December 13 2013 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Hidden behind an ordinary-looking 1950s bungalow in Bacton is a garden of delights.
Anyone who doubted rusty metal and other beachcombed scrap could be attractive should visit Bill Kerr’s quarter-acre garden by the north Norfolk coast this weekend when it will open to the public for the first time.
Mr Kerr, 57, who spent eight years creating the garden, describes it as: “Lush semi-tropical meets Norfolk coast meets industrial decay”.
When not working as a PCSO in North Walsham, Mr Kerr spends time scouring north Norfolk’s beaches for interesting bits of abandoned sea defences and other discarded items, taking finds home to use in the structure of his garden, or as artwork.
Lurking among more than 130 varieties of plant are a water feature created out of an old wooden groyne with a rusted pipe spout. It pours into a pool of belemnites.
Twisted and rusted metal sculptures are dotted throughout the garden’s four or five “rooms” as are pebble-filled wire gabion baskets.
A rusted frame, used to make reinforced concrete, supports grape vines and cacti grow in rusty food cans.
Creating a natural framework for these striking displays are huge structural plants and smaller varieties including gunnera, cardoon, palms, canna lilies, ferns, and euphorbias.
Visitors will also see Mr Kerr’s small garden studio where he displays photos he has taken locally of the north Norfolk coast and decay.
“Decay and change in our environment are an important part of the urban and rural landscape and, far from being dull or ugly, they can often be uniquely beautiful, atmospheric and interesting.” said Scots-born Mr Kerr, who worked as a self-taught garden designer in Buckinghamshire before moving to Norfolk in 2005 with his partner Bev Cole.
He spent countless back-breaking hours digging up mountains of concrete, and dismantling an old garage and barn to make way for his own garden and studio, which he calls Camera Rustica.
It can be viewed on August 30, 31 and September 1, 11am-6pm, at Suil Na Mara, North Walsham Road, Bacton NR12 0LG, close to the Pollard Street coastguard building. Entry is free.