Saturday, 28 September 2019

Not the DeVice Mansion Gardens

 I visited Urban Jungle near Norwich on Thursday (last seen two years ago, here), and the Old Vicarage gardens at East Ruston yesterday.  Four plants came home with me on Thursday, and just one yesterday.  However, I also acquired a pocket full of various seeds!  Unlike Thursday at Urban Jungle where I took photos of the plants that I liked (and that were suitable for the DeVice Mansion gardens) along with their labels (so I wouldn't have to try and remember/guess what they were later), only by chance did a couple of photos from East Ruston match up to some of the seeds I appropriated.
 The seeds were all stuffed into a pocket of my bag, and when I got home, I spent an age racking my brain to remember which plants they came from, and then another eternity scouring the internet trying to find out the plants' names.  I've done quite well, I think.  Only one seed pod is completely unknown, and another (the one that looks like a bottom) I have a general idea of.

 I began by separating and sorting the seeds, then writing a brief description of the plant they came from (if I remembered). Then, after much some research, I wrote the actual plant name with seed propagation info (if found).  Spiralling inwards (clockwise) from top left:
  1. The completely unreal looking fruits of Dianella caerulea
    No description because the bright blue fruit was very memorable - discovered to be Dianella caerulea, aka flax lily. 
  2. Again, no description because of its uniqueness.  This is the one I only have a general idea of - I think its from some sort of Crinum, or other similar lily-like bulb.  
  3. "Peanutbutter plant" is the description, but I can't remember the proper name.  I used to have one in the gardens of Castle DeVice which, when the leaves were lightly crushed/bruised, would smell of peanut butter, hence my description.
  4. "Popping seed plant.  About 1m tall, leggy, in shade, white and purple 'bonnet'-like flowers." - This, I discovered, is an invasive species, Impatiens glandulifera 'Himalayan balsam'. I've written "Don't grow!"
  5. "Unknown" - Except, I remembered what plant these seeds came from soon after writing that: The dried flower head of an Allium.
  6. "Grass - wispy seed heads about 50cm tall" - I'm not buggering about trying to find out what sort of grass as its grass.  It'll grow.
  7. No description as I knew what plant these were from: Echium!
  8. Camera has done its usual sterling job of focusing
    everywhere but at the ruddy great thing in the foreground
    that was the obvious subject of the bloody, buggery photo!
    "Column of blackberries"  These attractive, edible-looking black berries (so therefore they must be highly poisonous) yielded small, bean-shaped, shiny black seeds.  It took some research, but I eventually found out that these are from Phytolacca acinosa, aka Indian pokeweed.  And, yes, it's poisonous.
  9. "Unknown plant - about 1m tall, leggy, in shade." - Yep, this is the completely unknown one.  It came from near the entrance to the gardens, but I can't for the life of me remember anything about the plant.  The seed pod does look a little like an Aquilegia seed pod, but with only three lobes.

 Right!  That's enough of that.  Let's have a look at some photos of the actual gardens (if you click the link, there's a list of links to each garden with more info) from The Old Vicarage, shall we?

The entrance roundabout

A very showy Brugmansia near the tea room

North Garden

View from the courtyard (right up a cat's arse, if your eyesight is good enough)

More of the North Garden

Desert Wash

A cute little bridge in the Desert Wash that you're not allowed to walk over.  Spoilsports.

This sculpture reminds me of one of  Delia Deetz's hideous things from Beetlejuice

The palatial fruit cage (I need one like this to keep Beaky away from my cherries!)

One of the many greenhouses/conservatories/sunrooms etc.

Lighthouse View (from the Winter Garden)

And a close-up of Happisburgh Lighthouse itself

Another lovely Brugmansia (amongst other things) near the Dutch Garden

The Rose Garden

I rather like this sculpture

The Exotic Garden


 And remember, The Very Mistress is hosting the Ninth Annual Garden Photos Event in October - if you'd like your garden/houseplant/bag of salad featured, you need to email her your photos (and captions) by the end of this month!


  1. I hope I can make an entry this year to the Mistress.

    But these gardens are stunning, I'd love a stroll there. Those trumpet flowers are so beautiful.

    1. I'd been meaning to visit these gardens for years, and finally got around to it. Parts certainly are stunning, but some areas are past their best. I think these gardens (like many others) warrant a couple of visits per season.

      There's plenty to stroll around, and plenty of seating areas, as well as other, more secluded spots that could be utilised for other activities...

  2. It looks wonderful - I think the old queens who own the garden may have featured on Gardeners' World a while back.

    As for the plant seeds you purloined, I would burn the Himalayan Balsam if I were you [and the grass, if I had my way - in my opinion no grass is "ornamental"...]. The rest - well, it's an adventure! I believe the "peanut butter plant" is Clerodendrum trichotomum, but you'd have to do better than a "plant that's leggy in shade" for me to help with the other one.


    1. Yes, the matches will be ferretted out of their drawer tomorrow! As for the grass, I'm going to give it to my sister, as she's into dfferent grasses for her parched, child-ruined, wasteland.

      Oh! There actually is a peanut butter plant! Who would have thought. Thank you, Official Plant Spotter of the DeVice Mansion and its extensive Witchdom. My rather crappy description has led you down the wrong garden path, though. The plant in question is actually Melianthus major, or the honey bush.
      The scent of the leaves is thing I remember most about the one I had in Norwich, rather than the "honey" its flowers oozed.

    2. I have never smelt the leaves of a Melianthus - a plant we would definitely have if ever we had a large, sunny garden, rather than the narrow, paved and part-shaded one we have now. Next time we're in Kew Gardens I shall have to hunt one down and scratch'n'sniff! Jx

      PS Zooming in on the "mystery seed-pod" - could it be a Delphinium..?

    3. It does look like a Delphinium pod, although the tips don't curl out, and the seeds are too big - they're like slightly shrivelled, flat-sided small apple pips. If that helps...

    4. Not much. Try this site - it is very comprehensive! This is Delphinium seed, for reference.


    5. Cripes! You're right - it's VERY comprehensive! I could easily get lost in it for days.

  3. I was about to do a little boasting and tell you my Brugmansia is flowering again.But I'm sulking because I'll never match those beauties.
    That is a fantastic place! And not over-run with hordes of people.
    And if you'd like to see some spring blooms, my friend in Canberra has this

    1. Ah, Spring! I can't wait - especially after seeing all those beatiful blooms.

      I suspect that I was fortunate to have the Old Vicarage Gardens mostly to myself because the day was forecast to have plenty of rain (in fact, no sooner had I got home than the heavens opened). Also, it's the end of the season (the gardens close at the end of October), so many of the gardens were looking a little tired (and many of the hedges were in need of a clip and tidy up). However, there were still plenty of plants in their prime, not least the Brugmansia!

  4. I'm pleased Jon has already instructed you to burn the Himalayan Balsam! I have heard about that one!
    Meanwhile, I have a dreadful picture to send to Missy-Stripy-Legs.

    1. I am on the edge of my seat with anticipation as to your "dreadful picture"!

  5. Ooh peanut butter plants! Crunchy or smooth? - *if* this question isn't common, of course.

    1. It's not common, but it is impudent. However, I shall allow it. Definitely crunchy!

    2. And more to the point, is it the unsweetened health-food sort or that sweetened mess they sell more of? Not that I want to ask my question in a biased way, of course.

    3. Oh, Ellen, welcome! As it's your first visit/comment here, I shall allow any bias, too ;)
      It's somewhere in the middle, to be honest. The honey from the Melianthus flowers has dripped into it, leaving it sweet, but still healthy.


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