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Woodwind of Stortford to play at the Gardens of Easton Lodge


By Paul Winspear


Woodwind of Stortford will entertain visitors to the Japanese Day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge's next open day this weekend.

The enthusiastic group of local musicians, led by Mary Stock, was established more than 25 years ago to bring live music to the community and now play at charitable events and village fetes as well as for schools and care homes.

They play anything from music hall and the odd classical piece to film and pop, and have a repertoire to suit all occasions, including old English songs, American jazz, Latino, South African… they might even find one or two fitting pieces for the Japanese Day.

The Gardens of Easton Lodge, at Little Easton, near Great Dunmow, are celebrating their Japanese heritage at their open day on Sunday (August 18).

Harold Peto’s 1902 garden transformation included Japanese features – such as a tea-house by the fishing lake, a rill and ponds, and stone lanterns – as well as the sunken Italian garden, which is familiar to many visitors.

Peto helped to introduce Japanese gardening in Britain, with the craze really taking off after the first ever Japanese joint exhibition with a European country in White City in 1910. His designs drew from his extensive travels, and garden design historian Robin Whalley will be at the gardens to share his extensive research and insights into Peto’s life and work.

The Gardens of Easton Lodge, which are English Heritage grade II listed, are the largest example of his work in the East of England.

Daisy, the Countess of Warwick, regularly and lavishly entertained guests including Edward, Prince of Wales at Warwick House in the early 20th century. She commissioned Peto in 1902, and his garden designs were enjoyed by literary and cultural figures of the day, and leaders and members of the Labour Party and TUC.

Open day visitors will see the progress the trust’s hard-working volunteers are making in re-establishing more Japanese garden features to replace Peto’s designs, which were largely lost when the gardens were untended.

There will be displays of bonsai trees and other Japanese gardens, and a themed children’s trail and craft activities.

Daisy’s café will be supplying its usual range of hot and cold drinks, bacon and cheese rolls and home-made cakes. Vegetables from the walled garden will be on sale as well as plants and crafts.

The Gardens of Easton Lodge are open from 11.30 am to 5pm on Sunday 18 August, with last entry at 4pm. Entrance fee is £4.50 for adults; children under 16 get in free.

* Further information is available on the gardens website www.eastonlodge.co.uk. To enquire about volunteering, hosting a talk about the gardens or arranging a private group tour, email enquiries@eastonlodge.co.uk or call 01371 876979 and leave a message.

* Woodwind of Stortford welcome new players of any woodwind instrument. They rehearse weekly, on Tuesdays at 8pm, and perform throughout the year. For details of venues for practices or any other information, call Mary Stock on 01279 656141 or email valda1946@hotmail.com.



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