Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Day at Crete Lodge Exotic Garden

On our third and final stopover on our weekend away in Norfolk we spent an entire day at Crete Lodge Exotic Garden. Although intending on seeing another garden on the same day, somehow I had an inkling already in the morning before we even set off that won't be the case.



And such it was for we haven't seen the owners Melissa and Keith for a long a time and there was lots of catching up to do. Plus their garden has evolved a lot since we last saw it and there were plenty of new things to see on our visit.

So lots to catch up on and plenty to see it was as the garden was looking even better than ever now, it was amazing as we expected and much more!

This greets you the moment you enter the gates into their front garden
And this stunning fella greets you as you proceed into the jungle area from the front garden






Their garden, situated on top of a hill and accessible via a dirt track benefits from both a sunny aspect for most parts of it as well as lovely views overlooking the surrounding countryside. They have created and developed their garden almost from scratch, but the most admirable part of it all is that they have done all of the work themselves. So what you see in their garden, planting and hard landscaping is a result of their own hard work. Add to that a creative flair to come up with a garden that has plenty of unique touches, making it distinctively their own.

And from the jungle area through to another set of gates into the first area of the back garden nearest to their house







The garden is a full on homage to exotic gardening, divided into several areas each with their own distinct growing conditions. And each area is planted accordingly with many rare and unusual exotic plants. 




Swimming Pond


Their gorgeous dalmatians Prim, Yula, and Neo taking enjoying the deck
Take a stroll with us through the gravel garden...






Their biggest area is the south facing arid bank that are planted with many architectural xerophytic plants like Yuccas, Nolinas, Dasylirions, Agaves, and various other cacti and succulents. Most (if not all) of the plants in this section are planted out permanently with some of them having rain shelters for the duration of winter.









A sneak peek at their cacti and succulent collection in the greenhouse

Winter 2010 has been very difficult for everyone here and it has had an effect on everyone's garden including Melissa and Keith's. But the adaptation and changes they have put on since then has made their garden look even better. An inspirational garden for exotic gardening enthusiasts in the UK and of similar climates.

My favourite part however is their...
Sunken Garden and...
Arid House





Crete Lodge Exotic Garden is a private garden that is not usually open to the public. But they do welcome visitors by prior appointment and gardening groups via advanced arrangement. For anyone interested is seeing their beautiful garden you can contact them via their website.

Agave parryi
Agave ovatifolia
Puya coerulea

Aloe polyphylla and its...
variegated version

A warm welcome awaits you there!
Their garden is still evolving and they have so many plans on the horizon, which no doubt will come into fruition. We're looking forward to seeing the changes and additions they will be making in the years to come. An extra incentive that we really must not leave it too long to visit again!

Mark :-)

42 comments :

  1. An incredible garden especially considering that they do it all themselves! I love everything about it but am especially fond of the mosaic walls!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed Peter :) the mosaic and 'bits a' wall are such a great idea and they've put a very unique take on it.

      Delete
  2. Dear Mark, wow, it is hard to believe that this is a private garden!!! It is so beautiful, so unique with stunning plants, statuary and garden rooms. What is even more astonishing to me, is that they have designed and planted it all by themselves. I wonder, if they are also maintaining it all by themselves? How are people be able to do this?
    Last but not least besides their gardens I love their three Dalmatians!
    Thanks for taking us on the tour. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Christina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a stunning garden indeed Christina, and yes they do all the maintenance themselves, amazing isn't it? :) still on the whole a very private garden but they do warmly welcome visitors by prior arrangement

      Delete
  3. Wow, a beautiful garden! some of the first pictures remind me of your garden. And that swimming pond!!! I would love to have one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Their jungle area, yes it did remind me of bits of our garden too Lisa :) their swimming pond looks so impressive!

      Delete
  4. They have done a wonderful job. The scale of it is amazing and it's so impressive to know it is a private garden. I love the gravel gardens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The scale of the place and the sheer amount of hard work they've put in it makes their extra special. It's fabulous what they've achieved so far Shirley :)

      Delete
  5. What a fabulous and inspirational garden! I love the elephant, it's so at home with those plants. I want one. And the brick spiral in the gravel is a great feature too. So much to see and love there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The elephant was a special purchase and looks right at home where it is now, really helps set the exotic tone of their garden Alison. Yes very inspiring and so much to see :)

      Delete
  6. In the eastern USA, probably the closest thing we have is Plant Delights Nursery/Juniper Level Botanic Garden. But who knows, maybe someday I'll have a bit more property. I can dream, can't I???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed John, we can all dream :) we'd love to visit Plant Delights in the near future hopefully!

