Five country gardens to visit in Herts

Visitors to the Luton Hoo estate walled garden

Visitors to the Luton Hoo estate walled garden - Credit: Archant

There's something quintessentially English about wandering around a country garden, the sunlight dappled by the trees, bees buzzing between the plants, and the bouquet of flowers hanging in the air.

1. The Walled Garden at Luton Hoo Estate

Conceived by the celebrated landscape designer Capability Brown in the late 1760s for John Stuart, Third Early of Bute and George III's Prime Minister.

It evolved over the following centuries to reflect different horicultural fashions and the tastes of successive owners, eventually falling into neglect in the late 1970s.

A restoration project began in 2001, carried out by a team of gardeners, researchers and historians in conjunction with the restoration and conservation team, with support from an education group, all dedicated to celebrating the importance of the garden in Victorian and Edwardian society.

Today the garden is still being revived, repaired and reimagined, but has been restored to a five acre site surrounded by the original octagonal wall dating from the 18th century, with various glasshouses and service buildings on the grounds.

Located just north of Harpenden, it is open for ticketed visits from May to September.

https://www.lutonhooestate.co.uk/walled-garden

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2. Pembroke Farm Gotha Gardens

A recent garden (it was started in 1990) created from an arable field and originally conceived as a woodland walk. It is stocked with plenty of features to attract wildlife and pollinators, and more formal areas were introduced to reflect the owners' passion for topiary.

There are rose gardens with more than 150 different specimens, a woodland garden, a topiary garden and a tea lawn with cottage garden beds in the style of Gertrude Jekyll.

The garden is also a location to an artisanal botanical candlery featuring handmade and hand poured luxury aromatherapy candles made using botanical extracts and organic components.

Accommodation is also available on site in The Domek, a cottage decorated in French farmhouse style.

Find the gardens near Ashwell. http://www.pembrokefarmgarden.co.uk/

The gardens of Knebworth House.

The gardens of Knebworth House. - Credit: Archant

3. Knebworth House Gardens

If you haven't been, then you're missing a spectacular day out at one of Hertfordshire's finest tourist attractions, featuring 28 acres of beautiful formal gardens. If you have, then you'll know why it's worth coming back time and time again.

The gardens date from the 17th century but were largely shaped during the Edwardian era by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, and include a Gertrude Jekyll herb garden, garden rooms, a maze, a rose garden, fountains, statues and even a dinosaur park.

Find Knebworth House just outside of Stevenage. https://www.knebworthhouse.com/

4. Hatfield House Gardens

Hatfield House was built by Robert Cecil, in the grounds where Elizabeth I spent a large portion of her childhood, and is now in the care of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury.

The picture-perfect gardens date from the early 17th century, when Robert Cecil employed John Tradescant the Elder to collect plants from all over Europe from his new home.

The trees, bulbs, plants and fruit trees, which had never before been grown in England, have crafted the inspiring and fragrant gardens which can be explored today.

Formal and wilderness gardens are open throughout the season, but the formal East Garden is only open on Thursdays during the open season. Find out more at https://www.hatfield-house.co.uk/

The West Garden at Hatfield House

The West Garden at Hatfield House - Credit: Archant

5. St Paul's Walden Bury Garden

The home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, it features a Grade 1 listed garden dating from the 18th century. This formal woodland garden was designed to be in harmony with the surrounding landscape, with naturally growing trees and countryside features incorporated into the design.

It includes temples, statues, hidden glades and ponds, with avenues radiating from a focal point in the classic French design, and even a secluded terraced theatre.

Located five miles south of Hitchin. http://www.stpaulswaldenbury.co.uk/

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