58 gardens of delight for National Gardens Scheme

PUBLISHED: 15:19 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:06 20 February 2013



Kate Everett gives the lowdown on some of the gardens included in this year's National Gardens Scheme

The National Gardens Scheme has been opening fine gardens to the public to raise funds for charity for more than 75 years. Many of these gardens are not usually open to the public and visitors will often have the opportunity to meet the owners and gain a unique insight into how they have created and maintained their gardens. In Hertfordshire alone, 58 Hertfordshire gardens will be open for the National Gardens Scheme and by private appointment over the coming months to enchant, impress and inspire you.

The Abbots House. This exotic 1 acre garden is designed in rooms, each with different styles and moods. Filled with interesting trees, shrubs and mixed borders, featuring a sunken garden, pond and wild flower meadow.

The stunning gardens at Ashridge cover 190 acres and form part of the Grade II* registered landscape of Ashridge Park. Based on designs by Humphry Repton in 1813, the landscape is made up of a number of small gardens, as well as a large lawn area leading to avenues of trees offering views out to the old parkland.

The old family garden at Benington Lordship near Stevenage covers seven acres created by the present owner's great grandmother at the beginning of the 20th century. Features include a magnificent neo-Norman folly built by James Pulham, masses of roses, herbaceous borders and wild flowers.

New to the NGS, the small but extensively planted garden at Croft Cottage boasts views across the main garden to Benington's 13th century church, and is divided by hedges and tall shrubs into several different areas. The garden's impact is achieved mainly by the use of variegated and colourful-leafed shrubs and perennials.

The stunning gardens at Standon's Bromley Hall have been designed for year-round interest. Set in four-and-a-half acres surrounded by wide lawns, the gardens are a riot of colour with mixed borders, interesting details and an immaculate kitchen garden.

Capel Manor Gardens spread across 30 acres, with a variety of historical and modern themes. Features include a Japanese garden, large Italian-style maze, a walled rose garden, rock and water features and woodland walks.

Large mature trees and hedges surround the third of an acre town garden at 35 Digswell Road, Welwyn Garden City. The lawn is bordered by wide Oudolf-inspired naturalistic herbaceous borders with perennial and ornamental grasses, and grass paths link island beds where contemporary style planting gradually gives way to the exotic, leading to a small jungle garden filled with unusual plants.

At just 25 by 30 feet, 207 East Barnet Road, New Barnet, is an inspirational example of a minute courtyard garden. High fences are covered with clematis, honeysuckle and passion flowers, roses and vines scramble over an arch above a seat. The garden has a small pond with goldfish and water plants, and many interesting and unusual plants, mainly in pots.

The magnificent gardens and pollarded lime avenues at Knebworth were laid out by Lutyens in 1910. Visitors can enjoy 25 acres of formal gardens, including a sunken lawn, rose garden, wildflower meadow, newly restored maze, ponds, walled garden and pergola. For details of events and garden opening times visit www.knebworthhouse.com

The West Garden at Hatfield House dates from the 17th century and has evolved into a gardener's paradise with stunning formal gardens planted for year round colour and interest. Relax by the fountains in the peaceful scented garden, and visit the famous knot garden adjoining the Tudor Old Palace. Open until September.

The Childhood home of the late Queen Mother, the 60-acre Grade I listed gardens at St Paul's Walden Bury comprise a formal design of avenues through woodland gardens leading to temples, statues, a lake and ponds. Numerous small gardens feature woodland shrubs and mixed herbaceous borders. St Paul's Walden Bury will open for the NGS on Sunday, April 6 from 2pm to 7pm and also on Sundays April 27 and May 18.

The continually evolving plantswoman's garden at 18th century Rustling End Cottage is surrounded by fields and woodland. Walk through the meadow to a cottage garden with contemporary planting including a sunny gravel terrace with drought tolerant planting, topiary and a wildlife pond with bog planting. Open by appointment for groups.

Systematically developed over more than 50 years by present owners, the gardens of Waterdell House, Croxley Green, encompass 1 acres of mature and young trees, topiary, and herbaceous borders, with modern island beds of shrubs, old-fashioned roses, grasses and pond gardens. Open by appointment at Little Green Lane, Croxley Green.

Walk the network of paths around West Lodge Park and see the ten-acre Beale Arboretum consisting of more than 700 varieties of trees and shrubs, including the National Collection of Hornbeam cultivars, with a good selection of conifers, oaks, maples and mountain ash. Cockfosters Road, Hadley Wood.

New to the NGS for 2008, 9 Tannsfield Drive, Hemel Hempstead, is a truly interesting small town garden that has been imaginatively laid out and creatively planted. Features a wide variety of grass, ferns and clematis, with ornamental trees and densely planted flower beds which include shade and gravel planting, a mini orchard and water features.

The National Gardens Scheme Yellow Book (priced at 7.99) includes full details of all the gardens taking part, with opening times and directions to open gardens countrywide. Alternatively, pick up a free leaflet in your local library, garden centre or tourist information centre or
log on to
www.ngs.org.uk for full listings and information

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