One of the reasons Churchill bought Chartwell was for the potential water feature he could create. The lower lake already existed when he bought the property but in 1924 a dam was built to create the upper lake. These were camouflaged by brush wood to reduce the risk of bombing raids during the wars. Thankfully they now offer majestic views and provide a home for lots of wildlife.
Our kitchen garden
Churchill himself built some of the walls to the kitchen garden at a rate of 90 bricks per hour. The garden produced fruit and vegetables for all his homes including 10 Downing Street. After a state of disrepair the kitchen garden was recreated in 2004 and now provides the Chartwell café with fresh produce.
There's a bounty of apples in the orchard this year thanks to the judicious pruning of our gardeners. The majority of these apples are 'cooking' varities, mostly 'Bramley's Seedling' and 'Newton Wonder'. Look out for our favourite apple 'Winston', so named because, like the great man himself, these apples can weather a storm.
Dahlias sometimes referred to as 'valley flowers' have been grown at Chartwell since the Churchills' day; several cultivars in the cut flower area have been grown here since the 1930s, while others descend from the 60s. Many of the cultivars are not available commercially, so we lift and store our tubers each autumn to preserve them for the next year.
The Japanese cedar
The Crypotomeria Japonica was planted in 1852 only 10 years after its introduction to the UK, and that was all thanks to John Campbell Colquhoun's connections with Kew Garden. When owned by the Churchill's this tree became a favourite one for climbing.
The golden rose walk
This was a gift from Churchill's children in 1958 for Winston and Clementine's Golden Wedding Anniversary in September. The sundial was added later and the inscription was suggested to Lady Churchill by travel writer and anthropologist Freya Stark.
The heated pool was built in the 1937 drought. It was filled at night after locals ran out of water.
Originally a tennis court for Lady Churchill, it became a croquet lawn in 1948 when the children matured.
What looks good in the garden?
- Watch out for autumn flowering bulbs like Nerines and Amaryllis
- See the great display of pumpkins and squashes in the walled garden
- Come and see how the apples are getting on in the orchard
- There's a new herb bed in the walled garden for all to see