Our shop and café has been built within the Victorian walled garden that formerly served Little Plumstead Hall. The hall was built in 1889 for the Rev Charles Johnston as a large Elizabethan style mansion on the site of an earlier hall and parkland.
These references to the walled garden give an idea of its historical appearance:
“To the west of the house is a walled kitchen garden with battlemented and turreted walls (Grade II listed), box-edged borders and paths and a Victorian glasshouse (in need of repair) which boasts a vine. Adjacent is an orchard containing a number of very old apples.”
Reference: ‘Norfolk Gardens and Designed Landscapes’ by Dallas, Last & Williamson
“Near the hall and contiguous to the village church which here forms an interesting object, there is an exceedingly prolific walled-in garden, well planted, and the lofty walls clothed with choice fruit trees. They are extensive and laid out with taste and encircled by fine oak, beech and other forest trees.”
Reference: Sale particulars of Little Plumstead Hall, Friday 10 August 1855; Norfolk Record Office.
The walled garden was part of Little Plumstead Hospital from the 1930s onwards. It was maintained to a high standard but the fruit trees and vegetables disappeared. Prior to its sale to developers in the 1990s, it was a garden of shrubs, flowers and a grassed area used by patients, staff and visitors. Many people have fond memories of attending a jazz evening, a hospital social function or time spent tending the garden with patients.
When we took over the garden it was quite different; left for many years, only a few plants from that time remained. We took on the challenge to acquire the land and bring this special space back to life.
Alongside the work to create your community shop and café, a group was formed in the autumn of 2018 to work on a plan to restore the garden to its former glory. Local volunteers worked on grant applications, visiting other walled gardens for inspiration, completing a design, as well as researching the planting history.
Their hard work has resulted in the beautiful garden you see today.
Lots of visitors ask us about what’s planted in the garden - take a look at our 2021-planting-information.pdf which gives information on design, planting schemes and plant identification.
Our project is mentioned by the Norfolk Green Care Network which allows green care projects around the county to better support each other and share information.
We would love you to come and help in the garden, everyone is welcome.
Hope to see you soon!
We’ve received so many lovely comments and enquiries about the garden that we decided to produce a quarterly garden newsletter that will hopefully keep you up-to-date with what’s happening in the garden, and how you can get involved - read it here:
Garden newsletter = 2023-autumn.pdf
Garden newsletter - 2023-summer.pdf
Garden newsletter - 2023-spring.pdf
Garden newsletter - 2022-23-autumn-winter.pdf
Garden newsletter - 2022-summer.pdf
Garden newsletter - 2022-spring.pdf
Thank you to everyone who donated a tree to our orchard. You can see the list of varieties and where they’re planted within The Walled Garden at fruit-tree-donations.pdf.
We have taken the opportunity to experiment with the ‘No-dig’ approach as the garden had not been accessed for many years. Find out more about our no-dig-experiment.pdf.