The 23-acre garden of Easton Lodge is just outside Great Dunmow off the B184. Formerly home to the Countess of Warwick, affectionately known as Darling Daisy, it was the venue of lavish entertainment for the Prince of Wales and the Marlborough House Set.
In 1902, 'Daisy' commissioned famous architect and landscape designer Harold Peto to create new gardens in the grounds of Easton Lodge. His creations are the only ones to be found in East Anglia and included a sunken Italian garden with a 100 ft long oval lily pond, terrace beds, and croquet lawns framed by arched pergolas. From 1895 onward, 'Daisy' devoted her life to good causes and died in 1938.
A severe snowstorm in 1922 caused considerable damage to the pergolas, and during WWII when the entire estate was requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence, much of the estate was given over to the creation of an airfield for the USAAF.
The gardens were maintained by Daisy's family up until 1950, but after her son's death in 1960, much of the stonework was sold off and nature began to take over.
The gardens are now undergoing restoration and since 2008 have been under the day-to-day care of The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust which is a Registered Charity.
Please see their website www.eastonlodge.co.uk for details of the Public Open Days.
Easton LodgeImage from 'Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Courtesy of British Library on Flickr. NKCR
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