In 1856, a prosperous upholsterer and cabinet maker living in Norwich, took a long lease on an industrial site just outside the old City walls. His name was Henry Trevor, and for the next forty years, he spent considerable sums of money and much effort transforming a chalk quarry into a magical garden.
In many ways, Henry Trevor’s garden was typical of Victorian taste and technology. He built a fountain, terraces with balustrades, rockworks, a Palm House, and a rustic bridge.
He planted elaborate carpet beds, woodlands and shrubberies. He designed serpentine paths to conduct the visitor along circular routes, and he built and heated several greenhouses with boilers and hot water pipes.
Henry Trevor, however, was also a man of strong personal tastes. His “Gothic” fountain is unique, and he displayed great enterprise in using the fancy bricks from a local manufacturer to create medieval style walls, ruins and follies. Within less than 3 acres, he established a gentleman’s residence and garden that reflected in miniature the grand country houses of the Victorian period. Visitors were frequently welcomed in the garden by Henry Trevor, for he was always ready to allow his garden to be used for charitable causes.
After the 1939-45 war, the garden was virtually abandoned. Fortunately, much of the structure has survived, and is gradually being restored by The Plantation Garden Preservation Trust. The first task of its members was to clear a forest of sycamores and a blanket of ivy to reveal what had become hidden during the past 40 years.
Since then, they have restored the flowerbeds, fountain, balustrading, Italian terrace, rustic bridge and in 2007, the Gothic alcove.
Detailed information about the history of the garden can be found in The Plantation Garden, A History and Guide by Sheila Adam, 1998.
For more information about the history of the garden see www.plantationgarden.co.uk/archive.