While this wooden footbridge prompted my post, I thought I’d add a few words about Old Vicarage Gardens in East Ruston where it can be found. Like many English gardens, it’s a series of themed garden rooms that make the most of micro-climates, both natural and created.
Being close to the North Sea, the garden doesn’t have the arid conditions or unrelenting sun we associate with a desert landscape but yucca, aloe, agave, dasylirion and cactus seem happy there in the Arizona-inspired Desert Wash.
The area was created by replacing some of the sub-soil with four hundred tonnes of flint, topped with layers of gravel mixed with soil. Low walls made from river boulders complete the effect.
A sizeable collection of plants survive a Norfolk winter’s cold and rain in this free-draining medium, as it prevents their roots from staying too wet.
In parts of Arizona, a year’s worth of rain may come in two or three bursts. Channels are formed when torrents of run-off water sweep by, dragging stones along in their wake. The Desert Wash artfully mimics this. A wooden footbridge arches over one channel, its spiky uprights creating a focal point.
Californian poppies add summer colour, but when we were there a couple of Septembers ago, it was the turn of Verbena bonariensis to shine.
For more about East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens, visit their website. The garden plans to open, afternoons only, from Wednesday to Sunday until 24th October, but please check online before planning a visit.