Skip to content

The garden at Hughenden

Orange tulips in a garden border at Hughenden, Buckinghamshire
Tulips in the garden at Hughenden, Buckinghamshire | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

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.

Spring flowers start early at Hughenden, with naturalised snowdrops and primroses dotted around the North Lawn and Pleasure Grounds. The whites and yellows of daffodils and tulips begin the spring display backed by the elegant mauve cascades of the wisteria in late spring along with Choisya ternata and its lovely fragrant white flowers. There are occasional spring flowering shrubs and trees such as forsythia, lilacs, mimosa and the Judas trees to catch the eye whilst wandering around the gardens.

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

Spring Bedding on the Parterre

This year's bedding scheme at Hughenden Manor draws inspiration from Greek legends embodied by two iconic spring bulbs.

Hyacinthus, whose beauty captivated Apollo but met a tragic end, is honored with Hyacinth 'Blue Sapphire' and Bellis 'Bellissima Red' representing the blood that flower Hyacinth grew out of.

In another corner, the tale of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection, is depicted with Narcissus 'Rijnve Early Sensation' outlining the leaves of a four-leaf clover, with Carex 'Evercolor Everest' and Narcissus 'Rapture' and a leaf infill of the old daffo variety Narcissus 'Carlton' and Myosotis "Bon Amie Blue' providing the detail.

These plantings not only celebrate ancient myths but also incorporate evergreen perennials, adapting to winter wildlife damage. With bursts of color and symbolism, the bedding scheme invites visitors to experience the enchantment of nature's myths and marvels.

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.

Daffodils in the Walled Garden at Hughenden, Buckinghamshire
Daffodils in the Walled Garden at Hughenden, Buckinghamshire | © 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.

You might also be interested in

View of the house from the parkland at Hughenden, Buckinghamshire

The history of Hughenden 

Find out more about the history that surrounds this estate, from early Domesday records to becoming the home of Queen Victoria’s favourite Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli.

North front of Hughenden Manor in winter

The house at Hughenden 

Visit the house at Hughenden and discover its many stories, from being a famous prime minister’s home to a top-secret war base

Bluebells in a wood with a view of Echo Valley beyond, at Hughenden, Buckinghamshire

The estate at Hughenden 

Explore the parkland on one of four colour-coded walks, with its carefully designed views, rare chalk stream and medieval church.

Fresh scones in a baking tray

Eating and shopping at Hughenden 

Enjoy light snacks, hot meals and drinks in the café, then have a browse in the shop or pick up a bargain in the second-hand bookshop.

Visitor walking dogs at Haresfield Beacon and Standish Wood, Gloucestershire

Visiting Hughenden with your dog 

Hughenden is a two pawprint rated place. Discover where your dog can join you while you enjoy your visit, including the garden, parkland walks, woods and Stableyard Café.

A carpet of white snowdrops in the foreground with tall trees framing a view of a small, round folly set in woodland

Gardens and parks 

From 18th-century water gardens and Arts and Crafts landscapes to intimate woodland gardens, there are so many places to discover.

Volunteers busy in the garden at Allan Bank and Grasmere, Cumbria

Gardening tips 

Discover our gardeners’ top tips so you can make the most of your garden, plot or window box.

Snow on the ground and plants peeking through the snow in the walled garden at Hughenden

Gardens in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire 

Gardens from the grand scale of Stowe's landscape garden to formal parterres at Hughenden and Cliveden and the intimate walled garden 'rooms' at Greys Court.