Essex Trip 2013 - Fagus Gardening

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Essex Trip 2013


Our first stop on this Essex trip was here. A magnificent Jacobean house, built by Robert Cecil 1st Earl of Salisbury in 1611, set in an Elizabethan garden. We spent a very interesting time in the house admiring the many works of art, furniture, architecture etc. all steeped in history; well worth several visits as there is so much to see. Spring was late this year so the garden was still partly asleep. The lime walkway was good to view structurally and underplanted with Anemone blanda and Primula vulgaris. The old palace garden of clipped hedges contrasted well with the fountain and sundial gardens, which led into a more natural area of trees and shrubs. The Amelanchier sp. And Magnolias were in bloom with masses of Narcissus sp. in drifts below.

Mown paths led to sculptures, seating and viewing areas, a good place to have the packed lunch. Hatfield House is definitely somewhere to revisit.

There was a large restaurant and many other small shops and facilities.


This Nursery and 4.5 acre garden are set in a delightful village. We took a short trip around the garden to see their plants and a look around the nursery before a very nice tea in their restaurant. Plant buying began!!


What a lovely house with an atmospheric 4 acre garden, formally designed nearest the house with wide herbaceous borders and a walled vegetable garden, hidden from view by high yew hedges. Leading from the south-facing terrace, the Buxus sp. edged beds, planted with sun loving and drought resistant plants, is a wide lawned area, distantly planted with wild flowers (fritillaries, cowslips, orchids etc) ending up by the Roman River. To the side of the house the linked small ponds are fed by streams and springs and the little river eventually drops over a waterfall into a woodland dell. The woodland was full of bluebells, only just showing their colour, some areas with Rhododendrons in flower and birdsong. The owners have been here since 1981 and have tried to garden without chemicals to enhance the abundance of wild life.


This internationally renowned garden did not disappoint us. The gravel garden was spotted with bright Anemone coronaria, Hyacinthus, Euphorbia sp., Pulsatilla sp. Etc. amongst the drought tolerant shrubs and plants. The pond areas were bursting with the new growth of Lysichiton sp. , Rodgersia sp., Gunnera, Ligularia etc., while Narcissus, Anemone, Myosotis, Caltha palustris bloomed in drifts. What a tranquil scene. The borders heaved with Hellebores, Erythroniums, Dicentras, Trilliums and many others in this plantsman’s garden. The woodlands were also spectacularly stocked with many varieties of trees and shrubs and fully under planted.

The extensive well-kept nursery was a plantaholics delight!!!

The Restaurant was also well run and the food very good.


At the end of a long day we arrived here for tea and delicious cake, provided by the local WRVS. Despite the slightly cooler weather we managed to see the entire garden. The owners had moved here in 1978 and set to clearing the brambles and undergrowth to develop this 10-acre garden. They had planted an arboretum of rare trees and galvanised steel gates, arbours, benches and screens, designed by Ben Coode-Adams, pulled the whole garden together. Running from the top pond, by the house, through the garden was a small stream that joined the river at the bottom by the arboretum. A large area had been planted out with trees for fuel. On the top lawn in front of the house was a ‘jewel lawn’ planted with species Crocus, Tulips, Fritillaries etc. and another with Primula veris. There was certainly a lot to see in the borders and beds.


On arriving at this wonderful location we were drawn to the unusual weather vane of a bee. The large listed black barns provide a wonderful backdrop for the thousands of tulips in toned colours. There are 4 buildings spanning the 16th, 17th 18th and 19th centuries on this site in which the present owners started the garden 16 years ago. The garden covers 8 acres and incorporates a river, wooded planting, an orchard, vegetable patch (with bees and beehive decorations to the raised beds) conservatory and many other features beautifully planted. The owner kindly provided refreshments. It was a wonderful visit and well worth a return.


This is a very young garden on a hilltop in a dry, windy site, with low rainfall. It has undergone major development in the last few years with a new visitor centre. There is a bus service from this centre to the top. There are 24 acres under cultivation with an eclectic range of horticultural styles. Areas include Australian and New Zealand, Queen Mothers garden, dry garden, woodland walks, winter beds, herbaceous etc. something for everyone.

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