Storyteller’s animal tales add to the magic of Easton Lodge Gardens


Music and storytelling will add to the magic of Easton Lodge Gardens when they open to visitors on Sunday, May 23.

The Countess of Warwick, who commissioned Harold Peto to redesign the grounds of her home in Essex where she died in 1938, also lived at Warwick Castle where she had a menagerie.

A storyteller will entertain young people in the gardens with stories about the famous socialite’s exotic pets and how she insisted on a treehouse for her guests.

Easton Lodge Gardens (47100523)

The Countess, Daisy Greville, brought her colorful life to her gardens, entertaining there regularly and lavishly. They included the Prince of Wales – who took her as his mistress – before ascending to the throne as Edward VII and of the Labor Party and leaders and members of the labor movement.

A spokeswoman for the charity that is rebuilding the gardens said: “The Countess loved animals. She had a mini-zoo in her other home, Warwick Castle; became a dog breeder; and loved birds, enjoying the wild birds all around and with aviaries dotted around the gardens too.

“But it is her baby elephant, Kim, and her monkeys that are perhaps the most memorable. We will have a storyteller in the gardens to weave the tales for our youngest visitors and the animals in the Countess’ menagerie will also feature. in the children’s journey. “

The countess with her dogs (47100553)
The countess with her dogs (47100553)

The gardens reopened under Covid-19 restrictions for the first time last month and the spokesperson said: “It was a beautiful sunny day for the April Open House. Visitors enjoyed meeting friends and the family and see the last daffodils and the first tulips.

“They bought honey, plants and plant media and spoke to trust historians.

“On May 23, the trust will once again ensure that visitors can relax in the gardens, with the number of tickets on sale capped and social distancing provisions in place.

“May is often the month when gardens are at their best – with the trees in their fresh leaves, the cow’s parsley fluttering in the breeze, the last apple blossom and the first lily pad. Butterflies, damselflies and, if you’re lucky, hummingbirds hawkmoths can be seen fluttering around.

Easton Lodge Gardens (47100532)
Easton Lodge Gardens (47100532)

“This May the Italian garden will also be particularly spectacular, as the restoration of the balustrade around the lilypond is expected to be completed a few days before the open day.”

Peto’s designs for the Countess include the Italian sunken garden and its 100-foot-long pool with lily pads; a tree house; and a clearing with Japanese gullies and other features, which leads to a fishing lake.

The gardens of Warwick House, which are also open on open house days with the permission of the owners, include a cobbled courtyard designed by Peto and a Peto-style pavilion, which was restored in 1995.

Sunday’s program includes performances by folk duo Karen and Tony. Essex Wildlife, the Woodland Trust and a local wood turner will also be on site and there will be a range of stalls selling jams, honey and herbs.

Hot rolls of bacon, cheese or hummus will also be on sale along with a wide selection of homemade cakes,

The gardens are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 23, with the last entry at 4 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance and cost £ 5.50 for adults. Admission is free for children under 16.


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