated plants from across the northern hemisphere, results in a fantastic diversity of wildlife. In summer, visitors are delighted by the number and variety of butterflies, bees, dragonflies and species of moth. Even in the dead of winter the range of native trees and shrubs is fascinating and the action-packed bird-feeders enthralling.
Please note: This is a partially accessible garden (most of the garden is accessible, but some parts are not easily accessible).