The gardens date back to at least 1592. The original conveyance, which we still have, lists meadows, orchards and gardens. This was Sir Henry Cholmeley’s tudor garden. The original enclosure still exists and the old kitchen garden walls probably date from this period.
In the nineteenth century the gardens were remodelled. The Yew hedges, now a great tunnel, were planted and the terracing extended. Eight gardeners worked full time. In the 1900’s President Franklin Roosevelt called it ‘ a dream of Nirvana…. almost too good to be true.’ The downwards slide towards the destruction of the house and the abandonment of the gardens started from WW1 onwards (see History for more information). By 2001, the gardens were impenetrable after 50 years of neglect. The full story is shown in our History Room.
Below are some images of the Gardens before gardening work started
In late 2001, we undertook 18 months of work to clear the site and are now able to look at an emerging garden full of flowers and we have started to restore the stone and iron work. Our visitors tell us that the combination of romantic corners of ‘lost’ garden and the energetic drive to put horticulture back into this ancient site is beguiling.
The revival of the garden will take another 20 years but the work is fascinating. We are re-establishing stonework, clearing the gardens of rabbit warrens and brushwood. Planting 10,000’s of bulbs, growing native flowers for the meadows, planting borders, shrubs and trees. Come and see the progress, you can see everything from compost heaps, bonfires and seed trays lined out to maintenance, new borders and planting
There are now two distinct parts to the garden. The main garden is full of snowdrops, meadow plantings, big borders, the Yew tunnel and wildflower terraces. This part of the garden is lovely to walk in and see the ongoing progress we are making. Next to the tearoom is part two! This is designed with visitors in mind. It is full of ideas for your garden and includes 70 different varieties of sweet peas. It houses our pickery (or cut flower garden), the cottage garden with its little potager, the vegetable garden, two glasshouses, and small plant collections. See the menu top left including Garden Tour for more information and images.