Felbrigg Hall’s plants in north Norfolk weathering the heatwave

PUBLISHED: 11:13 26 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:38 26 July 2018

Felbrigg Hall's aalled garden. Picture: National Trust Images Andrew Butler.

Felbrigg Hall's aalled garden. Picture: National Trust Images Andrew Butler.


The hot weather is proving a godsend for the unusual and exotic planting at the National Trust’s Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk.

Tithonia. Picture: National Trust Images Matthew OatesTithonia. Picture: National Trust Images Matthew Oates

The conditions are putting a strain on many traditional garden plants, but Felbrigg’s sun-loving plants are thriving and putting on a stunning display.

Tina Hammond, head gardener at Felbrigg Hall, said: “Felbrigg’s garden has always been about experimental planting and so we made a deliberate decision to introduce plants that would thrive in hot, dry conditions, knowing that spells of this kind of weather are increasingly likely.”

Native to the Mediterranean, South Africa, Australia and the deserts of Mexico, these special plants dislike cold, wet conditions so the light sandy soil of the region is ideal, keeping roots drier through the winter, and the sheltered nature of the walled garden helps protect them year round.

She added: “When we restored the two glasshouses in the walled garden in 2005, we were in the exciting position of being able to broaden the botanical interest of the garden.

Double borders in Felbrigg Hall's walled garden. Picture: Andrew ButlerDouble borders in Felbrigg Hall's walled garden. Picture: Andrew Butler

“We took the opportunity to re-look at the planting in this area and now we’re witnessing it in its full glory.

“Along with the addition of olive groves, double borders were widened and new beds added as we planted the area with drought tolerant species.”

Those doing particularly well are from Australia: Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus), wattle (Acacia dealbata) and tea tree (Leptospermum cunninghamii).

From South Africa: African lily (Agapanthus) and Treasure flower (Gazania rigens). From Mexico: Cestrum (with the rather unfortunate common name of bastard jasmine), Mexican Orange (Choisya ternata) Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia), Echeveria and desert spoon (Dasylirion).

Agapanthus. Picture: National Trust Images Stephen Robson.Agapanthus. Picture: National Trust Images Stephen Robson.

“However, like many other gardeners, after more than 40 days without rain, we would welcome its arrival.”

The recent hot weather is the first time since the new planting was established that it’s truly been put to the test.

Other plants thriving at Felbrigg in the Mediterranean heat include herbs, lavender, figs, bay tree and myrtles. However, those struggling include woodland plants, Cornus, rhododendrons and azaleas.

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