The Gardens of Easton Lodge are celebrating their Japanese garden heritage at their Open Day on Sunday 18 August.

Harold Peto’s 1902 garden transformation included Japanese features as well as the sunken Italian Garden, which is familiar to the Garden’s regular visitors. There were a tea-house by the fishing lake; a rill and ponds; and stone lanterns. Peto helped 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. Peto’s designs drew from his extensive travels and Robin Whalley, garden design historian, will be at the Gardens to share his extensive research and insights into Peto’s life and work.

Open Day visitors will see the progress the Trust’s hard working volunteers are making in re-establishing more Japanese garden features into the Gardens, to replace Peto’s designs which were largely lost when the Gardens were untended. There will also 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 & cold drinks, bacon & cheese rolls and excellent homemade cakes. Vegetables from the walled garden will be on sale as well as plants and crafts.

Woodwind of Stortford, led by Mary Stock, will entertain visitors, playing a fun range of music: from music halls, films, pop and even the odd piece of classical music. They have a repertoire to suit all occasions and they might even find one or two with Japanese connections for the Japanese Day at the Gardens!

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

Background information

The Gardens of Easton Lodge, at Little Easton near Great Dunmow, are English Heritage Grade II listed. They are the largest example of Harold Peto’s work in the East of England. Daisy, the Countess of Warwick, entertained guests at her house and Gardens regularly and lavishly, including Edward, Prince of Wales. 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 TUC and Labour Party.

Peto’s 1902 designs included a sunken Italian garden, dressed in ham stone, including a 100 foot long pool with water lilies; a glade with Japanese rill and other features, which leads down to a viewing platform looking out onto a fishing lake. A treehouse has been reconstructed to Peto’s design and commands views down his lime walk. The gardens of Warwick House, which are also open on public open days due to the kind permission of their owners, include a cobbled courtyard designed by Peto and a pavilion in Peto’s style, which was restored in 1995.

Woodwind of Stortford welcome new players of any woodwind instrument. They rehearse weekly, at 8pm on Tuesdays and perform throughout the year. For details of venues for practices or any other information, please contact Mary Stock on 01279 656141. Or by email:

Further information is available on the Gardens’ website: To enquire about volunteering, hosting a talk about the gardens or arranging a private group tour email or call 01371 876979 and leave a message.