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An open invitation to Suffolk's loveliest gardens

PUBLISHED: 13:52 19 April 2011 | UPDATED: 21:33 20 February 2013

Photograph by WENDY TURNER

Photograph by WENDY TURNER

How did Suffolk gardens cope with winter? Leslie Geddes-Brown of Columbine Hall, near Stowmarket, finds out what won and what lost. See for yourself, as these Suffolk gardens are all open to the public under the Invitation to View Scheme this year

How did Suffolk gardens cope with winter? Leslie Geddes-Brown of Columbine Hall, near Stowmarket, finds out what won and what lost. See for yourself, as these Suffolk gardens are all open to the public under the Invitation to View Scheme this year




So how have the less hardy plants we were advised to choose withstood the last dreadful winter?
At Henstead Exotic Gardens Andrew Brogan wont cosset his show-stoppers. Visit him this spring and see how you can still get a tropical effect in snow. Hes a bit worried about his tree ferns, however, with hindsight we would have covered them. And, though the bananas have been killed to ground level they should put on nine feet this year. The giant bamboos are not a girls blouse and have survived.
At Barsham Old Hall, Janet Eliott has lost 15-year-old myrtles which I thought tough as old boots. She has cut them right down and hopes they might spring from the ground. The bottlebrush has gone and my 15 foot lemon verbena is lost. The willow-leaved bay will have to be cut right back. On the good side, the bulbs have all withstood their winter in the frozen ground. Its a crazy world, she adds.
Good news at Columbine Hall. So far we have lost nothing, including our willow-leafed bay. And the ground is much more workable, thanks to the frost.


Go to wwww.invitationtoview.co.uk for a full list of gardens open this spring and summer. To book visits call 01206 573948.

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