A HISTORIC garden is set to open its doors again for the first time this year.

The Forgotten Gardens of Easton Lodge, near Dunmow, will welcome back visitors at an open day on April 18.

Visitors will be able to enjoy a stroll around the gardens and climb up into the treehouse

The Grade II registered gardens were one of the most important creations of Edwardian designer Harold Peto, and were commissioned in 1902 by owner the Countess of Warwick, also known as Daisy.

The countess lavishly entertained guests there regularly, including the Prince of Wales, who took her as his 'Darling Daisy' mistress before he acceded to the throne as Edward VII.

The gardens fell into disrepair after being used by the US Army Air Force and RAF in the Second World War, and are now being restored by a preservation trust and its band of volunteers.

They have built a reconstruction of Peto’s treehouse in an old oak tree in the lime wood.

Peto also created an Italian garden centred around a large lily pond, and there is an old croquet lawn, historic walled kitchen garden, Japanese-style garden and a wide variety of specimen trees.

The gardens of Warwick House – the remains of the Easton Lodge mansion – are also open to visitors.

A spokesman said: "The gardens should be looking lush after all the winter rains.

"There will be the next wave of spring flowers – cowslips, bluebells and tulips – following on from the last of the daffodils, primroses and violets.

"The first roses should be in flower in the Italian garden, surrounded by the fresh greens of euphorbia and other burgeoning herbaceous plants.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

"In the walled kitchen garden there will be blossom on the fruit trees, with bumble bees and honey bees busying themselves collecting pollen, and maybe some early butterflies."

Visitors can also see the progress being made by stonemasons who are restoring the balustrade around the lily pond.

The spokesman added: "Although the really wet winter and the covid restrictions have limited what we have been able to do over winter, visitors will be able to spot some changes at the gardens.

"We have been planting more apple trees in the kitchen garden, with support from the East of England Apples and Orchards Project, as well as adding a few new specimen trees in the Glade, and we have been working on the paths."

Volunteers will be joined by beekeepers and Essex Wildlife Trust at the open day, so visitors can learn about the history of the gardens and their wildlife.

The gardens are open from 11am to 5pm on Sunday, April 18. Tickets are £5.50 and must be bought in advance at eastonlodge.co.uk, at the gardens' Facebook page or through Trybooking.com. Entry for children is free and dogs on a lead are welcome.