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Terry and Mirelle moved to The Dell in 1994, the cottage was once lived in by a gamekeeper and a cook working for the Dunston Hall estate, we believe our cottage was re-built at a similar time to the current hall during 1820 to 1840.


Our cottage sits in grounds of approximately one acre it was exactly what we wanted, a cottage with character and sufficient land to grow many plants and re-create a new garden, we were very lucky the vendors were kind and wanted us to be the new owners/guardians of The Dell their former home and for many years their parents home.


The garden had been neglected for many years, the previous owners had cared for the garden and property for many years until elderly and then the property became vacant for a while, elderberry, ash saplings and brambles were everywhere, it took us around 3 years to cut down, dry out and burn up to clear the ground to let in light.


The new garden and all features have been created and are maintained by Mirelle with some help and suggestions from Terry when around and fit enough to help! Mirelle selects all the plants used with Terry hinting at some plants to be able to study and photograph for potential use in larger landscapes as part of Terry's work/consultancy.

Mirelle Clearing Ash, Elderberry and Vegetation

Front Garden and The Dell March 1996

Norwich in Bloom Website






Elderberry, Ivy, Bonfire Heap and Chicken Shed

The Dell November 1994


THEN - Front Garden The Dell February 1995


NOW - Box (Front) Garden The Dell June 2015


THEN - Vegetation with Japanese Knotweed

The Dell February 1995


Terry would recommend to everyone moving to a property that has an existing garden to be patient and wait at least 12 months before any major garden changes to allow time to note what plants especially herbaceous perennials and bulbs are in the garden so they can be identified and if liked saved and reused elsewhere.


Mirelle and Terry took over 3 years to clear unwanted vegetation, scrub and trees, we had regular bonfires to burn up woody vegetation and invited friends to take logs for their fires, some trees were past their best and some needed to be thinned, we tackled many ourselves and sought professional help with larger trees.


During the clearance years we noted shrubs and trees we wanted to keep, carefully lifted, potted on and put in an holding area for future use with many plants we had saved from our last garden and collected on our travels.


As we cleared, modernised and decorated our cottage we saved old carpets to pin over ground helping control and keep weeds down, we used weed killer, Glyphosate to control woody weeds especially large areas of Japanese Knotweed, with light and less weeds we noticed bulbs regenerating and seedlings of past plants.


NOW - Snowdrops in The Dell February 2017



THEN - Terry and Mirelle examine Marl and Flints

Dry Bank The Dell August 1995



NOW - Perennials, Grasses Bulbs and Herbs

Dry Bank The Dell July 2017



Once all ground was cleared and we could see bare earth we took a look at and noted our soil type and levels:


The Dell the largest of the garden areas, is a hollow almost punch bowl, steep slopes, very stony and shallow soil, close to the front garden was a chicken shed and an area with better soil we think was used to grow potatoes.


The front garden Box Garden sloped into The Dell, is very fertile was mainly lawn with flower borders, shrubs a pampas grass, a very large Prunus serrulata Kanzan and a magnificent Magnolia soulangeana alba superba.


The Dry Bank very close to the side of our cottage is very steep, gravel, full of flints and has a thick marl layer.


The top garden, Vegetable, Sundial, Summer House, Grass and Pond Gardens and Perennial Border is very fertile, it was grassy and been used for hanging washing, had a wooden greenhouse, Victoria and Damson Plum Trees and we think probably used to grow vegetables, the ground slopes towards the Dry Bank and into The Dell.

THEN - Old Carpet Ground Cover

Top Garden The Dell October 1994


THEN - Clearance and Bonfire Heap

Top Garden The Dell March 1996


NOW - The Vegetable Garden The Dell May 2017



NOW - Sundial Garden The Dell April 2017


NOW - Grass and Pond Garden The Dell May 2017



Thinking about types of gardens, layout and maintenance as we hand excavated trenches to replace soil pipes, we decided to put in alkathene water pipe and points for water taps to use hose pipe throughout the garden,


Our first earthworks project was to remove soil from the Dry Bank to increase access, we used the soil to level up the new Box Garden firmed up and marked out footpaths, boundaries and flower beds, we purchased 40 tonnes of 20mm crushed shingle to lay on the footpaths and entrance drive and later years another 40 tonnes to top up.


