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The garden at Hughenden

The garden at Hughenden, Buckinghamshire. Hughenden was the home of the Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
The garden at Hughenden, Buckinghamshire | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Discover the many faces of the garden, with its show-stopping parterre framed by the surrounding estate. From an ultra-formal Italian-influenced geometric garden to a productive traditional walled garden, it’s easy to see how it was enjoyed over the centuries.

Soak up the colour of the bedding scheme and South Terrace borders with the distant scent of the Rose Garden whilst relaxing in one of the summer deckchairs on the lawn. Listen out for the hum of bees enjoying the flowers in the south terrace borders and birdsong as you wander through the gardens.

Escape the summer heat in the cool shade of the Pleasure Grounds and enjoy the calming views into the wider landscape.

Each year, the orchard grassland is left to grow, encouraging more wildflowers to become established and flower in celebration of National Meadows Day in early July. Mown paths and picnic circles provide visitors with an opportunity to enjoy this traditional orchard setting before the hay cut in July.

The entrance to the garden

Benjamin Disraeli’s unusual choice for the entrance to his country house reflects his personality. Usually given over to floral beds or fountains, the formal entrance at Hughenden features 10 striking specimen conifers including a Colorado blue spruce and a rare Cypriot cedar. Sitting on a perfect lawn the tall evergreen trees give glimpsed views of the red-brick mansion behind.

The formal garden

The south-facing formal garden at the rear of the house is Italianate in style, with terraces, classical statuary and a formal parterre filled with annual bedding plants and displays of bold colours, set against a backdrop of box hedging and shaped yew trees. Late season flowers in the borders such as asters, dahlias and salvias as well as the pollinator inspired summer bedding scheme on the parterre.

The parterre in spring with Hughenden Manor in the background, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire
The parterre in spring at Hughenden, Buckinghamshire | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Summer Bedding on the Parterre

Experience the vibrant hues of summer until late October as the parterre at Hughenden Gardens showcases a stunning display inspired by the timeless tale of Hero and Leander. Reflecting the colors of the flame that once guided their love across the Hellespont, our garden features a palette ranging from fiery red oranges to cool blues and hot whites. Immerse yourself in the beauty of carefully selected verbenas, salvias, cannas, dahlias, and penstemons, creating a picturesque scene that captivates the essence of romance and nature's splendor.

Pleasure grounds

The formal garden gives way to the pleasure grounds, which were established in the 18th century to enjoy the wider views across the parkland.

Created in the ‘wilderness gardening’ style fashionable at the time, it remains a managed natural space with a mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees including yew, lime, sweet chestnut and sycamore, underplanted with flowering shrubs and early spring bulbs adding colour and scent through the year.

The Disraelis shared a love of nature and a passion for trees and spent hours enjoying the gardens, strolling through the pleasure grounds to enjoy its vistas over the Chiltern Hills and the season’s changing views.

Walk around to the east side of the gardens and here you'll see the landscape window created by Mary Anne Disraeli. The tall straight trunks of the Atlas cedar trees either side, with the ha-ha below, act as a natural picture frame for the view of the parkland and across the valley to the hills beyond.

Colourful garden beds edged with purple lavender lead the eye to a brick and stone bothy
The Walled Garden at Hughenden, Buckinghamshire | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Walled garden

Based on planting from the Victorian period, the walled garden features fruit trees, vegetable plots and herbaceous flower borders. There are three active vegetable beds with one resting bed to allow for crop rotation.

The south-facing aspect of Hughenden’s walled garden means less hardy plants thrive here. Set on a gentle slope, the angle is a unique feature of the garden. Even in cooler seasons the heat rises up the slope creating a warmer climate and a ‘frost gate’ in the bottom corner allows the cold air to escape.

This aspect, and the shelter of the brick walls, creates the perfect microclimate for soft fruit to grow successfully. Trained against the sunniest walls are morello cherry, apricot and fig, and in a sheltered corner a quince, an old traditional English damson plum and the Aylesbury prune are thriving.

Productive and pleasing

The walled garden was vital to support the efficient running of the house. Growing a range of produce, with companion planting to supply the manor with flowers through the summer, it has been a productive space for most of its 200-year history.

Blossom on the trees in the Orchard at Hughenden
The Orchard in spring at Hughenden Manor, Buckinghamshire | © David Sellman

The Orchard

A small cherry orchard features seven different trees, and the more extensive apple orchard includes 47 varieties of old English apples along with pear trees and medlar.

In the Walled Garden and orchard, the apple, pear and cherry trees will be blossoming from April to May.

View of the house from the parkland at Hughenden, Buckinghamshire

Discover more at Hughenden

Find out when Hughenden is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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