Reinstating the Rose Garden at Cliveden

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Did you know the Secret Garden at Cliveden was once a fragrant and colourful rose garden? The roses were replaced with a perennial planting scheme over 11 years ago and now our team are working on a project to bring it back to life. 

The many layered garden

The more recently named ‘Secret Garden’ was once a formal grassed area known as a ‘cabinet’. It was created for Lord Orkney in the 1720s as part of a ‘wilderness’ garden design, which was popular in the 18th century. It was often used for lawn games such as bowling and tennis until a symmetrical rose garden was planted sometime around the post-war period.

Design changes

In 1959 the third Viscount Lord Astor wanted to change the design of the garden and commissioned Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe to do just that. He created a dynamic yet secretive rose garden that provided the Astor family with a place to retreat away from their busy public lives. Unfortunately, the garden has since suffered from ‘rose disease’ and the flower beds were replaced with herbaceous planting in 2002.

The future Rose Garden

The project focuses on reinstating the abstract design and atmosphere of the 1950s Rose Garden but will also include features of the original 18th-century wilderness landscape. We’re lovingly restoring the Jellicoe arches and introducing a steel edge to the flower beds to help hold their abstract shapes. We will also be reducing the width of the outer shrub border to make way for lawns and a circular yew hedge which will run around the perimeter of the garden.

Having fun with colour

The planting design is based on Lord Astor's original aspirations to create a garden that absorbs its visitors, through the introduction of tall roses in the outer beds and shorter roses on the inside. Over 700 roses will be planted using a fun colour scheme of reds, oranges and yellows with not a single white or pink rose in sight.

If all goes to plan, the new Rose Garden will be open early 2014. Why not pop along and see how we're getting on?