Lady Churchill's Rose Garden at Chartwell

Pink roses grow in the bed of Lady Clementine's Rose Garden at Chartwell under blue skies with the house in the background

Located just past the Gavin Jones water feature and sitting beside the Golden Orfe ponds before you reach the house, you’ll find the Rose Garden, designed by Clementine herself. Surrounded by walls on two sides and the house on a third, the rose garden is a perfectly sheltered suntrap before opening into the terrace lawn and wider grounds.

History of the gardens

The rose garden was Clementine's pride and joy and became the part of the garden she loved the most. Winston had proposed to Clementine in the rose garden at Blenheim Palace and the rose garden here at Chartwell undoubtedly bought back fond memories for her.

The rose garden layout was designed by Philip Tilden, the Churchill’s architect for the mansion. Clementine's close friend and cousin Venetia Montagu, helped select the roses and created the traditional, formal English rose garden you can still see today.

During the Second World War the area went in to decline but was later restored and the garden brought back to life.

German prisoners of war undertook some of the work and helped re-face the walls in the rose garden. You can see a signed stone from one of the prisoners as proof on the northern wall.

One of the POWs, Albert Karwinsky, was Polish by extraction. He opted not to be repatriated to Germany with his colleagues and stayed on to work at Chartwell for many more years. Just a few years ago another signed stone was discovered outside the Marycot, commemorating his time at Chartwell.

Recreating the Garden

The National Trust have tried where possible to use roses similar to the ones Lady Churchill would have used like Rosa Ice Cream and Rosa Pink Parfait.

Divided by paths into four beds, the striking display is softened by a mass of perennials and shrubs in gentle colours.

Don’t miss the four wisteria trees that grow right in the middle where these four paths meet.

Wisteria filling the rose garden with fragrance
Wisteria growing in the rose garden at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent
Wisteria filling the rose garden with fragrance

In 2017, two hybrid tea rose varieties were replanted, the 'lovely lady' with classic pink blooms and the 'pascali' with a gorgeous creamy-white petal. In the late 1980s, the latter rose was voted the world's favourite - you'll have to visit to see what all the fuss was about.

Earlier this year we replanted one of the beds in Lady Churchills rose garden as part of our programme of returning the area back to its intended colour palette.  The variety you now see in this bed is Rosa ‘Ice Cream’.  These replaced a variety called Rosa ‘Royal William, a red cultivar that was not in keeping with the original design.  We have saved a number of the ‘Royal William’ plants and transferred them to the Cut Flower beds in the walled garden where we will use these for displays in the house throughout the summer.

Enjoy the sun trap that is Lady Churchill's Rose Garden surrounded by intense colours and fragrances in what is perhaps the most quintessentially English feature of the Chartwell garden.

Purple catmint and golden roses border the walk down the Golden Rose Avenue under blue skies

The Golden Rose Avenue at Chartwell

Running through the centre of the walled garden is one of the most romantic features of Chartwell - the Golden Rose Avenue.