Being located in open countryside before we started to plant out we had to make all our gardens rabbit proof apart from The Dell where we were happy for the rabbits to live and mow our grass areas, we decided to create temporary wire netting fences and later change to wooden palings so plants could be fixed and trained, each garden has a boundary wire or paling fence helping to contain any young rabbits if they get in and easier to catch!


Our Vegetable Garden we decided to use close board fencing that we train fruit trees and bushes along.

Mirelle saved hundreds of flints during earthworks and later used to create retaining walls and terraces.




Each garden was planned by Mirelle for a purpose and to suit our needs, the terrain and orientation


The Dell was sown with a shady turf mixture because of the lack of light and to minimise grass cutting, it has a large display of snowdrops, large pond for nature, bog garden, wildflowers, many trees, shrubs and compost area.


The Box Garden has 6 formal The Dark Lady rose beds under planted with herbaceous and bulbs, side borders feature Magnolia's under planted with Geranium Claridge Druce and bulbs, there are perennial borders, a corridor of Apples and trained on the paling fence, there is a Hydrangea collection a Bird Feeding Station and lots more.


The Dry Bank is very close to our cottage, it is very steep, gravel, sand and soil, full of flints and has a thick marl layer, many perennials, grasses, herbs, bulbs and specimen shrubs are grown on the bank providing nectar and pollen for insects and cover for birds, mammals and reptiles.


The Grass and Pond Garden part of The Dry Bank is adjacent to a very old outbuilding, is a suntrap, Mirelle built a retaining wall of found flints, a ornamental pond surrounded by genus of ornamental grasses, perennials, bulbs, fruit trees on paling fences and a grape on close board fence and outbuilding, a pleasant place to sit, drink or reflect, the sloping gravel footpath leads through a old wooden greenhouse leading to The Perennial Border.


The Perennial Border is very fertile, it had been used for hanging washing, had a wooden greenhouse, Victoria and Damson Plum Trees and we think probably used to grow vegetables, the ground slopes towards The Dry Bank and into The Dell, the 2 borders are planted up with many perennials, Marjoram, roses and bulbs.


The Vegetable Garden was part of the original top garden, Mirelle has created 5 beds growing a mixture of vegetables, herbs and fruit as well as nursery stock, there are wire fences of trained apples, a pear, a plum and bush and cane fruits, a Forsythia hedge on a flint retaining wall and aluminium greenhouses growing Tomatoes.


The Sundial Garden is between The Vegetable Garden and slopes up into The Summer House Garden, it consists of 4 box edged and circular bed of perennials and bulbs and Lilacs, the small garden slopes in 2 directions upwards and is retained by flint walls, Aquilegia, Iris siberica and Ox-Eyed Daisy feature during Spring.


The Summer House Garden is a small garden with feature shrub Cotinus coggygria and Yucca Gloriosa variegata under planted with perennials and bulbs, a summer house sits in the centre of the garden with decking overlooking a 10ft drop into The Dell, a reclaimed brick and gravel steps planted with Campanula and Primrose lead down towards The Perennial Border or to the Hydrangea Area in the Box Garden


"In The Greenhouse" and "In The Garden" are phrases that have been used throughout our lives, as a youngster when family were looking for Terry the reply was mostly "In The Greenhouse" where I spent much of my free time tending to my cacti and other plants, I still like to spend my time under glass if not our greenhouses but others,

for Mirelle it is "In The Garden" when friends and relatives call round or ring up.

We have four greenhouses, a larger aluminium 10 x 12 with electricity and lighting used to propagate and sow seeds and overwintering tender plants and three 8 x 6, two aluminium and a old local made wooden house originally from Weybourne on the Norfolk coast, Mirelle relocated the wooden greenhouse and has extensively repaired and replaced wood over the years, the wooden greenhouse is used to store fruit and veg and the two aluminium to grow tomatoes, strawberries and other vegetables.

