Described on the website as “One of the most inspirational gardens in Norfolk, the Millennium Garden offers an acre of floral delights, creating a lush tapestry of colour and texture. A stunning cascade of mixed perennials and grasses, designed by the renowned plantsman Piet Oudolf, the bold, colourful drifts and the naturalistic planting style make the Millennium Garden a particularly popular display with both garden and wildlife enthusiasts.
Flourishing with colourful butterflies and insects during the Spring and Summer months, and providing essential nesting materials and seeds for birds throughout the Winter, this fine Norfolk garden is worth a visit even after its mid-August peak, with the Autumnal colours of the perennial foliage providing a rich spectacle well into the Autumn.”
The sunny morning of 2nd of September saw us at Pensthorpe wild life park and garden. For the Millennium Piet Oudolf designed a new garden to help attract visitors at times of the year when migrating birds might be absent. The garden was renewed last year. I last visited the garden over 10 years ago and I held it in my memory as one of the very best gardens I have ever seen. I have always admired Piet Oudolf’s planting style and have tried to emulate it in my own garden, not quite successfully as his planting usually needs a certain amount of irrigation and are best suited to Northern European or North American climates.
I was not disappointed by my visit this time! From reading the information on their website you might be forgiven for thinking that the show would be over by September, but no, this garden is at its peak at the end of summer so September into early October is the ideal time to visit. Interestingly I’m not sure that the Wild-life Trust who owns the garden actually has any idea how important a designer and innovator Piet has become! Many people who visit, do so to see the migrating birds or the birds and squirrels that are being bred at Pensthorpe for reintroduction into the wild and for them the stunning gardens are just a bonus; some bonus I am going to stick my neck out and say I think this is Piet’s most successful garden in the whole of the UK and certainly much more beautiful than the double borders he designed for the RHS at Wisely, which somehow always disappoint me.
The planting appears almost as a tapestry of colour and form with no soil showing anywhere; planting is in blended blocks giving solid colour mitigated by the form of the plants. Movement is given by grasses and other tall perennials that waft around in the breeze.
There are the usual plants for this type of planting including Echinacea, Sanguisorba, Nepeta, but for me it is the overall effect I love, the individual species don’t really matter.
If you are ever near North Norfolk do visit this wonderful garden.