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Learn about Gardens of Easton Lodge links to the Labour party at open day on Sunday May 21





Visitors will enjoy a riot of colour and get a fascinating history lesson at the Gardens of Easton Lodge on Sunday May 21.

The Historic England grade II registered gardens at Little Easton, near Great Dunmow, will be sporting lush spring foliage and flowers at its open day.

And, 100 years on, there will be a chance to learn about former owner the Countess of Warwick’s attempt to gift the gardens to the Labour party.

Known as Daisy, the countess - who was the Prince of Wales’ lover in the 1890s before he acceded to the throne as Edward VII - became a socialist and stood as Labour’s candidate for Warwick and Leamington in the General Election of December 1923.

She was defeated by the Conservative candidate, and future Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, who was her son’s brother-in-law.

The countess tried to get the Labour party to accept the gift of the house as a continuing venue for weekend gatherings, conferences and residential study. When this offer was turned down she offered it to the Trades Union Congress for use as a college, but this offer was also rejected.

The Countess of Warwick, right, at Easton Lodge with Margaret Bondfield, who became the first woman to chair the TUC in 1923
The Countess of Warwick, right, at Easton Lodge with Margaret Bondfield, who became the first woman to chair the TUC in 1923

The open day will also give visitors the opportunity to marvel at the gardens’ spring splendour. In May the leaves are fresh on the trees, the laburnums should be dripping with their vibrant yellow flowers and the handkerchief tree may still have its flowers wafting in the breeze.

The tulips will be giving way to irises and alliums while roses will be coming out and it is also a time to enjoy the wild spirit of the gardens with the elephant statue in a sea of cow parsley.

And visitors will be able to search for the last of the bluebells and cowslips as well as the first of the wild orchids.

The open day will also feature musicians Karen and Tony performing a range of folk and other popular songs while there will be a children’s trail and craft activities.

The Italian garden at The Gardens of Easton Lodge
The Italian garden at The Gardens of Easton Lodge

There will also be plant, craft and other local information stalls while the trust’s volunteers will be providing refreshments, including hot and cold drinks, bacon, cheese and hummus rolls and a selection of homemade cakes. Dogs on leads are welcome.

The gardens open at 11am, last entry is at 4pm and the gardens close at 5pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.eastonlodge.co.uk and at www.Trybooking.com.



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