38 Gorgeous Hertfordshire gardens to explore this summer
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Ashridge House Gardens
Based on designs by Humphry Repton in 1813, enjoy a series of small secluded gardens at the gothic mansion, as well as a large lawn area leading to avenues of trees. The selection of rhododendrons on display in May and early June are a must-see. Open daily from 9am, June 8-11, 10am-7pm for NGS.
A seven-acre garden in Benington village with historic buildings, rose garden, walled kitchen garden and lakes. Spectacular herbaceous borders and unspoilt panoramic views over surrounding parkland and countryside. Open May 30-31, 11am-3pm, June 26-27, 11am-4pm for NGS. Chilli Festival on August Bank Holiday, 10am-5pm.
Chenies Manor Garden
Gardens near Chorleywood influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement including a Tudor-style sunken garden, a white garden, Victorian kitchen garden and mazes. Lots of colour throughout the summer with roses, cottage garden plants and dahlias.
Open Monday and Tuesday 2-5pm to the end of October.
Enjoy the peace of the West Garden at the stunning stately home with its scented garden, fountains, and longitude dial, and view the knot garden near the Elizabethan Old Palace. The East Garden is more formally planted with a parterre, topiary, herbaceous borders and vegetable garden. West Garden open Thursday to Sunday, East Garden Thursdays in season. both 10.30am-5pm.
Formal gardens, a maze, colourful borders, interesting trees and a wilderness area in these 28-acre gardens at the stately home. The layout dates largely from the Edwardian era when architect Sir Edwin Lutyens simplified the Victorian garden with lawns and avenues of pollarded lime trees. Gertrude Jekyll’s 1907 herb garden design was recreated in 1982. See website for opening times.
Myddelton House Gardens
A botanical eight-acre garden at Bulls Cross, home of renowned plantsman E A Bowles, with rare and unusual plants. Bountiful borders, kitchen garden, pond terrace and rock garden. There are artefacts of local and national interest including part of Old London Bridge and the Enfield Market Cross. Open Wednesday – Sunday 10am–4pm.
St Paul’s Walden Bury
A spectacular formal woodland garden laid out in 1720 in a hamlet near Hitchin. Long rides lined with clipped beech hedges lead to temples, statues, lake and a terraced theatre. Seasonal displays of irises, magnolias, rhododendrons and lilies. This was the childhood home of the Queen Mother. Open Wednesdays and Fridays 2-7pm and for NGS on June 13, 2-7pm.
HISTORIC PUBLIC GARDENS
Enjoy historic public garden spaces in Hertfordshire for free.
Cassiobury Park & Whippendel Woods
Recently restored gem in Watford with mostly Victorian design but with 16th century origins.
Former location of Theobalds Palace, a favourite of James I, the park and gardens in Cheshunt were given to the public just over a century ago.
Bushey Rose Garden
Arts and Crafts garden for lovers of roses (who isn't?).
Hemel Water Gardens
Restored 20th century Jellicoe designed water garden.
Sawbridgeworth 18th-century park redesigned by Lancelot Brown.
Shenley Walled Garden
Charming Victorian walled garden in Shenley Park.
A long-running charitable project, currently most gardens opening for the National Garden Scheme require booking online. The NGS has found this to be very popular and because many of the gardens are restricting the number of visitors, it's an excellent opportunity to see them without crowds.
Mackerye End House
Fifteen acres of formal gardens, parkland and woodland in Harpenden with a framework of formal yew hedges in the front garden and a Victorian walled garden with maze, cutting garden, kitchen garden and lily pond. A courtyard garden has yew and box borders. Don't miss the west garden's pergola of old English roses. Open May 28, 6-9pm and June 13, 12-5pm.
Another Harpenden garden, it's east garden has herbaceous borders, pleached hedges and a Japanese-themed border. The South Garden has herbaceous borders with semi-mature Lebanese cedar. South-west facing garden includes pond and orchard, and the North garden has a circular lawn, pots, roses and herbaceous border. Open May 30, 11am-5pm.
15 Gade Valley Cottages
This sloping rural garden in Great Gaddesden has paths leading through a woodland area to a wildlife pond. There's lots of seating with views across the Gade valley and in shady areas with the sounds of rustling bamboo and bubbling water. Good planting combinations for shade and sunny areas. Open May 30, 1.30-5pm.
43 Mardley Hill
Packed with unusual plants with a focus on foliage and a long season of interest this Welwyn garden has an alpine bed; sunny border; deep shade; white-stemmed birches and woodland planting. There's a naturalistic stream, pond and bog; chicken house, potted vegetables and potted exotics. Open May 31, 12-5pm.
77 Warren Way
A family garden in Welwyn with access to surrounding woodland it has a variety of bulbs, perennial borders and mixed shrubs providing year-round interest and colour. Foxgloves, alliums and hellebores throughout the many beds. June 4, 4-8pm.
The Cherry Tree
A small, secluded garden in Little Wymondley on several levels designed to be a journey of discovery with many perfumed shrubs, trees and climbers. Much of the planting, including exotics, is in containers. A heated greenhouse and summerhouse maintain tender plants in winter. June 6, 11am-5pm.
Thundridge Hill House
Well-established Ware garden with herbaceous plants, shrubs and roses and attractive hedges, including an unusual yellow-only bed. Several delightful places to sit. Wonderful views in and out of the garden especially down to the Rib Valley. June 6, 11am-5.30pm.
9 Tannsfield Drive
This small, town garden in Hemel Hempstead has over 450 plants which, together with the sound of water, create a welcoming oasis of calm. The owners regularly experiment with the planting scheme which ensures the look of the garden alters from year to year. June 6 and July 4 1.30-4.30pm.
