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Gardens of Easton Lodge prepares for its annual Apple and Bees Day on Sunday 17 September





The Gardens of Easton Lodge are looking glorious in September sunshine after refreshing rains in July and August, writes Jill Goldsmith.

So they are all set for the annual Apple and Bees Day on Sunday (September 17), when visitors will enjoy a wide range of apple, bee and honey-related activities plus music from Great Dunmow-based Take Note Concert Band.

It is a day to tickle the taste buds and take home goodies!

Apple and Bees Day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge
Apple and Bees Day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge
  • Apple juicing with volunteers from Cressing Temple – a sticky affair producing delicious fresh juice to sample and take home.
  • Apple identification with the East of England Apples and Orchards Project specialists – bring your apples and pears and get them properly identified.
  • Apple and honey cake tasting – who knew there were so many different cakes to make? Visitors will be inspired to get baking!
  • Show hive, honey and wax produce, courtesy of local beekeepers.
  • Jam and jelly tombola – to win jams and jellies made by Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust volunteers with fruit from the gardens: early-season fruits, such as blackcurrants and gooseberries, mid-season plums and mulberries, herb-flavoured apple jellies and lots of raspberry jam.
  • Cider from the trust’s unique Easton Countess apples will be on sale and trust volunteers will be selling fresh fruit and vegetables from the kitchen garden.
  • Local wood turner, plantsman and other crafts are on sale.

Take Note Concert Band will be playing two sets, at 1pm and 2.15pm, from a repertoire that includes classic big band numbers, Elgar’s Nimrod and music from films and musicals.

Take Note first got together five years ago and have been growing since, adding to their brass and sax sections and sometimes being joined by a harpist and double basses. It is their first visit to the gardens and many of their members are primed and ready.

Apple and Bees Day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge
Apple and Bees Day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge

Other fun for the family will include croquet and garden games on the lawn, apple- and bee-themed art and crafts for children and a fascinating trail in the Glade.

The trust’s archivists will have a display about the history of the walled kitchen garden and the fruit grown there, with fascinating stories about the Victorian and Edwardian gardeners, using a range of historic sources.

Visitors can enjoy hot and cold refreshments. The gardens will open at 11am and close at 5pm. Tickets are available at a discounted £5.50, in advance through the gardens’ website at https://www.eastonlodge.co.uk/ or can be purchased on the gate for £6.50. There is free entry for children under 16. Dogs on leads are welcome.

The Gardens of Easton Lodge, at Little Easton near Great Dunmow, are Historic England grade II registered.

Apple and Bees Day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge
Apple and Bees Day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge

Frances Evelyn “Daisy” Maynard inherited Easton Lodge in 1865 and became the Countess of Warwick when her husband inherited the Warwick title in 1893.

The Countess commissioned Harold Peto to redesign her gardens in 1902. Peto’s designs include the sunken Italian garden and its 100 ft long pool with water lilies, which has recently been restored; a treehouse which has been recreated; and a glade with Japanese rill and other features, which leads down to a fishing lake.

The Countess loved animals and at one time brought her pet baby elephant, Kim, to Easton Lodge from her other home, Warwick Castle. The trust has installed an elephant statue in the gardens to tell that story.

Apple and Bees Day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge
Apple and Bees Day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge

After the Countess’ death, her son, Maynard Greville, mostly did not live at Easton Lodge, but he was a tree enthusiast and is known to have planted trees in the gardens. In the 1950s the gardeners were laid off and the house and part of the gardens were sold. The rest became untended until restoration started in the 1980s.

The Gardens of Easton Lodge Preservation Trust and its volunteers work to maintain and restore the gardens and is adding to its tree collection, including some raised by Henry Girling, an arboriculturalist who worked alongside Maynard Greville.

Apple and Bees Day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge
Apple and Bees Day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge
Apple and Bees Day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge
Apple and Bees Day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge

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



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