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Where are all Norfolk's gardeners?

PUBLISHED: 18:23 18 April 2019 | UPDATED: 18:23 18 April 2019

Foggy Bottom garden at Bressingham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Foggy Bottom garden at Bressingham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Norfolk's horticultural society is celebrating its 190th year by launching a mission to inspire more gardeners.

Why are there fewer gardeners than there used to be? As the Norfolk and Norwich Horticultural Society (NNHS) announces a new mission to get people out into their gardens it is holding a special event to discuss the future of gardening.

Its Gardening for All aims to reach out to as many people as possible, beginning with an evening at the John Innes Institute on April 27, aimed at finding out how to inspire new gardeners.

Society secretary Lesley Webdale said gardening was a potential life-long interest, outlet for creativity and good for the mind and the body, producing everything from food to beautiful landscapes, and connecting people with the natural world. “So why are there fewer gardeners by far than there used to be?” she asked. “Perhaps there are many reasons, a lack of space and time, no childhood connection with gardening, and too many distractions and competition for people's attention.

“We can't halt societal changes but gardeners and horticulturists can have a voice. Building needs to be done from the top and the bottom, young and old - and particularly the middle aged. Let the debate begin!”

The evening will begin with new NNHS president Adrian Bloom talking about his gardening experiences.

His inspiration was his father, Alan Bloom, who created a nursery and gardens, plus steam museum, at Bressingham near Diss. Adrian began planting his own garden, Foggy Bottom, at Bressingham more than 50 years ago. It is now internationally renowned for its stunning island beds and swathes of colour, but Adrian has also specialised in designing much smaller gardens.

The NNHS will then host a discussion about gardening today and in the future, with participants including

Reepham teacher Matt Willer, who was named 2019 school gardening champion by the Royal Horticultural Society, Simon White of Peter Beales Roses in Attleborough, Barry Gayton of Desert World Gardens in Santon Downham, and members of local gardening clubs.

Have your say on the future of gardening on Saturday April 27 from 6.30pm at the John Innes Conference Centre, Norwich.

Places cost £10 per person including drinks. Book at www.nnhs.org.uk

The Norfolk and Norwich Horticultural Society was founded in 1829 and is one of the oldest gardening societies in Britain. Members will celebrate the 190th anniversary at Bressingham Gardens on Wednesday, July 17.

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