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Gardening for the Public

Lady Salisbury is one of England’s most admired gardening ladies. This weekend she hosts an annual Festival of Gardening in the grounds of her family’s historic home, Hatfield House. Here she tells George Plumptre about the challenges of looking after one of England’s most historic gardens.

George:
Have you always enjoyed gardening?

Lady Salisbury:
Yes, ever since my earliest childhood when wild flowers were one of my special loves

George:
What is your favourite part of the garden at Hatfield?

Lady Salisbury:
I haven’t really got a favourite part because I love it all, tho’ if I’m working on some exciting new planting or design for a certain area that is always my favourite of the moment

George:
Was it daunting to take over a great historic garden?

Lady Salisbury:
Yes, very, especially as there was so much that we wanted to change. My constant worry was would I get it right, because how dreadfully it would matter if I didn’t. But it was a challenge and I love challenges

George:
What is the one thing in the garden you would like to change?

Lady Salisbury:
I would like to redesign the north front. It is the main entrance to the house, but after being altered during the 19th century is very bleak and unsympathetic to the older Jacobean house.

George:
What is the best thing about having your garden open to the public?

Lady Salisbury:
It is nice and rewarding to know that so many people enjoy what has been created

George:
What is the worst thing about having your garden open to the public?

Lady Salisbury:
The loss of peace and the loss of plants!


George:
What is the main idea of the Festival of Gardening?

Lady Salisbury:
To promote horticulture with an emphasis on organic gardening and on Jacobean gardens.

George: What is the one thing you have done in the garden that you are most proud of?

Lady Salisbury:
Possibly to have made it in harmony with the house

George: What is your favourite activity in the garden?

Lady Salisbury:
Weeding and working in the woodland garden

George: If you could have any garden in the world which one would it be?

Lady Salisbury:
I don’t think I have seen enough of the world to say, but from the gardens I know Courances in France for its wonderful design, water, and atmosphere of tranquillity.


Articles reprinted with premission from Greenfingers.com



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