The Golden Rose Avenue at Chartwell

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

A walk to the farthest reaches of the garden, past the house and through the orchard or along the Butterfly Walk and behind the Croquet Lawn is well worth it for the Golden Rose Avenue that awaits you.

Golden Roses for a Golden Anniversary

It dates from 1958, the year of Winston and Clementine's golden wedding anniversary. Their children had the idea of giving them a collection of golden-coloured standard roses to mark the occasion.

The original planting had 28 different species of roses within the borders, with the pathways all leading to a central opening containing seating and a Victorian sundial pride of place in the middle.

See if you can spot the insciption on the plinth reading 'Here lies the Bali Dove'. In 1936, Clementine visited Bali and brought a Bali dove back with her, a pinky-beige bird with coral-coloured beak and feet which lived on at Chartwell as a beloved pet for many years.

A walk down the avenue is full of colour, sounds and fragrance, with nepeta (catmint) adorning the borders and garden birds making the hedges their home.

Golden roses on the Golden Rose Avenue at Chartwell under blue skies. Pathway heading up on the right side

The Churchills and their roses

The Churchills’ love of nature and beauty is no more evident than in the constant presence of roses in their lives together. Discover how these beautiful English flowers are woven throughout Winston and Clementine's relationship as well as their family home.

Golden Rose Book

As the border was not completed until after their actual anniversary, the children also commissioned the golden rose book which you can now see in the house. This contained paintings by artists of the time of all the different rose varieties soon to be found in the garden.

The book is an incredible gift, bound in vellum with an inscription of ‘The Golden Rose Avenue at Chartwell’ on the exterior. It also contains two engravings, the work and gift of Monsieur André Dunoyer de Segonzac who was a French painter and graphic artist, and a bookmark gifted by the Garter King of Arms.

A painting from the Golden Rose Book ©Mary J Kirnig
A painting from the Golden Rose Book
A painting from the Golden Rose Book ©Mary J Kirnig

Within the book, there is an illuminated plan of the Golden Rose Walk with each page dedicated to a large painting of each of the roses, all done by a different artist – so it is also a wonderful myriad of styles.

You can now find the book in the Dining Room on your house visit.

A Vintage Quality

In the years since 1958, many of the original golden roses died away and were subsequently replaced by modern varieties.

In 2015, our gardeners decided it was time to go back to the original design and begun the task of taking out the modern roses and replacing them with the vintage varieties detailed in the Churchill's album of paintings.

When it came to replacing them, however, as it was now nearly 60 years on from the 1958 design, many of the roses from the time had gone out of cultivation. Comparable cultivars that fit within the 1950s time period were chosen instead to match the same beauty and impact these roses would have had on the Churchills’ as they do today. Three original varieties depicted in the Golden Rose Book can still be seen: Peace, All Gold and Masquerade.

The classic variety of the Masquerade rose is not to be missed. Blooming in a sensational yellow hue, the petals turn pink to red as the flower ages over summer.

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

Lady Churchill's Rose Garden at Chartwell

Discover the quintessentially English feature of the Chartwell gardens, Lady Churchill's Rose Garden, an area of peace and quiet no matter the season.