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The Gardener is My Friend

The English naturalist Charles Waterton (1782-1865) was a garden-lover. He was himself also a gardener, famous for installing bird houses on his own property.

Walton Hall Gardens

Waterton ‘s nineteenth century house, now called Walton Hall Gardens, near Wakefield, Yorkshire was designed in the Elizabethan style by Edmund Sharpe and is now used as a heritage centre. [below]

Walton Hall Gardens

With its extensive grounds, it is no surprise that today the garden has become a public park. The retaining wall, balustrades and steps between the lawns are listed as Grade II, as is the lodge to the hall. Walton Hall Gardens displays a  gardenesque style of planting specimen trees, rhododendrons, and azaleas.

Today Walton Hall Gardens attracts an estimated 500,000 visitors per year.

They include local visitors and dog walkers, families visiting for a day, horticultural enthusiasts (some seasonal), and welcomes those wishing to exercise in fresh air, quietness, and beautiful surroundings.

Visitors including both casual and organised groups are drawn to the children’s zoo , crazy golf and other outdoor games.

Respect for the Gardener

Waterton had great respect for the gardener. He once wrote, “The gardener is my friend.”

I first heard about Waterton in the book English Garden Eccentrics: Three Hundred Years of Extraordinary groves, Borrowings, Mountains, and Menageries by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan. He writes in the book, “Eccentric gardening comes to be interpreted as a form of biography.” The garden tells the world of who you are.

But that is true for all gardening, isn’t it?

We learn a great deal about the gardener from his/her garden.

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