Tree Planting – HHA/Christie’s Garden of the Year – Helmingham Hall – 11th September 2017


This year it was Helmingham Hall in Suffolk that was the winner of the Historic Houses Association/Christie’s Garden of the year award. A house on this site has been in the Tollemache family for well over 500 years.

The current incumbents are Lord Timothy & Lady Alexandra (Xa) Tollemache who had graciously lowered the drawbridge – yes the house is surrounded by a moat and the drawbridges at the front and rear are lowered every morning and raised every evening, better protection than a burglar alarm! – to let in a large party of Fruiterers.

Past Master Sykes with Lady and Lord Tollemache

Past Master Sykes with Lady and Lord Tollemache

The House is not normally open to the public but we were given a wonderful tour of part of the interior by Lord Tollemache. The fact that he and Lady Tollemache were due to move out in two days’ time did not seem to concern him at all!

After the tour we went into the garden to plant the tree.




The Master was ably assisted by both Lord and Lady Tollemache as well as their long-term Head Gardener, Roy Balaam.


Click on the portfolio below to view the spectators!

We have been here before!

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Following the tree planting we went into the Coach House Tea Rooms where a splendid buffet lunch had been laid on.

After lunch we were then given a tour of the winning garden by Lady Tollemache. She is an extremely talented garden designer in her own right having won a Gold Medal at Chelsea and she credits Helmingham Hall as being the inspiration that set her on that path.


Here is not the place to give an in depth guide to the garden, for that please visit Helmingham Hall’s website:

On that site you can see numerous stunning photographs but one you won’t see is that of the group who much enjoyed their visit and the hospitality of “Tim & Xa”!