Marie Louise Gardens is a lovely 4.75-acre green space in the South Manchester suburb Didsbury, initially opened in 1903. Josephine Silkenstady gave the space to the citizens of Manchester as a gift in memory of her daughter. When Marie Louise died at the age of 26, her heartbroken mother bought the piece of land for the gardens. She commissioned Joshua Cartwright to design the lodge and gardens, and to start with there were 72 different species of tree planted there.
After the gardens were officially opened, Silkenstady entrusted the upkeep of the space to Withington Urban District Council. In recent years the Friends of Marie Louise Garden voluntary group was established to help with the preservation and care-taking of the gardens. So if you fancy taking up some gardening to help take care of this peaceful space, don’t hesitate to sign up.
Nowadays the park is somewhat of a local hidden gem, tucked away from the busy main roads. Many local residents don’t know about it until they happen to stumble across the entrance. But once found, the flowering trees and calm feel make it a lovely place to relax, walk the dog, read a book or whatever you fancy. Luckily for me, my dad has been going there for years to use it as a space for practising his Tai Chi. So it’s become our local go-to park.