Will Giles' Exotic Garden in Norwich, Norfolk is one that I've been trying to get to for a couple of years, but both time and weather have conspired against me and it remains at the top of my wish list for 2012! But fear not, my great friends Paul and Pauline McBride of Sussex Prairies, who are working with me on the Disha Hospital project in Rajasthan made it there today and kindly sent both pictures and words to make a welcome guest entry for "The Galloping Gardener". Thank you Paul and Pauline. And just so English readers know - the garden opens for the last time this Sunday, see information below!
Mid October and here we are within a stones throw of Norwich city centre, surrounded by lush tropical bananas, breadfruit and ginger plants!! Will Giles has created this amazing tropical haven on a steeply sloping site, overlooked by a huge tree house perched in a mature oak in the middle of the garden (right). It’s only half an acre but feels much bigger and the winding paths invite exploration and pull you into the jungle ahead.
As you climb up through the glossy and flourishing plantings you hear the subtle cascade of a Caribbean waterfall as it plunges down the hillside into a dark and secret pool. A dramatic, flint-lined series of levels draw you into a welcoming viewing cabin at the top of the garden where you get perfect views down over the terraced slopes. The quirky tree house is almost a treat too far with its golden obelisk cheekily topping its lofty excess! Give me some wild tigers and fantastical papingoes and we can be transported to new kingdoms!
The last chance to visit this tropical paradise this year is this Sunday and opening hours are 13.00 - 17.00 so hurry to catch the wonderful colours and exhuberant textures of this truly hidden gem at the heart of this glorious cathedral city.
Paul and Pauline McBride.