Tag Archives: Open Gardens

Secrets of the Swiss Garden…in Bedfordshire: How Shuttleworth’s garden is maturing a year on from £3.6million restoration.

Northamptonshire Gardens

All images copyright Hilary Scott unless stated Swiss Garden, Old Warden, Bedfordshire. All images copyright Hilary Scott unless stated

IT’S a curiosity, that’s for sure. A nine-acre landscaped garden based on a Regency fondness for all things Swiss.

Swiss Garden, between Bedford and Biggleswade, has a ferny grotto, thatched hideaways on handmade hills, a whole load of 150-year-old fake stonework and a meandering stream with precarious humped bridges.

But in recent history – on and off between the end of the Second World War and the recent £3.5million restoration – the Swiss Garden was neglected and all but forgotten, vandalised throughout the ’70s and ’80s and kept just-about intact, thanks to the cash-strapped local councils and determined volunteers.


With not so much as a hillock in the flat Bedfordshire landscape with which to create his mountain-style retreat, the wealthy Lord Robert Ongley started his European fantasy almost 200 years ago. He began by making some fake…

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Go and be nice to Phylip at Cottesbrooke

THERE’S a lovely garden at Cottesbrooke, just north of Northampton, which never seems open frequently enough for you to see the stirling efforts of the lovely head gardener Phylip Statner and his team.

However there’s a chance to go and raise some cash for charity when Cottesbrooke opens on Sunday 17th April from 2pm until 5:30pm for the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). 

Primroses and daffodils will be on display and they would normally have gone over when the gardens officially open in May.

The real treasure is the Wild Garden, which is full of bulbs and banks of primroses and offers a haven for wildlife in a tranquil setting. There are also more formal gardens and 3,000 tulip bulbs have been planted in the statue walk.  There are also a number of Magnolia trees in bloom and blossoming cherry trees, all doing rather well after the cold cold winter. 

 Gay Webster,  joint county organiser for the NGS said: “The Wild Garden is in a magical setting along the banks of a stream, where the massed primroses cheer the spirit after a long, hard winter.”   

Refreshments will be available and free parking is included in the admission price.  Visit www.cottesbrookehall.co.uk for more info.

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