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The magnificent parks and gardens owned by English Heritage are far less well-known than its evocative medieval abbeys or Victorian mansions. Yet these remarkable places offer a wide-ranging variety of gardening pleasures. Some have stunning designs, while others are important for their history or their plants. A surprising number are brand new and a few of the best are tiny. All have marvellously atmospheric surroundings. From the formality of Wrest Park and Chiswick House to the rolling parkland slopes around Kenwood House; from Queen Victoria's garden at Osborne, complete with charming vegetable plots for the royal children, to the exotic Quarry Garden at Belsay Hall and the modern restraint of the Contemporary Heritage Scheme, here are gardens from every corner of England and almost every century. These essays tell the story of how each was created and of the sometimes eccentric families who owned them. The decay their trees, fountains and statues so often fell into is described - and the way they have been restored and survive to delight us today.