4 Ormonde Road
Beautifully planted frontage entices visitors to a large rear garden at this Northwood home. A calm oasis enclosed by mature hedging including rhododendrons, peonies, magnolias, a new lily pond and many acers. Much interest throughout the whole garden due to successional planting. June 6 and September 12, 2-5pm.
The White Cottage
An Idyllic riverside retreat in Wheathampstead of over an acre in a rural setting adjacent to a ford over the river Lea which widens to form the garden boundary. A wildlife haven cottage garden straight out of The Wind in the Willows. June 12, 1-6pm.
A hidden garden in of four acres with steep grass slopes and fine views over the surrounding Wheathampstead countryside. Formal flint-walled garden with roses, peonies and irises. Mature specimen trees, ponds, formal vegetable garden, and adorable bantams and Indian runner ducks. June 12, 1-6pm.
124 Highfield Way
This gently sloping Rickmansworth garden provides an ever-changing scene of colour and interest throughout the year. There are mixed shrub and perennial borders, a cutting garden, woodland area, bog garden, fruit patch, greenhouse and an enormous pond with many fish including koi. June 12-13, 2-5pm.
A garden designed to complement this modern classical house in Bedmond. There are formal areas near the house with views down the valley. The garden becomes more informal towards the woodland edge. A dry garden leads through new meadow planting to a vegetable garden. June 18, 5-8pm.
28 Dale Avenue
This large country garden in St Albans has a sweeping central lawn and deep mixed borders with evergreen and perennial plants and grasses. A large island bed includes herbs, salvias, irises, agapanthus, lavender, eryngiums and many varieties of Harkness and David Austin roses. June 20, 12.30-5.30pm.
Rustling End Cottage
A wildflower meadow leads to a cottage garden with contemporary planting in Codicote. A newly planted orchard with natural planting provides an environment for wild birds and small mammals, and a terrace features drought tolerant planting. There’s a flowery mead and a vegetable garden. June 25-26, 5.30-8.30pm.
28 Fishpool Street
Sculpted box and yew hedging feature strongly in this tranquil oasis near St Albans Cathedral. Gravel paths lead to a lawn surrounded by late flowering herbaceous borders and a relaxed woodland retreat. Imaginative planting in all areas offer unique perspectives. June 25, 6-8pm, June 27, 2-5pm.
42 Falconer Road
An enchanting magical Victorian-style space in Watford with bird cages and chimney pots, plus a walk through conservatory with orchids. Open June 27-July 4, 12-6pm.
St Stephens Avenue Gardens
Two St Albans gardens of similar size, developed in totally different ways. Dense planting at number 20 makes it impossible to see from one end to the other, and paths meander through and behind colour coordinated borders. Number 30 has a southwest facing gravelled front garden with a Mediterranean feel. Clipped box, beech and hornbeam in the back garden provide a cool backdrop for the strong colours of the herbaceous planting. June 27 and September 5, both 2.30-5.30pm.
71 Stansted Road
A wildlife garden in the heart of Bishop's Stortford with a wildflower meadow, three ponds and an extensive woodland border. Formal areas feature a romantic garden with many herbaceous plants chosen to encourage insects. July 1-4, 11am-5pm
Serge Hill Gardens
Two very diverse gardens at the Bedmond home of designer Tom Stuart-Smith. The Barn has an enclosed courtyard, with tanks of water, herbaceous perennials and shrubs. There’s a wildflower meadow, and the West Garden is a series of gardens overflowing with bulbs, herbaceous perennials and shrubs. Serge Hill has views over the ha-ha to the park; a walled vegetable garden with a large greenhouse, roses, shrubs and perennials leading to a long mixed border. July 4, 2-5pm.
14 Watling Street
A vibrant St Albans garden with perennials grown from seed and striking foliage plants including Chinese rice-paper plants, foxglove trees, chusan palms, cardoons, echium and honey flowers. The back garden is divided into separate beds, ending in a glade of bamboo shaded by maple trees. July 9, 6-9pm, July 10, 2.30-5.30pm.
12 Longmans Close
Dazzling colour, scent, lush tropical foliage, trickling water and clever use of pots are used in this densely planted small tropical garden in Watford. Stately bananas and canna rub shoulders with delicate lily and roses amongst a large variety of begonia, hibiscus, ferns and houseplants. July 25, August 1, 2-6pm
35 Digswell Road
Town garden in Welwyn Garden City with naturalistic planting inspired by Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudolf. Perennial borders and a small meadow packed with herbaceous plants and grasses. Contemporary planting gives way to an exotic lush jungle garden with bamboos, bananas, palms and tree ferns. July 25, 2-5.30pm and October 17, 1-4pm.
44 Broadwater Avenue
In the Letchworth Garden City conservation area this successfully combines a family garden with a plantswoman's garden with unusual herbaceous plants and shrubs. Topiary underpins the whole garden. Attractive front garden designed for year-round interest. July 30, 6-9pm, August 1, 1-5pm.
A well designed plantswoman's garden in Letchworth. A silver birch grove, a 'dribble of stones', a rill, contemporary knot garden, and dry planted area. Plus an abundance of roses, perennials, grasses and dahlias. A greenhouse for over wintering and a glass house with tender plants. August 15, 11am-5pm.
Large garden in Bushey Heath surrounding a Victorian house bequeathed to Bushey Museum. Includes a rose garden, medicinal bed, shrubs, perennials, and a woodland walk. There’s a restored vegetable garden and a conservatory, greenhouse, beehives and an analemmatic sundial believed unique to Hertfordshire. Live jazz at the opening. August 22, 2-6pm.