Forecourt borders at Cliveden

The hot-themed Forecourt border in the height of summer.

These rich and vibrant borders which run along the forecourt in front of the house flower from May through to early October, and they are full to bursting from July through to September.

These visitor favourites contain one hot border filled with tones of red, yellow and orange while the cool border contains tones of blues, white and purple. The displays are so full that you can spot something new each time you visit.

Seasonal highlights

  • April/May - tulips, crown imperials & euphorbias
  • May/June - alliums, honesty, geraniums, delphiniums  and wisteria
  • July/August on the hot border Salvias, yellow ox eye (Bupthalmum salicifolium), lupins, yarrow, day lillies, sneezeweed (Helenium), coneflower (Rudbeckia) and sunflowers
  • July/August on the cool border - clematis, persicaria, phlox, dahlias and catmint
  • Annual flowers throughout summer
  • September/October -  Stonecrop (Sedum), jerusalem artichokes and dahlias 

A rich modern history

It is not currently know when the forecourt borders first became part of the Cliveden landscape but it is likely to have been around the time of the first Lord Astor or even when Norah Lindsay was taken on in 1924. Norah Lindsay was a socialite and friend of the Astors. After her marriage fell apart in 1924 she embarked on a garden design career in order to keep her own home and garden running. The Astors took her on a retainer of £100 per year to oversee garden plant selections and planting. The borders aim was to provide colour through the high noon of summer at the front of the house.

The National Trust

Graham Stuart Thomas was an experienced and well known horticulturalist when he took on the National Trust Gardens Advisor position in the 1960s and 70s. He provided planting plans for the borders in 1968 detailing two distinct borders, one hot and one cool. We now use the same colour scheme introduced by Thomas as well as a lot of the plants used by Lindsay including delphiniums, lupins, salvias and phloxes.
The hot border was redeveloped in 2015 by the current team at Cliveden, which involved a lot of moving of plants, division and introduction of new plants along the same theme. The cool border, beneath the Clock Tower, will see a few changes in 2016 with the introduction of a few bolder colour choices which will really make their mark in 2017.