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Review of 'Foggy Bottom: A Garden to Share'

Keen gardeners may already know the name Blooms, famous for The Bressingham Gardens and Nursery. This stunning collection of over 8000 species and varieties of plants is set in over 17 acres of land in Norfolk and offers endless inspiration throughout the year.

Foggy Bottom is often referred to as “an enchanted woodland” and grew up around the home of Adrian Bloom, son of the company founder Alan, and his wife Rosemary. It is not regularly open to the public, as the Bressingham Gardens are, so this book is a secret look inside the garden through the year and explores its development from bare land around a new house to the stunning 6-acre garden it is today. Adrian Bloom joined the family business after spending several years working abroad. By this time, his father Alan was becoming well-known for displaying hardy perennials in “island beds”, so the plants could be viewed from all sides. This was in stark contrast to previous long, linear and decidedly one-sided beds and became hugely popular.

Adrian’s first foray into a new design came with combining dwarf conifers with heathers to give year-round interest. Conifers quickly became something of a passion, from giant redwoods to small, slow-growing types for rock gardens. This book takes the reader through the development of each stage of his garden from concept to planning and, finally, realisation.

It has changed considerably in the 57 years it has been growing and yet some trees are only now reaching maturity.

Adrian takes photographs prolifically and the ones in the book are probably just a fraction of his collection, but offer a clear and fascinating insight into how such a garden matures over the years.

The style is conversational, as if you were being given a private guided tour. You feel you come to know Adrian, Rosemary and their three sons as they work, play and plan. Garden design is key, but never overwhelming and serves to enhance, not dominate. There are many features that work so well in the garden that you would never imagine, while walking around, that they took such careful attention to detail to create. Such is the skill of a true garden designer.

The price of this book might make you dismiss it as “coffee table”, but to do this would be to miss the point. This is a book to learn from, to explore and to dip in-and-out of forever. It is packed with Adrian’s tips and insights, suggestions for plant combinations and ways to enjoy your garden every single day of the year. Whether your own garden is large or small, there is something in this book for you. It is a reference work for plants, including how to use them, prune and care for them. Definitely one for your wish-list!

Foggy Bottom: A Garden to Share by Adrian Bloom is available from Foggy Bottom online shop. Books purchased on the website will be signed by Adrian on a special bookplate and numbered in sequence.

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This story was published on: 26/01/2024

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