A series of fulling mills had occupied this site since at least the mid-fifteenth century. Fulling was the process used for cleaning and thickening woollen cloth and the people who did the work were known variously as Fullers, Tuckers or Walkers - so if one of those is your surname then that's what your ancestors got up to. The woollen industry was central to the economy of the area during the Middle Ages.
The River Lark, which passes through the garden, was once navigable up as far as Bury St Edmunds, linking it with the great fenland rivers. Stone for the Abbey, for example, would have passed through the lock-gates here. By 1900 however the waterway had fallen into disuse.
By the time that Bernard and his wife Bess acquired the land it was in a sorry state. The river had eroded through into the pond and had become a swampy area littered with fallen trees.
There is still a sense here that rampant nature is about to take control of the garden once more, as you wind your way along narrow paths between the trees and flower beds, discovering new unexplored areas and unexpected glimpses into the world beyond.
There are many kinds of lily in the garden, one of Mr Tickner's enthusiasms. It always amused him when people complimented him of the colour-scheme of his plantings; he was colour-blind!
On a trip to Crete, Bess Tickner discovered a local form of Iris, Iris cretensis. And, in the Pyrenees, Bernard found a yellow form of Fritillaria pyrenaica, which was subsequently named after him.
In 2013 the assets of the Fullers Mill Trust were transferred to Perennial, a charity supporting those who work in horticulture, and it is they who manage the site today.
Bernard Tickner passed away, aged 93, in 2017, shortly after being awarded the MBE. But not merely for his contribution to horticulture. He had other strings to his bow.
He was also a naturalist and conservationist and it so happened that, while he was developing his garden, the Lark Valley was being exploited for its sand and gravels. Huge pits were being dug to extract the material, with little or no regard to the environmental damage that was being caused.
They soon found they had a formidable adversary in the gardener from Fullers Mill, as he fought many of their proposed schemes in the courts and prevented the destruction of valuable habitats and historic rivers. When the gravel companies left the site he proposed turning it into a nature reserve, Lackford Lakes, where I have spent many a happy hour peering through my binoculars.
The reserve did not only benefit from his energy and determination, he also made considerable monetary donations towards such things as the splendid visitor centre.
But that's not all I have to thank Bernard Tickner for. To understand that we have to travel back a few decades to when I was working on a farm, stacking straw bales every harvest time.
It was hot and dusty work and the only thing that was on my mind during the last hour's labour, as the sun was declining in the western sky, was the thought of walking down to the village pub in the cool of the evening and sinking a couple of pints of Abbot Ale before closing time.
You see, Mr Tickner's day-job was Head Brewer for Greene King Breweries in Bury St Edmunds and Abbot Ale was his creation.
I can't give you a pint of Abbot Ale via the internet, so I'll leave you with a scene from Bernard Tickner's other great creation, Lackford Lakes Nature Reserve.