About the garden
Duke and Duchess of Bedford
Owned by Duke and Duchess of Bedford and designed by Humphry Repton, the 28 acres of award-winning gardens are his most realised landscape and were considered by him to be one of his finest achievements.
Recently restored highlights include the Chinoiserie-style Pavilion on the Rockery; sensory Children’s Garden complete with folly; The Cone House; the Camellia House; the Hornbeam Maze, complete with a Chinese Pagoda at its centre and The Aviary, which was part of the original menagerie in the Pleasure Grounds and to which the Keepers’ Cottages were restored last year. Another key feature is the Chinese Dairy, designed by Henry Holland in Chinoiserie style in 1787 for Francis, 5th Duke of Bedford and the only structure of its kind in the UK.
Trees native to China continue the theme from the dairy into the garden. Don’t miss The Long Borders: overflowing herbaceous beds which are ‘the fireworks of the garden’, constantly erupting as flowers bloom in succession during the year. Tastefully planted with flowers chosen by the Duchess of Bedford, the planting scheme changes colour from late-spring onwards. At this time of year masses of spring bulbs may be found throughout the garden, including drifts of daffodils, and masses of naturalised snake’s head fritillary. The eye-catching Erica parterre looks particularly stunning in late spring.
Summer brings the perennials flowering in the Long Borders. Foxtail lilies, Agapanthus, climbing and rambling roses, along with many other herbaceous plants, combine to put on a dazzling display. In late summer and into autumn the Bog Garden steals the show, along with fiery acers. The top end of the garden is home to the tree collection and includes a Pinetum and Quercetum. Various follies and an interesting collection of mature trees, along with blazing dogwoods and clumps of white birch, provide winter structure and interest.