7 Hertfordshire gardens to visit during the National Open Garden Scheme
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With the country opening up again like a spring bloom, we can set our sights once more on exploring the county, including visiting some of Hertfordshire’s wonderful gardens.
1. St Paul’s Walden Bury
It was nearly a century ago that the future king George VI drove his sports car to St Paul’s Walden Bury to try for the third time to gain the hand in marriage of Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. Here at her family’s country estate near Hitchin, Bertie finally persuaded the future Queen Mother to marry him. On April 11 and May 9 you can walk in their footsteps as the estate, still in the ownership of the Bowes-Lyons, opens its doors for the charitable National Garden Scheme.
The formal woodland garden was created in 1720, covering more than 50 acres. There are long rides lined with clipped beech hedges leading to temples, statues, a lake and a terraced theatre. You'll also spot seasonal displays of daffodils, magnolias and rhododendrons, and plenty of wildflowers. Tickets are £7.50 (kids free).
In Welwyn, The Mill House, a listed home with associated millstream and race, has ancient apple and box trees underplanted with perennials and herbaceous delights. Other highlights include a large tulip display, colourful terrace and vegetable planters. Open on April 17, 18 and 21. Adults £5, kids free.
3. Pie Corner, Bedmond
The quaintly-named Pie Corner is an impressive red brick modern house built on classical lines with formal lawns and pool and views over a valley in Bedmond. The gardens become wilder towards the woodland edge. Open April 25. Adults £5, kids free.
4. The Old Rectory, Sarratt
The Old Rectory in Sarratt, also opening on Sunday April 25, is a wild garden covering 20 acres against the backdrop of the Chess valley and the Chilterns. See specimen trees, semi-ancient woodland and a sculpture collection. Adults £6, kids free.
Enjoy the delightful and fragrant blossom of apple, pear and plum in Amwell Cottage's large orchard with mown paths meandering through long grass past gnarled fruit trees. This informal garden of approximately two and a half acres also has tulips, peonies and perennials in the borders, bringing additional colour and interest, plus a woodland area. Open 25 April. Adults £4.50, kids free.
A spectacular and colourful display of bulbs beckons at this charming Letchworth garden, along with alliums in bud, wisteria coming into flower and interesting features including large stones set in gravel with grasses and sculpture, and a water rill with mirrored area and acers, topiary and emerging hostas. An old pear tree supports a rambling clematis montana and around the lawn are magnolias, wallflowers and more tulips in bloom. Open 25 April. Adults £5, kids free.
The garden of this 1930s semi was sympathetically redesigned in 2017 to keep as much of the existing plants, trees and shrubs as possible. It's a modern take on the classic garden in two halves: ornamental and vegetable, with gabion borders packed with perennials and annuals, a central bed featuring a pond and a mature Japanese maple. Open April 24. Adults £4, kids free.
For details of all the Hertfordshire gardens opening for charitable causes this spring and beyond see ngs.org.uk
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