Fullers Mill Garden is hidden amongst the trees at Kings Forest, West Stow; the garden is an oasis of planting that has been creatively arranged around the banks of the River Lark and Culford Stream.The garden is situated at the edge of Lackford Lakes (Suffolk Wildlife Trust Reserve) all these things help to make it a unique site full of rare and sometimes rather unusual plants with an impressive array of wildlife.
Bernard Tickner (92) moved to West Stow from Bury St Edmunds in 1958 with no background in horticulture. Initially there was only a small area of garden around the house, as time went on the garden evolved into the 7 acre site it is today. As the garden grew so did Bernards knowledge of gardening. He freely admits that he had to learn everything from the beginning, this was done through the books written by the great horticulturists of the time including Christopher Lloyd and Beth Chatto.
Fullers Mill Garden is made up of four main areas, The Low Garden – this was the first area of the garden which was developed (although this was initially planted with cricket bat willows to make a few pence, none were ever sold and some are still providing shade in the garden). The top Garden with the Bothy which is now the area that visitors arrive at when they come to visit the garden, The Quandaries with an air of the Mediterranean about them and The Strip with views across the lake on the perimeter of the site.
The garden has mainly a free draining sandy soil typical of the Breckland area,’ so Right plant right place’ is a must, as is the use of bark mulch to conserve every drop of moisture in the soil. Areas close to the water’s edge are ideal places for water loving plants such as Lysichiton and Darmera.
Plants that can be found in the garden range from the strange toothwort (Lathraea clandestina) a short purple flower which is a parasitic plant found on wllow roots, Tulipa sprengeri a bright red, late May flowering tulip from Turkey which is now extinct in the wild, an abundance of lilies delighting the senses in July, also the giant lily Cardiocrinum which is extremely rare, and possibly a sighting of the October flowering snowdrop which has been seen in flower in August. All of these are set within this tranquil and amazing garden where there is still a chance you may meet Bernard in the garden he made and chat to him.
Fullers Mill Garden
Bury St Edmunds