I last visited the gardens of Hatfield House when the late Dowager Marchioness, Mollie Wyndham-Quin, presided over them. She was an inspired gardener and a significant garden historian until her death, aged 94, in 2016. The West Garden, which looks good in spring, was past its best the other day, not just because of the late season but also, I thought, because of the loss of that guiding hand. The East Garden, which is not always open to the public, still has reminiscences (above) of the Stuart garden of Robert Cecil, though a photo of the garden taken in 1895 (below) shows that the modern parterre is softer, greener and less labour-intensive than it was a hundred years ago. I also liked the Dutch garden with its peaceful pond (bottom, right).