“On a rather overcast spring afternoon in 1984 I drove to Brundall, a riverside village east
of Norwich. As I arrived I noticed a road sign which read ‘Lake View Drive’. Idly wondering
what lake it might be; I turned into the road and was confronted by two large houses under
construction. As there was no sign of activity I investigated further and saw, falling away
from the buildings, a steep valley, and sheltering under a great forest of trees, three ponds
leading down to the shores of a lake. The land was totally overgrown, but I saw a garden
just waiting to be reclaimed!”
Thus the author describes her first encounter with her ‘lost garden’, a small Norfolk Eden left abandoned
and just waiting for a loving green-fingered hand to begin its restoration. Thirty years later
and the Brundall Garden has been transformed into a small paradise, lovingly brought back to life
by the author.
In this book Janet tells the story of the garden from its origin in late Victorian times under
the hand of Norfolk-born Dr Michael Beverley, a pioneer in preventive medicine.
In 1881, Beverley
purchased seventy-six acres of farmland in Brundall where he designed and built a series of
ponds and rockeries from which water flowed down to a lake. Around these he planted shrubs and
trees (many of them surviving today as specimen trees towering above the lake and garden) where
a substantial house was built.
In 1919, and now under the ownership of Frederick Cooper, a
disastrous fire destroyed the original house and the impressive Redclyffe House was built. In 1924
Brundall Gardens railway station was opened nearby and in 1969 fire destroyed Redclyffe House.
In the 1980s new houses were built overlooking the garden and it was at this time that Janet Muter
arrived to begin the garden’s restoration.
Now, regularly open to the public, the impressive gardens are a tribute to the ceaseless work
of its owner. Over 60 000 people have visited, raising tens of thousands of pounds for charity. This
lavishly illustrated book, recounting the author’s fascinating story and packed full of wonderful
photographs, will delight all gardeners and lovers of gardens – great and small.
Janet Muter was born into a professional family in North London where she went to school. She inherited a love
of gardens from her grandparents, a passion that years later, during two years teaching in a deprived area of
Manchester, saw Janet carrying arms full of flowers and foliage to school on the bus. The children loved it.
Later came marriage and a family, and with four young children but with no mod cons there was little time
It was only when aged forty, that Janet and her husband bought a large country house in Great
Plumstead, Norfolk, for the family and the grandparents to share, that Janet found herself with four acres of
garden to manage. Here she grew fruit and vegetables and started to exhibit her produce in local shows, while
maintaining her formal garden with its manicured hedges and lawns. Then in the 1980s, and with the children now
leaving home, Janet moved to Brundall – where this story really begins.
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 259 0, hardback, 260x270mm, 136 pages. Published March 2015.