Summer House Garden The Dell April 2017


Terry photographs Eryngium Miss Willmots Ghost 

Grass and Pond Garden The Dell July 2017


Mirelle In The Greenhouse May 1998


One of Mirelle's Favourites Peony

Perennial Border in Box Garden The Dell June 2011



Allium Christophii

Grass and Pond Garden The Dell May 2017



Geranium oxonianum Claridge Druce under

Magnolias in Box Garden The Dell May 2017


Terry with one of the hundreds of Cacti grown in the

home made greenhouse at Lingwood 1974


Mirelle and Terry both have many favourite plants growing at The Dell, even with a acre of garden there is just not enough space for everything we would like to grow, over the years visiting flower shows, horticultural trade events, gardens and garden centres we have had to carefully select and buy for a reason and not on impulse.


Mirelle's current favourite plants include: Allium, Clematis, Dahlia, Fragaria (Strawberry), Galanthus, Geranium, Hemerocallis, Lilium, Peony. Ornamental Grasses, Prunus (Cherries and Plums), Sweet Pea, Tomato and Herbs.


Terry's current favourite plants include: Acer, Agapanthus, Alliums, Apples, Aquilegia, Catanche, Crocosmia, Eryngium, Galanthus, Geraniums especially Rozanne, Iris, Marjoram, Magnolia, Tulips, Verbena bonariensis, Viburnum, all vegetables and fruit, hardy annuals, wildflowers and of course bedding plants.


As a youngster Terry had a collection of around 200 cacti and succulents, many grown from mixed seed packets and later named genus/species seed bought from a national Cactus and Succulent Society, my favourite cactus as a youth were Gymnocalycium, flowering just one day and heavy scent, Mammillaria, Haworthia and Stapelia, I still have packets of cacti seed and will grow a collection again one day when I fully retire!


Dwarf Bearded Iris Ginger Bread Man

Grass and Pond Garden The Dell April 2017



Origanum vulgare "Marjoram" - Attracts Bees

Perennial Border The Dell July 2017



Terry admires Marjoram

Perennial Border The Dell July 2016


Replacement, repair and maintenance is constantly ongoing, many of the structural plants that make up the whole garden are in place and maturing, in The Dell a Ash tree fell during storms early 2018 and another very mature specimen needs felling, ornamental and bio diverse replacements will be selected and planted in the autumn, perhaps Silver Birch, Holly or Malus species to provide fruits during bad weather for birds.


We lost many panels from our fence during storm Doris in 2017, we erected the original fence over 20 years ago so it served us well, we replaced using concrete posts, concrete gravel board and close board panels that look good and fingers crossed will last another 20 years serving as a boundary, keeping out rabbits and used to train fruit and many ornamental climbing plants, Mirelle recoated the panels with a forest green stain which we also use on our many paling fences we believe a better colour helping blend in with the natural environment.


A plum tree on a close board fence that developed Silver Leaf, Chondrostereum purpureum has been removed and will be replaced with probably a recent variety of fruiting Cherry and Mirelle has selected new Clematis.


Time is regularly spent weeding, dead heading, pruning, clearing debris and leaves - all composted, perhaps a least appreciated job that needs to be carried out regularly is NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT- FEED YOUR PLANTS learn to understand your plants needs, naturalised bulbs need regular feed to gain repeat flowering in future years.



Mirelle replaces fencing following Storm Doris

Large Greenhouse Area The Dell March 2017




Mirelle building Flint retaining Wall and Steps

Hydrangea Area Box Garden The Dell July 2017


Terry's favourite job testing Raspberries!

 Vegetable Garden The Dell July 2016


Mirelle is developing a new Wildlife Garden in a recently obtained area adjacent to our garden, the area has been cleared of perennial nettles, brambles and saplings, trees thinned and branches raised to let in more light.


The compost area in the Vegetable Garden has been relocated to the wildlife garden and enlarged, Campion's, grasses, Ox-eyed Daisy, Ferns and plants split from our various gardens have been planted in the new garden.


Hardy Annuals Cornflower, Corn Marigold, Larkspur and more were sown in the new Wildlife Garden in 2017 including Love in A Mist Nigella and Poppy Papaver rhoeas more hardy annual mixes will be added yearly to provide pollen and nectar for Bees, Butterflies and Beneficial Insects as well as provide seed heads to feed visiting birds and those using nest boxes placed on trees.


Mirelle is near to completing new steps and flint retaining wall from Box Garden up to the Summer House Garden.



Updated 8th March 2018 Copyright Terry and Mirelle Bane 2017 - Web Site Designer Terry Bane