The Golden Rose Avenue at Chartwell
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 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.
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.