Norfolk’s largest collection of rhododendrons is at Hoveton Hall Gardens
Over 200 Varieties of Rhododendrons and Azaleas
May and early June are the best times to come and see the collection of rhododendrons and azaleas at Hoveton Hall Gardens.
“With over 200 varieties growing here, this is probably the largest collection in Norfolk,” says Hoveton’s head horticulturalist Stewart Wright.
“The collection was started in the 1920s. In some years the display begins in February with the early flowering species such as Rhododendron (R) calophytum and R. praestans. As spring progresses more and more varieties come into bloom. By May the display is glorious.”
Highlights include a number of evergreen Kurume azaleas, including the bright pink 'Hatsugiri' and 'Hinomayo' originating in Japan. These contrast with the orange, red and yellow blooms of the larger flowered deciduous hybrids. There are also several specimens of the fragrant yellow R. luteum from Eastern Europe.
Beyond the azaleas are some of the taller shrubby varieties, including large plantings of 'Fastuosum Flore Pleno', 'Loder's White', 'Pink Pearl' and many of the other hardy hybrids. Above these the tall species, such as R. arboreum, grow up towards the woodland canopy.
“The flowering season is extended through the summer by late varieties like 'Polar Bear’,” says Stewart Wright. “Even into autumn some hybrids, such as 'Windsor Lad', will bare flowers until the first frosts.”
Hoveton Hall Gardens is one of Norfolk’s best kept secrets. It offers a rare mixture of experiences for gardeners, walkers and families – on the one hand there are the woodlands, the water garden, with its natural tunnels, bridges, nooks and crannies, and the park. On the other are the walled garden, with its unique spider gate, the kitchen garden, the 18th century ice well and the early 19th century glass house. There are also adventure trails and activities for children.
Admission prices are £7.00 for adults, 4-16 year olds £3.50, under 4s free. Family ticket £19.00. OAPs £6.50. Wheelchair users and carers £5 each. Other facilities include the tea rooms, plant sales, gift shop and guided tours. The Gardens are open Tuesday – Friday and Sunday, 10.30am to 5.00pm. Last admission 4.00pm. Hoveton Hall Gardens is situated at the edge of the Norfolk Broads, just north of Wroxham. Follow brown and white tourist signs off the A1151.
For more information visit www.hovetonhallgardens.co.uk or call 01603 782558 or 07825 517647.
Rhododendrons and Azaleas.docx – May-12
Toni Turner or Alison Haynes at The Publicity Works:
Harry Buxton, Estate Manager Hoveton Hall Gardens
About Hoveton Hall: Set at the edge of the Norfolk Broads, Hoveton Hall Gardens is a delightful mix of formal and informal planting across the seasons. The Hall itself (which is not open to the public), was built between 1809 and 1812 is attributed to Humphry Repton. The walled Kitchen Garden and layout of the ‘Spider Garden’ are shown on maps as early as 1841. Extensive work to the Water Gardens was carried out in the 1920s, by Geoffrey Buxton, and much of the collection of rhododendrons and azaleas was planted under his direction by Waterers Nurseries. The Gardens are home to an 18th century ice well and an early 19th century glass house – one of only three of its type in the country. The Arboretum has over 200 specimen trees and the Kidney Lake attracts kingfishers and grey herons.