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Easton Walled Gardens

June 21, 2012

Having driven past Easton Walled Gardens on countless journeys back to the shire I finally managed to visit yesterday. It’s just off the A1 in Lincolnshire, by the junction we always take on our trips back ‘home’. Admittedly this is often at non-friendly times for garden visiting – usually late on a Friday night (gardens closed and us frazzled after a week of work and 3 hours driving) or late on a Sunday on our way back down to London (gardens closed and us frazzled after a weekend of family) – but I knew of its story and I would always see the sign for the garden and think ‘I really must visit there someday’ as we cruised on by. So when an invitation from Ursula to a Midsummer Lunch press event dropped into my inbox I jumped at the chance. It was a perfect excuse to visit the lost gardens.

Sir Henry Cholmeley first bought Easton, nestled in a little valley of the River Witham, in 1592. The original conveyance listed a manor, orchards, meadows and gardens and the estate has been in the family ever since. Sadly the grand old house that was once there, Easton Manor, fell into disrepair and was pulled down in 1951. The gardens were abandoned and soon became overgrown and engulfed by elder, brambles and 20ft trees. The only original buildings that remain today are the gatehouse and stableyard. The gardens, over 400 years old, were almost completely lost before Ursula started to rescue them from dereliction in 2001.

We were encouraged to wander the grounds before lunch. The place was looking wonderful on this balmy midsummer’s day. From the drinks reception I walked through the Pickery and the cottage garden, past the greenhouses, vegetable garden and compost heaps and came out to a vantage point alongside the terraces, looking down to the river (as seen in the picture above). Swallows were swooping and diving all around. It was a beautiful view. The garden has an air of romance and tinge of sadness about it knowing that the old house has gone and the gardens almost vanished. On the other hand the rejuvenation of the gardens is a joyous one and the love and passion that Ursula and her team have for the place really shines through.

Ursula is big on meadows and I loved the use of them on the slopes of the terraces and in the old kitchen garden where roses have been planted in long grass. The Pickery full of cut flowers, orderly vegetable garden and colourful cottage garden were also all looking great. It really was an enchanting place, one that I look forward to re-visiting and recommending friends and family to visit too. Easton is also very welcoming of children so it’s a great garden for those with little ones curious to explore and play.

A view looking down the terraces, over the Witham and what used to be the large walled kitchen garden beyond – this contains the yew tunnel running down the middle and rose meadows and orchard on either side. Just in front of the walled garden are the two long borders

Taken from the ornamental bridge over the River Witham, looking back up the terraces. You can just make out a dot of a person on the top of the terraces, which is where the old house once stood

The rose meadow with David Austin roses planted in long grass

The long flower borders which run alongside the river

Pretty stone archway. The initials of Sir Montague Cholmeley, who did much work on the house and gardens in the 1800s, can be seen in the iron gates

The yew tunnel. It was planted in 1852 and is 106 metres long. In the garden’s heyday it formed two dense, 15ft high hedges

Looking along one of the grass terraces where the summer meadows on the slopes are starting to flower

The Cottage Garden

The Vegetable Garden

The Pickery. Provides cut flowers for the garden and they allow visitors to pick varieties they like for inspiration in their own gardens too

Sweet peas growing up canes in the Pickery. Every year hundreds of sweet peas are raised from seed and planted in the Pickery, vegetable and cottage gardens. Easton opens for a Sweet Pea week at the beginning of July

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2012 8:27 pm

    I adore these gardens but have never been able to find the right words to sum them up. You have done this beautifully when you say ‘The garden has an air of romance and tinge of sadness about it’. They are always a joy to visit even to someone like myself who lives on the doorstep. A great place to relax and reflect.

    • June 22, 2012 10:32 am

      Thanks for your comment Sarah. What a lovely garden to have on your doorstep! It is definitely a place I could imagine returning to again and again. Because the restoration is on-going and Ursula is continually innovating and developing the gardens it must be great to see the progress. Agree about it being a place to relax and reflect too – two essential qualities of a good garden for me!

  2. June 21, 2012 10:40 pm

    I love those meadows, all those pretty flowers. and I love the cottage garden too, so perfectly English 🙂

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