Our last outdoor visit of this season was to visit a garden at the heart of Rockland All Saints. Guess what? The weather was inclement. Of the four outdoor visits we schedule in our summer programme; two wet, one cancelled due to the wet and the best one, nearly wet. So it’s been a wet summer. If only! At home we have a simple rain gauge to give us an idea as to how much we need to water. This year, a typical rain event, while being perfectly adequate to annihilate any thought of outdoor activities, has not amounted to a hill of beans when it comes to effective levels of irrigation. Stuff in the garden is turning up its toes and going to the wall. In Hockham woods, where there were almost year long muddy areas, it’s now permanently dry. We have an old well; it’s at least four feet lower than normal. The nearby river where our old bull terrier liked to cool off is now just a dribble.
How bad can it get? Well, in the scheme of things, what I have just been whingeing about is not on the same scale as having your home virtually destroyed by fire. In June 2018, Yeoman’s Cottage, the 17thcentury grade II listed home of Karen Rosebury and Paul Rutter was seriously damaged by fire. Since then the couple have been living temporarily at the home of another Hockham resident and have only recently moved back in. Repairs are far from complete, but a large part of the ground floor was spared along with much of the garden and … the log pile.
In spite of all this, and the rain, Karen was able to give sixteen of our club members a conducted tour. There were many separate ‘rooms’ to the garden, which were separated one from another by shrubbery. There were several unusual trees and a small arboretum with the trees in pots all grown from seeds. As you might expect from a professional artist, Karen’s garden included many quirky constructions. Of particular interest was a bespoke garden table executed in scaffold boards and supported on old motorcycle wheels. She was at pains to point out the many varieties of plants she has collected: for example, Crocosmia 'Hell Fire', Begonia 'Glowing Embers', Tagetes patula 'Burning Embers', Coleus ‘Bonfire'and Salvia 'Embers Wish'.Our visit concluded in time-honored tradition with tea and cakes, Karen being ably assisted by Jill and her dog, Fellie, both having just flown in from Canada.
Throughout our visit Karen was the epitome of cheerfulness. An inspiration to us all when we see the devastation that has befallen her and her partner. It must have been a life-changing blow. Our heart goes out to them.
Our next meeting is the highlight of the year: our AGM. Finally, the news you have all been waiting for: the afternoon’s precipitation only produced a miserable 5 millimeters of rain.
A lot more information about the fire and its effect on the couple is available on the Eastern Daily Pressweb pages –