Inspirational autumnal garden – The Old Vicarage, East Ruston, Norfolk

Heleniums--East-Ruston-Old-Vicarage-NorfolkGarden visiting is a popular pastime and the beauty of garden visiting is gardens are an ever changing canvas. Traditionally, in the autumn people go to admire autumnal tree colour, but in a thoughtfully designed garden there are still plenty of colourful shrubs and flowers to see.

At the beginning of October my own garden was looking rather dull and when my sister came to visit it was the perfect opportunity to get out and soak up some inspiration from a nationally renowned garden, The Old Vicarage, East Ruston in Norfolk. It was a very bright, sunny afternoon, really too bright for exciting photos, but I think you’ll get some idea of what a special and unusual garden this is.

I’ve been before, but this was my first visit so late in the season and there was plenty to admire, not least all the super-sized containers planted with large tender specimens,

the dutch garden
The Dutch Garden with the beautiful yellow Brugmansia flowers drooping into the shot.
(Grown as tree-like specimens in very, very large terracotta pots.)

and gravel areas brimming with striking succulents such as these rich Aeonium arboreum Schwarzkopf.

courtyard aeoniums
The Entrance Drive and Courtyard area is planted up with the dramatic Aeonium arboreum Schwartzkopf.

The Old Vicarage, East Ruston is only about a mile and a half from Happisburgh (pronounced haze..bra, of course) on the coast and as such, together with plenty of shelter/windbreak planting, has a microclimate with very little frost. The result of this means a greater, diverse range of plants can survive and the owners have developed a less traditional, innovative set of garden plantings and garden rooms such as the captivating Tree Fern Garden.

tree ferns east ruston
The Tree Fern Garden
Dicksonia antarctica underplanted with the late flowering aconitum and a river of acers.

There’s also one of my favourite design combinations informally, romantically planted beds restrained and ordered by neat formal box hedging accented with geometric topiary.

Floating, soft flowers and formal topiary.
Floating, soft flowers and formal topiary.

The sun was bright, but low enough in the sky to create some drama looking across the King’s Walk catching the yew topiary in all its disciplined stature.

And, at this time of year it’s sunflowers, dahlias, heleniums in formal beds and, of course, in the cutting garden.

Even at this late time of the gardening year there was still plenty to see and I’ve only shown you a glimpse. There is more information and photos at The Old Vicarage, East Ruston


And, finally, I’m not usually a fan of contemporary art in gardens, but I thought this discrete, nervous-looking but welcoming family of deer just on the wooded boundary between the car park and the garden entrance didn’t look out of place.


Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

6 thoughts on “Inspirational autumnal garden – The Old Vicarage, East Ruston, Norfolk”

    1. Thanks. Yes it is special and unusual. But I was so taken with the change to the ‘Desert Wash’ dry riverbed planting I forgot to take any photos!! 😔

  1. Autumn is a lovely season and I enjoyed that you reminded us that it’s not all just about autumn leaves. Some nice photos here but the way you’ve captured the filtered light in the second last one (birch tree?) caught my eye.

    1. Yes, silver birch – that’s nature for you. My sister and I came round a bend in the path and there it was in all its glory and naturally lit – what more can you ask for? 😌

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