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A Hidden Gem

Japanese Acer - photo by Brian Thomson

Cheslyn Gardens comprises 3.5 acres in the northern suburbs of Watford. It was originally the garden of a private house owned by Mr and Mrs Colbeck who developed the gardens in the 1940s and 1950s with a range of unusual plants from various parts of the world.

Around the house and near the road are formal gardens with lawns, herbaceous borders, rockeries, a pond and an aviary. Behind this there is an area of semi-natural woodland underplanted with rhododendrons, azaleas and other shrubs. In the spring the woodland is full of flowers including bluebells. The pond and Wellingtonia - photo by Brian Thomson

The gardens were purchased in 1965 by Watford Council together with a strip of land from a neighbouring garden containing some remarkable tree specimens including a Wellingtonia and an Indian Bean Tree (Catalpa bignonioides).

It was a search for a Japanese plum yew, sometimes known as a cow's tail pine (Cephalotaxus harringtonia), that took Project volunteers Brian and Gill to the gardens. This species is quite rare in England and the tree proved hard to find. Fortuntely, Brian and Gill found the head gardener and with his help they eventually found it by the edge of the lawn, to the left of the pedestrian entrance.

Other specimen trees in the garden include a tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba), Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki) and several Japanese acers.


Cheslyn Gardens is on Nascot Wood Road

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