      Delete
  7. Wow! What a garden - and one I don't know, probably because it's private visits only. Thank you for sharing these photos. I will be adding it to my list of must-sees. It's local as well! Hurrah!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed Sarah, it's within your area and I'm sure they'd be delighted to show you the garden :) drop them a line!

      Delete
  8. Lots of this seems familiar from earlier posts, it's good to see it looking so wonderful. I think my favorite part though is seeing the dogs throughout the pictures, they look so serious as though they're considering the plantings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We got the timing right too Loree, the garden is looking lush and at its peak with very little signs of autumn yet. I think their dogs have taken on their plantsmans character :)

      Delete
  9. Wow indeed. The gravel areas must help with maintenance, but it's still a huge amount of work. It looks fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's amazing how tireless they are Jessica. But with surroundings like theirs you'll always be inspired to keep going :)

      Delete
  10. Lots of exciting things here -- it looks HUGE too! I'm assuming that's a tortoise sculpture in the sunken garden, and not a live tortoise? Looks like a place I too could spend a whole day in. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The tortoise does look real Alan isn't it? Alas it's not but if they want to they certainly have the space :) not sure how their dogs will react to it though. It's an amazing garden, no wonder the day just flew by...

      Delete
  11. What a wonderful garden! I feel like a slacker when I see gardens like this - how can just 2 people care for it all? There are a lot of wonderful elements - the Arid House, the walls embedded with objects, the clever use of sculptures. And this was the 2nd time in 2 days I've seen a stone spiral, which I'm taking as a sign of something I should try in the naked soil under my Magnolia tree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually the spiral stone sounds like a very great idea for for the bed under your Magnolia bed Kris :)

      Delete
  12. This garden has exceptional flow, with the jungly areas playing off the wide open graveled areas, and nothing sticking out as a "feature" but all of it working together. And I've never seen a variegated spiral aloe before! Amazing garden to get lost in, no wonder you stayed a whole day. Nice duty for the garden dogs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed Denise, the jungle area complements rather than contrasts the gravelled areas, working well together :)

      Delete
  13. Fabulous! Love those protuding feet in the penultimate photo :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too Anna :) it stopped me 'on my feet' and just had to take a photo of it!

      Delete
  14. There's nothing I can say that hasn't been said already. Absolutely perfect. My question: Are the owners retired? How much time do they spend working in this garden? I'm in awe of people who can not only create such a stunning space, but maintain it so it always looks its best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's amazing isn't it Gerhard, that they do all the work and maintenance themselves :) Keith has retired just very recently but Melissa is still active with other pursuits. They maintain and do their projects on their spare time.

      Delete
  15. The brick spiral! The trio of dalmatians! The swimming pond! And on and on...how could you possible tear yourselves away?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was difficult Ricki, that's why we ended up staying there all day :)

      Delete
  16. Hi Mark and Gaz, haven't seen your FB post lately. That garden is so wide it looks already like a Botanical Garden. The jungle is so lush. I can't imagine the maintenance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Andrea, the variety of plants they have does make the garden feel like at botanical garden too :)

      Delete
  17. Wow, that is an extraordinary garden, all the more so for having been created from scratch and by their own efforts. I love the various quirky features, and they have such wonderful plant groupings, you must have been in heaven!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We were Janet, a very inspiring garden :)

      Delete
  18. That's incredible! All the personal touches are great and it's very admirable they did it all themselves. And those doggies! I think I will need to look through a second time...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazing what they've achieved isn't it Amy? :)

      Delete
  19. Gorgeous. I go to Norfolk occasionally and must remember to visit - plus I'm a sucker for dalmatians. D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It'll be a double treat for you there David, gorgeous garden and dalmatians :)

      Delete
  20. Wow, what an interesting and unique garden. So many good ideas ! What happens to the outdoor cacti in winter ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jane, they put rain shelters over them to keep them on the dry side during winter :)

      Delete
  21. Truly amazing, and just enough funkiness to keep me smiling! I particularly love the sitting area in front of the mosaic wall. These folks are real artists as well as plants persons. Like you, I would have to devote a whole day exploring all the areas.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I was in heaven just browsing through your photos - it must have been utterly amazing to be there in person! So many good ideas, beautifully executed - a feast for the eyes! I've never been to Norfolk but if I'm ever in the area … :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to reply to our post, we love reading comments and hearing your views.

Due to the increased level of spam, please note comments on older posts are moderated and only published after approval. All new comments are read and any spam is deleted.