Wroxham, Norfolk Broads

Restoring a Historical Norfolk Broads Garden

Built in 1890, this historic house in Wroxham, with it’s stunning Norfolk Broads garden, nestles in the heart of the picturesque Norfolk Broads, and is one of the oldest properties and most significant in the region. Once home to the remarkable Victorian artist, traveller, and philanthropist, Agnes Gardener-King, this house comes with a rich history. Agnes was not only an artist but also an avid gardener, leaving her mark on the property with a vibrant and colourful garden. The current owners, who were fortunate to inherit Agnes’s 1934 photo album featuring images of her stunning garden, sought to pay homage to her legacy. Their vision was to infuse modern elements into this Norfolk Broads garden, while preserving the essence of Agnes’s original garden, despite the challenges posed by the densely wooded and shaded surroundings and the understandably strict guidelines of The Broads Authority.

Historical Significance of this Norfolk Broad Garden

This enchanting house, dating back to 1890, holds a unique place in the history of Wroxham. The property’s original owner, Agnes Gardener-King, was a remarkable individual who made significant contributions as an artist, traveller, and philanthropist. Her passion for gardening was evident in the vibrant and colourful garden she cultivated, leaving a legacy that continues to inspire today’s garden enthusiasts.

The Client’s Brief

The current owners of this historic property hold a deep appreciation for its history and the artistic legacy of Agnes Gardener-King. They were fortunate to inherit a treasure – Agnes’s 1934 photo album, filled with captivating images of her garden. Their vision for the garden design project was to pay tribute to Agnes’s gardening prowess while incorporating contemporary elements that would be harmonious with the present-day landscape.

This Norfolk Broads garden presented a unique set of challenges for the project. Over the years, the property’s surroundings had become significantly more wooded and shaded, creating a different environment than what Agnes had originally created. The presence of mature trees and dense foliage meant that modern garden design had to carefully balance the need for light, colour, and plant variety with the existing conditions.

Another important factor in the project was the oversight of The Broads Authority. With its commitment to preserving the natural beauty and ecological balance of the Norfolk Broads, it was essential to navigate the regulatory guidelines and restrictions while achieving the client’s vision for a vibrant and flowery garden.


The Design for this Norfolk Broad Garden

To bring the vision to life, the garden design had to be a harmonious blend of history and modernity, a celebration of Agnes’s legacy while embracing contemporary garden aesthetics. Key elements of the design included:

Reflecting Agnes’s Colourful Palette: Agnes’s 1934 photo album served as a valuable reference for recreating her vibrant and colourful garden. The selection of flowers, plants, and design elements aimed to pay homage to her original vision.

Modern Interpretation: While preserving the historical essence, the garden design incorporated modern elements that catered to the present-day setting. This fusion ensured a garden that felt both timeless and contemporary.

Wooded and Shady Landscape: The challenge of working in a more wooded and shaded environment was met with a thoughtful selection of shade-tolerant plants, strategic placement of garden features, and the introduction of natural lighting where possible.

Meeting Regulatory Requirements: Navigating The Broads Authority’s guidelines was a crucial aspect of the project. The garden design met all regulatory requirements while enhancing the ecological balance of the Norfolk Broads.


The restoration of this historical garden in Wroxham, Norfolk Broads, is a testament to the enduring beauty of Agnes Gardener-King’s vision and the adaptability of garden design to modern challenges. Balancing history and contemporary aesthetics, this project showcases the potential of a garden to tell a story and evolve with the times. The result is a garden that pays homage to the past while embracing the present, creating a vibrant and flowery space that captures the essence of the Norfolk Broads.