Friday saw us at Cliveden in Buckinghamshire on our way to a weekend away. The current house was built in 1851, the third on the site set high above the River Thames at Taplow.
According to Wiki “The site has been home to an earl, three countesses, two dukes, a Prince of Wales and the Viscounts Astor. As home of Nancy Astor, the house was the meeting place of the Cliveden set of the 1920s and 1930s — a group of political intellectuals. Later, during the 1960s, it became the setting for key events of the notorious Profumo Affair. During the 1970s, it was occupied by Stanford University of California, which used it as an overseas campus.”
The house is now owned by the National Trust but it is leased as a five star hotel and so, unlike many NT properties, not open to the public.
I’ve been to Cliveden before, but not for years, and never with a dog, so our priority this time was a long walk in some of the 375 acres which extend down to the Thames.
Having exhausted Nimbus (some hope) we settled him in the car in the shade and went for a quick canter through the garden areas not accessible to dogs.
Firstly the border to the left of the forecourt lawn. This was a lovely planting of hot colours – no red, but dark browny purples offset with plenty of orange and yellow.
Moving round to the front of the house the view is of the immaculately kept parterre. This isn’t my kind of garden, but it does look stunning on such a fabulous scale like this.
Close up, I don’t really like the ‘park planting’ but it does make an impressive statement. However I do love the ‘forgotten’ rake. I’m glad I’m not the only one!
Round behind the house is a newly restored rose garden. I found this rather disappointing, not that the roses weren’t in wonderful condition, they were, but the whole design of the planting seemed rather arbitrary.
I’ve since read that the Jellicoe design is supposed to mirror the rising and setting of the sun. According to head gardener Andrew Mudge ‘The colour should sweep across the garden from the soft yellows of the early morning sun in the eastern beds to the bright oranges of the midday heat before finishing on the western side of the garden with the deep reds of the sunset.‘ I suppose it does make more sense now I’ve read that, but it didn’t really work for me in practice.
I did, however, fall in love with two fabulous roses – Rosa Fellowship
and Rosa Lady Emma Hamilton. Just gorgeous.
To finish, a quick peak at the Long Garden. Again not exactly my thing (and I was a little disappointed there was no planting in the beds), but some wonderful topiary to admire.