Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Private Norfolk Retreat


A treasure of a private garden Elsing Hall, in its current impeccable state, is the work of two committed and talented gentlemen who've retreated here after successful careers in finance in Asia. Their days are spent gardening and the extraordinary love they have for this unique historic property is apparent in everything you see.

Of course the history of the house is long. It was completed in about 1470 by John Hastings on the site of a much earlier house built by his ancestor, Sir Hugh de Hastings. Little is known of this earlier house erected prior to Sir Hugh's death in 1347 but the remains of a gate house and curtain wall on the inner edge of the moat are clearly visible today. Sir Hugh was the younger son of the 2nd Baron Hastings and acquired Elsing by marriage to his mother's ward, Margery Foliot. To find out more go to the Elsing Hall website.

Lush borders, in the English style, seem to be the center of horticultural concern here, all handled masterfully—in spite of the fact that the garden's owners and creators knew nothing about gardening just a few short years ago.


This impressive "moat" is something of a centerpiece here and from each direction it's perceived its look changes entirely.

We've just crossed the moat via a tiny bridge to approach the house from the front—it sits on a kind of island in that respect.

And off the "island," walled gardens enclose further gardens, each with a different classic character.

That black swan followed us for the entire visit. It's said that she's "mad." She didn't seem to like the intrusion of our presence there but at the same time she couldn't get enough of us.

This is a close up of the flint facade, typical of Norfolk. Most original.


YONKS said...

What lucky Dabs! The place looks sublime.

The Swan said...

OVERGROWN grasses etc growing unfettered on the steps yet obviously kept tidy, and lovingly prized as PATINA...a certain aspect much lacking and seldom seen in most gardens and facades today. J'Adore the Black Swan...and yes, they as Peacocks are quite territorial, but all diffused by legendary Beauty! Wonderful tour of Britains gardens, especially for you having witnessed the great Art return at HOUGHTON!

Carol Grits said...

Fabulous post! Thank you for sharing.

columnist said...

Enchanting. I do favour the more naturalistic look, which appears effortless, but I know is not.

Paisley Curtain said...

So interesting to know the current owners did not have any gardening experience when they got the property. From the lush and beautiful gardens one can never figure this out. The black swan's personality is well captured in the picture.

Best wishes

ArchitectDesign™ said...

fairy tale perfection!

Rosemary said...

There is something very romantic about a moat surrounding a house - I can picture John Waterhouse's painting of The Lady of Shalott on this moat.
A beautiful property enhanced by a spectacular garden.

designchic said...

Wow...what a gorgeous home and gardens. Just love the natural feel - could linger outdoors forever!

La Contessa said...

I am ready to move in!Love the "MAD" swan.......the gardens are swoon worthy!The moat!I want one....!!!

v. Braun. said...

This is really nice, the plants really contribute much to it, too!

Lord Cowell said...

I love those Jekyll styled borders. Great photos, and what lovely weather you had! Thanks for sharing.