Green-fingered enthusiasts explore West Suffolk’s garden gems
Thousands of gardening enthusiasts braved the shimmering heat to tour scores of emerald havens during open gardens events across West Suffolk.
From mansions with sweeping vistas to tiny cottage gardens packed with eye-catching features, the events in Bury St Edmunds, Drinkstone and Bardwell offered a huge variety.
In the 31st Hidden Gardens of Bury, about 2,000 people explored the town’s secret green and floral gems on Sunday.
The event, in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care, saw residents open their gates to 30 plots of all shapes and sizes including courtyards, manicured lawns, kitchen gardens and greenhouses.
Sheila Blackmore, who organised the event with Paul and Diane Knights, said: “It was a very successful and wonderful day.
“I think people tried to do as much as they could in the morning because they realised the heat was going to get quite intense.
“There was a real party atmosphere with music playing, lots of the hosts put on food and drink and one had a pizza oven going.
“A friend of mine said the hospitality of the hosts was wonderful and was amazed at the size of some of the gardens in the town centre which are hidden behind high walls.”
The event was sponsored by Gross & Co Solicitors, which opened its own walled cottage garden, and Bedfords estate agents.
Elizabeth Hodder, a partner at Gross & Co, said: “We had more visitors to our garden than ever before and I’m sure the sunshine had something to do with it.”
More than 200 people flocked to the third Drinkstone Open Gardens on Saturday, which raised about £1,400 for All Saints Church in the village.
The church-organised event showcased 17 gardens spread out over a distance of about four miles including one set in the historic surroundings of Drinkstone Park.
Lynne Woodward, parochial church council secretary, said: “We had such positive comments from lots and lots of people who travelled from as far as Essex, the south coast and Norfolk.
“We were pleased that we got a good spread of people from outside the area.”
She praised the generosity of nurseries and plant centres for donating plants and other items for the event’s successful plant stall.
Mrs Woodward added: “The large organising team and helpers included many from the village, who although not necessarily regular church attenders, have great love and respect for the village church, without whom we could not put on all the fund-raising events we do.”
In Bardwell, residents welcomed visitors to 14 green sanctuaries on Sunday and there was a floral display in the village church by pupils at Bardwell Primary School.
Featuring a range of gardens including at the windmill, watermill and many other listed heritage buildings, the event was organised by the Friends of Bardwell Church.
Funds raised will go towards general church maintenance.
Andrew Smith, chairman of the Friends of Bradwell Church, said: “The feedback about the quality of the gardens was brilliant.
“My thanks from the committee to those who contribute on the day. It’s about the commitment that the people who open their gardens give to Bardwell and the church to raise funds.”
For more pictures see Friday’s Bury Free Press newspaper.