Hertfordshire's gardens of the past
PUBLISHED: 14:00 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:21 20 February 2013
The Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies centre opens its files to take a look back at some early garden landscapes
THROUGHOUT Hertfordshire there are formal and informal, private and public gardens that illustrate the British passion for creating green, growing spaces of their own. An influence on Hertfordshire's development of parks and gardens is its proximity to London which ensured that the gardens followed the latest fashion trends from the capital.
Dating from the early 17th century, the gardens at Hatfield House were designed by John Treadescant the elder who was employed by Robert Cecil to collect plants for his new home. The French architect Salomon de Caus designed a waterwheel driven pumping system for the fountain in 1612, one of the first of its kind.
Some of the most important country houses, like Cassiobury near Watford, which in 1871 extended over an area of 5,500 acres, and Panshanger have been demolished. However, many unusual Hertfordshire gardens such as Benington Lordship Gardens still survive and have been featured in television programmes such as Poirot.
In 1838 George Proctor decided to romanticise the ruins of the Norman castle and employed the Broxbourne landscape gardener James Pulham. James was famous for work using his 'Pulamite Stone', a secret mixture which was a sort of cement that could be moulded to replicate stonework. Benington Lordship Gardens can still be visited today. The early 20th century also saw the creation of three Japanese gardens at Fanhams Hall, Ware, the Node near Codicote and at Cottered.
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