As part of PLACE youngsters’ learning around this term’s theme of “Flowers”, we visited the quaint, quirky and very charming Swiss Garden. Families were given a tour by the garden staff that focused on the Garden’s beautiful floral displays and on the work that goes into their preparation and maintenance all year round.
Swiss Garden has been described as “the most complete surviving example of a Regency garden in Britain… an alpine wonder on the outskirts of Biggleswade”. Over recent years, the Garden has undergone an 18-month, £3.5 million restoration process funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund – there are 13 listed structures of delicate character on the site!
Swiss Garden was created by eccentric Lord Ongley, who built the estate village of Old Warden on a similar alpine theme; apparently he expected his workers to sport rustic red neckerchiefs as he came by in his carriage! Apart from wonderful landscaping and magnificent and ever-changing floral displays, highlights of the Garden include the principal thatched building, the Swiss Cottage, a Grotto and Fernery, a tiny chapel, a thatched “Indian kiosk”, a punt dock – and several little islands accessible via small bridges and adorned with urns. Oh – and there are the most beautiful peacocks too fearlessly wandering around!