Swiss Garden bridge web

The bridges prove a popular backdrop for wedding photos

I recently visited The Swiss Garden at The Shuttleworth Trust, Old Warden Aerodrome nr Biggleswade in Bedfordshire.  I had a lovely look round this garden with Garden Manager Corinne Price, and it’s magnificent.

The garden is coming up to 200 years, and is very interesting with meandering paths and surprises around every corner.  But it’s also quite unique and doesn’t look like your typical Regency garden because you’ve got rustic buildings dotted around.

Also unusual for a Regency garden is the Swiss landscape created by Lord Robert Henley Ongley in the 1830s.

The Fern House is beautiful and intriguing.  It’s an odd cruciform shape, with four extending arms.  Two of the arms are glazed with a lovely dome in the middle.  The other two arms have been changed quite significantly by Joseph Shuttleworth who bought the garden in 1872.  They have been lined with Pulmaite stalactitic sort of grotesque stone features all the way through which adds something quite dramatic to the building.

Water is a big feature throughout the garden.  Ongley’s ponds are still the original ones and make a lovely feature with two of the original wrought iron bridges with an elaborate design of swirls and twirls.  There’s also a Shuttleworth bridge over the pond cascade.  Stand in the right place and you get a lovely view of the bridges, something I’m told is popular with brides.

The good thing about the garden for visitors is access is good; the paths are extremely good for people with disabilities or parents with prams and pushchairs.  The woodland walk and sculpture trail are also completely accessible.

The Swiss Garden is open daily.  For more information visit

Enjoy your garden.



Alan claims watering by hand is the best way to ensure plants get the right amount of water

I recently visited the Old Vicarage in East Ruston, Norfolk to a garden created by Alan Gray.  When I last visited the hyacinths were out.

Summer was bursting out all over; even the car park was mowed neatly.  Greeting you in the entrance is large planted containers with mature fuchsias to the centres and flowering begonias and geraniums.

Close to the house the containers which adorn the terraces are all planted in a theme.  All this requires loads of watering as you can see from the photo.

Alan claims the best way to water is by hand which he does with a watering can – two gallons or four gallons depending on the tub size that way you know how much water each container is getting.  Not forgetting a good liquid feed weekly.

The Desert Wash looks like parts of Arizona and is a delight at present enjoying the odd spell of hot weather.  Everywhere you go in this garden is a vista for you to take in.

There’s nothing better than having a sit down after all that walking for some delicious cake and a cup of tea.

For more information visit

Enjoy your garden.


Ken and Earl Spencer

It is hard to believe that August marks 18 years since Diana, Princess of Wales died following a car crash in Paris.  A garden built in her memory at Capel Manor Gardens in Enfield has been redesigned by Richard Beales to create a scented rose garden.

On the eve of what would have been Princess Diana’s 54th birthday, The Diana Legacy Rose Garden was officially opened.  Richard told me it was an enormous privilege to be invited to design such a special garden.

The roses he picked add to the concept of legacy and moving on with varieties such as the climbing rose New Dawn, to Rosa Prosperity and William and Catherine.  The centre aisle is made of red and white varieties which were her favourites.

I particularly like the large obelisks’ which stand at nine feet high and will allow the climbing roses to develop and will look particularly fantastic when they are in full bloom.

When I spoke to Earl Spencer he was flattered that people still related to his sister and all the good work she achieved through her lifetime, and was he thrilled to see a new garden designed in her honour.

Whilst admitting to not being a gardener himself, his Canadian wife Karen Gordon has a keen interest.  When she joined the conversation, she admitted that between them they had nine children.  Part of her plans for the grounds at their home is to revamp the old walled garden, with a section dedicated to each child reflecting their individual personalities.  I think it’s an interesting approach to gardening.

For more information visit

Enjoy your garden