Fullers Mill Garden, in West Stow near Bury St Edmunds, has been awarded the Visit England official seal of approval, the Quality Rose Marque. The award, which is only given to visitor attractions that have been independently assessed by a Visit England inspector, is testament to the ongoing dedication of Head Gardener Annie Dellbridge and her team of gardeners and volunteers.
Visit England assessors arrive at attractions unannounced, speak to members of staff and other visitors about the attraction and their experience of it. Hazel Hook the assessor who visited Fullers Mill Garden in early May, said of the garden:
“The gardens at Fullers Mill Garden are delightful and well-maintained with friendly and knowledgeable volunteers and garden staff, who were happy to chat with visitors and very willing to share their expert knowledge.”
Owned and managed by Perennial, the UK’s only charity for all horticulturists, Fullers Mill Garden is the life’s work of Bernard Tickner MBE, who has spent over 50 years creating and developing it. Located in a magical spot on the banks of the River Lark, the garden is a plant lover’s paradise, combining a beautiful woodland site with a huge range of rare and unusual shrubs, perennials, lilies and marginal plants.
Annie Dellbridge is delighted with the award. She says:
“We know that people love visiting this garden as we always try to be on hand to chat to visitors as they wander round. But being awarded Visit England’s official seal of approval is fantastic news for everyone who works so hard to keep Fullers Mill Garden looking beautiful throughout the year. We hope it will encourage more visitors this year and in years to come. All proceeds from the entrance fee help Perennial continue to offer life-changing services for horticulturists across the UK.”
Bernard Tickner, who was this week made MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, moved to Fullers Mill in 1958 and began making the garden in what was an area of rough scrub and woodland. He entrusted it to Perennial, the charity that is dedicated to helping horticulturists, in 2013 in order to secure its future so that visitors will still be able to enjoy the garden in years to come. Bernard placed the garden in a charitable trust a decade ago and he continues to fully fund its maintenance.
Perennial is hosting a special event at the garden on 31 July as part of its annual programme of garden tours and visits. Known for its superb collection of lilies (as seen on the BBC’s Great British Garden Revival in 2015), rare and unusual shrubs, perennials and marginal plants this event will provide a perfect opportunity to enjoy the garden in high summer. The garden tour with head gardener Annie Dellbridge will be followed by a picnic lunch and homemade cakes, for which the garden has a local reputation.
Open from 2 April to end of September Wednesday, Friday and Sunday 2 – 5pm
Standard admission £4.50 | Gift Aid admission £5.00
Friends Membership: (valid for one year) £12 individual and £20 for a couple
Address: Fullers Mill Garden, West Stow, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP28 6HD
Tel: 01284 728888
Tea, cake and plants are for sale. Group visits are welcome but booking is essential.
Further information about visiting Fullers Mill Garden can be found at: www.fullersmillgarden.org.uk
Bernard’s new memoir, A Scratch in the Soil, is available to purchase now at £8.50 from Fullers Mill Garden, West Stow, Bury St Edmunds IP28 6HD. Tel: 01284 728888 or can be purchased in Perennial’s online shop here.
For more information about the garden and opening times visit www.fullersmillgarden.org.uk
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Perennial offers free, confidential advice and support to everyone working in or retired from horticulture and their families, including gardeners, garden designers, landscapers, landscape architects, nursery and garden centre staff, parks and grounds care staff, arborists and tree surgeons. People turn to Perennial for financial and emotional help in times of need because of disability, sickness, poverty, financial hardship and old age – although increasingly younger people are seeking assistance from the charity. Many individuals describe the services Perennial offers as a ‘lifeline’. The work of Perennial depends entirely on voluntary donations from the horticultural industry and all those who love gardens and gardening.