Heacham, Norfolk
in aid of various charities
11 June 2022


Photos and Feature by Stella of Heacham-On-Line

It was a scorching day for this year's Heacham Open Gardens
and there were a few at least who were brave enough
to attempt all 14 glorious gardens in the heat of the day
(starting from 11am throughout the day until 5pm).
For my part, I tried to get round 6 and ended up only visiting
4 lovely gardens - each very different.
Many thanks to our hosts and hostesses whom we visited and
well done to the organisers for putting together this lovely event
and raising funds for so many worthy causes.

Cheney Hollow (in Cheney Crescent) was on show this year with kind permission of Thelma Holland.  What a wonderful tribute it is to the gardening skills of Head Gardener, Earl Chestney (a Heacham resident).

These photos, I fear, do not do it justice.  Sorry Pat and Earl but I did try.

The fabulous garden which we visited contained a pond which was custom-built by the gentleman of the house especially to house his very own pet Koi.  Brian was clearly very enthusiastic about keeping Koi and cheerfully demonstrated how the filters to the ponds worked.  During our visit we learned the Koi eat an interesting range of foods including lettuce!  The large pond contained 38 Koi all of whom had been given names.

At the rear of the pretty Lavender House we found a very deep and well laid out garden.  Owners, Barbara and John displayed a photo of how the garden was only a year ago ... The transformation in just a year is wonderful.   They assure me that Alan Titchmarsh did not visit and it was simply their own hard work.  Well done to you both - a wonderfully relaxing garden.

The highlight of the afternoon had to be the Steam Railway Garden to be found in Heacham.  My boys and I didn't travel any further once we found the delights of a fully functioning miniature garden steam railway (apologies to other 10 gardens we missed).  Colin and Janet's garden backs on to the fields of Marea Farm and is a real haven from the day's stresses - particularly with the distraction of the railway.  Colin was as enthusiastic about his railway as Brian was about his Koi.  My boys and many from the older generations were keen to hear and see how the railway worked during the afternoon and my Jamie enjoyed playing "assistant engineer".

Colin's railway consists of about 140 feet of track in the form of a loop around the lawn with a junction leading to a couple of sidings alongside a patio.  He tells me it is "O" gauge, or 32mm between the rails, corresponding to 2 foot narrow gauge in full size with a scale of 16mm to the foot

The railway has two steam locomotives burning butane or "camping gas" and they work at a steam pressure of approx 3 bars.  One of them, along with several of the wagons and a carriage, were made in a home workshop from kits supplied by a  Norfolk firm near Holt.  There are also another three locomotives that are electric and are powered by rechargeable batteries.

Colin says that his railway provides the interest of miniature engineering in an outdoor garden setting and tells me that there is a bridge over a pond with a station currently on the drawing board.