Enjoy the wonders of hidden exotic garden at summer open days
- Credit: Nick Butcher
It is a hidden jungle filled with exotic marvels.
And Andrew Brogan has opened the gates to his magical garden once again this summer, nestled away behind his 400-year-old cottage in Henstead.
The two-acre garden was created from scratch 14 years ago by Mr Brogan, 56, after he moved to the area from London.
And despite having no previous experience, Henstead Exotic Garden has grown into a tropical paradise attracting visitors from all over the world.
Previously catching the eye of TV’s Alan Titchmarsh, who spent a day filming for Britain’s Best Back Gardens, it has also appeared on BBC’s Gardeners’ World, in a book on the best inspirational gardens across the world and was recently used as a backdrop for a photo shoot by the Daily Express.
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The garden boasts a colourful mixture of exotic plants and trees including delavayi, the largest evergreen leaved magnolia that you can grow outside, eucalyptus trees, red banana trees from Ethiopia and phyllostachys vivax bamboo which grows over a foot everyday and up to 35ft tall.
Mr Brogan said: “I never had a garden growing up so I had to learn it all.
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“I didn’t have a clue when I started and by some miracle it has all come together. People said it wouldn’t work but it has.
“Now I’ve got the bug. It is a bit of an obsession but you don’t realise until people tell you.”
Mr Brogan doesn’t usually water his garden, but has had to step in to help in the dry weather.
He said: “I try not to water things but it has just been so dry I have had to. It takes me two hours just to water the nursery pots.
“We want the plants to develop their own way because we are an outdoor garden so the plants have got to grow hard.”
Mr Brogan has seen visitors from as far away as America and Australia, but said many local people still don’t know the garden exists.
“You haven’t got to be interested in gardening to enjoy it,” he said. “In fact, we are probably a garden for people who don’t like gardening.
“All I want is to be able to keep doing what I’m doing and for people to come and appreciate it.”
Henstead Exotic Garden is open every Wednesday and Sunday afternoon from 2pm to 5pm until the end of August.
Admission costs £4, with children at £1.
Teas and homemade cakes are available and visitors can also buy potted plants from Mr Brogan’s garden.