About the garden
Claire & James Birch
For many, the Gardens at Doddington are just as spectacular as the Hall itself - remaining faithful to the original Elizabethan layout, mellow walls provide the framework for the formal East Front and West Gardens and beyond the West Gardens begin the lovingly restored Wild Gardens.
Over the generations, most recently by Antony and Victoria Jarvis and Claire and James Birch, the gardens at Doddington have been restored, cared for, nurtured and developed to their fullest potential. The East Front is the point at which the dramatic nature of the Hall’s architecture becomes apparent.
A regular pattern of box edging and topiary follows the outer original Elizabethan walls, leaving the central view of the Hall from the Gate House uninterrupted. Standing guard in the forecourt are four topiary unicorns, representing the Jarvis family crest. The West Garden, reorganised in 1900 with the help of experts from Kew, is a riot of colour from April through to September. Wide borders filled with botanical surprises such as the naturalised Crown Imperials, elegant Edwardian daffodils and a Handkerchief Tree frame a tapestry of box-edged parterres bursting with glorious bearded irises in late May–early June.
The Wild Garden, a spectacular pageant of spring bulbs begins in early February with wonderful snowdrops and crocus, continuing through March and early April with drifts of lilies and our collection of heritage daffodils, aconites and snake head fritillaries, right up until May when our famous irises steal the show in the West Garden.
There are also winter-flowering and scented shrubs, rhododendrons, and an underlying structure is given by topiary and some wonderful trees – the ancient, contorted sweet chestnuts that overlook the croquet lawn are still productive.
The Kitchen Garden, formerly neglected two-acre Walled Kitchen Garden, was restored in 2007 to its former productive glory thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Just a stone’s throw from the Hall, the Kitchen Garden now provides an abundance of fruit, vegetables, salads and herbs which take centre stage on the Café and Restaurant menus and are regularly for sale in our Farm Shop.