HISTORIC gardens tucked away in north Enfield have been given the Royal seal of approval at their official re-opening.

Myddelton House Gardens have undergone major renovation work to revive some of tbeir unique features, which have been lost through years of neglect.

Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall paid a visit to the gardens, in Bulls Cross, on Thursday, May 5, for the official opening.

Myddelton House was the former home of Edward Augustus Bowles, a renowned horticulturalist who was well-known for his innovative approach to gardening.

His gardens were allowed to decay over several decades, and parts were in danger of being lost forever, before Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, backed by nearly £500,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, set about restoring the garden to its former glory.

The Duchess, no stranger to gardening herself, planted a peach tree in the newly revived Peach House, and potted some box cuttings in the potting shed as she toured the gardens and met with staff, local dignitaries, and members of the E A Bowles society, who were heavily involved in the restoration project.

Jack Frost, 89, lived close to the house as a boy, and was a regular visitor to help Mr Bowles with his work in the garden.

He said: “I had great respect for Mr Bowles, he was easy to get on with and taught us so much.

“It is fantastic what they have done here and I am so pleased to be back here today.”

Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles, the great-great nephew of E A Bowles and president of the E A Bowles, said: “He was the greatest gardener of the first half of the 20th Century and a man dedicated to Myddelton House Gardens."

The former husband of the Duchess added: “I think the restoration is wonderful. I used to come here as a boy and it has been pulled back to nearly how it was back in his day.”

The money has been spent over nearly two years, and those who work on the restoration project described it as a voyage of discovery, finding hidden gems the further they explored the gardens.

Some of the restored features include the potting shed which has replicas of Mr Bowles' unique tools, cold frames which help plants to grow, and the peach house which has been rebuilt after the original foundations were unearthed.

The gardens are now free to visit, and boast a new visitors' centre and cafe which were built as part of the restoration project.

Wesley Kerr, chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “This is one of the most fantastic gardens in London. It was covered up and almost lost but now it has been revealed again.

“This is one of the very best schemes for us to give money to, and visitors have gone from 300 a month to 300 a day.”

He hinted more money could be heading to Enfield from the fund in the future, including to help with proposals to link Myddelton House Gardens with Forty Hall, in Forty Hill, for visitors to walk between the two.