In 2022 Iceni Botanical Artists (IBA) decided that they would like another project. Between 2014–16 they had successfully combined with a large Breckland area study (funded by Heritage Lottery) to produce paintings of rare and endangered wild flowers, which culminated in production of their book “Breckland Wild Flowers—Heaths and Grasslands” (see below).
But now it was time to come together again on something new. They were invited to work in Fullers Mill Garden, West Stow, Suffolk, just north of Bury St Edmunds, a garden of some seven acres on the banks of the River Lark.
Fullers Mill is an RHS Partner garden, winning Partner Garden of the Year Award for the Midlands and East Anglia region in 2021 and 2022. It was the creation of the late Bernard Tickner MBE who, with his wife Bess, started developing the garden in 1958 from woodland and rough scrub. Bernard and his wife travelled throughout Europe and beyond to gather rare and unusual plants for the garden. In 2004 The Fullers Mill Trust was formed and still funds the garden. In 2013 it was gifted to the Perennial Charity, a Gardeners Royal Benevolent Society, which looks after people working in horticulture and their families.
The garden is divided into five distinct areas which include woodland shade, a Mill Pond with moisture loving plants and a Mediterranean-style garden with poor soil with dry conditions. Bernard’s original planting reflected well his love of plant form, texture and colour all year round.
Iceni Artists have chosen plants to paint from a list of 72 plants provided by Fullers Mill which includes trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. As the project has progressed, IBA members have subsequently added their personal favourites and the plant list now numbers 92. Also included in the project are portrayals of the fauna which visit the garden as well as landscape vistas. The paintings for the project should all be completed by Autumn 2024. Preparations for an exhibition and a book of selected artworks is already in hand and will be available some time in 2025.