A new garden hove into view on my horizon today (well, new to me) when I found out about Pensthorpe Natural Park near Fakenham, Norfolk.
Now, our experience of Norfolk has not been entirely happy, but Pensthorpe was voted Norfolk's Best Large Visitor Attraction for 2014 (wonder where the small visitors go?), was the home of Springwatch from 2008-10 and has 660 acres in which to roam. Including three gardens.
Piet Oudolf doesn't have the effect on my pulses that he seems to have on other people's, but the purple drifts and banked perennials do look rather splendid in the pictures. Soon to start flowering this year is its Wildflower Meadow, which had a part to play in BBC2's Great British Garden Revival, and The Wildlife Habitat Garden offers ideas for, yes, attracting wildlife. The most intriguing sounds to be The Wave Garden, beside a lake, with hedging and structural planting for year-round foliage, sculpture and snowdrops.
However, the big news is the new addition in this, the 210th anniversary of Nelson's death. Nelson, born ten miles away in the North Norfolk village of Burnham Thorpe, lived again there with his wife between 1786 and 1793 while waiting to be assigned a ship. And in celebration, the (get this) Destination Management Organisation, Visit North Norfolk, approached the GLA and Boris Johnson about translocating Nelson's Column from Trafalgar Square to a location between Pensthorpe's Oudolf garden and the Wensum Wetland area in time for the anniversary in October. Apparently a petition was raised of over 100K signatures from people across the globe, asking for Nelson to return to his home.
The artist's impression really does look rather splendid. He'll be there without his lions, so they'll be left guarding, well, nothing for the summer while the column is taken down in pieces for transportation. Work should start after the Easter holidays. There's no mention of it's return, but I'd hazard a guess at it being back in time for Easter 2016. They could put the Norwegian Christmas tree in its place to disguise the lack in December.
David Henry, Senior Construction Manager of MJS Projects, in charge of logistics, said: “It is entirely feasible to transport and re-erect such a structure with careful planning and the right people on board. According to history, Hitler had planned to relocate the structure to Berlin, had he won the war. And if it was possible to London Bridge to Arizona, moving Nelson’s Column should be a far simpler task.”
Once ensconced, Nelson will gaze across his beloved county and out to sea. With the park's six natural lakes it puts him close to water too. Nelson was, it's said, a keen birdwatcher and, from his new perch, he'll be seeing a lot more than pigeons.
And, for the information of Nelson enthusiasts, of which I must admit I'm one, you can also visit the Remembering Nelson Exhibition at luxury hotel, The Hoste, in Burnham Market. Formerly the Pitt Arms, Nelson frequented it in his youth. He's known to have stayed in Room 5 and to have received his dispatch papers there.