The gardens at Deene Park like the house, have undergone many changes over the centuries, but have never looked better than they do today. The formal gardens on the south side of this beautiful historic house give way to a vista of parkland and lakes linked by a canal; at its narrowest junction the canal is spanned by a fine stone bridge reminiscent of pictures in fairy tale books. Interested visitors can find the information on the history and development of the gardens in the Summer House. Today the garden is managed by a team of two gardeners, headed up by Andrew Jones who has been caring for and developing the gardens since 2001, you can follow Andrew’s seasonal tips for a perfect garden in his regular Garden Blog.
The Garden in Spring
Spring is particularly stunning, with a collection of named snowdrops and acres of wild snowdrops that surround the formal gardens.
We have several acres of naturalised snowdrops, known botanically as Galanthus nivalis, their delicate pure white flowers nodding in the breeze, together with a multitude of named varieties with their unusually marked flowers
Later in the season the canal, north drive and woodland walk are carpeted with Daffodils heralding the advent of summer.
The Golden Garden
Formerly known as the Black Garden as the overhanging trees kept it in shade for most of the year, this rather forgotten place had been filled with struggling herbs. Charlotte Brudenell wished to open up this garden with vibrant colours that do not appear in the delicate and pretty long borders and with a particular emphasis on later flowering plants once these borders begin to fade.
Throughout the year, plants of varying shades of yellow, orange and red have emerged. Aconites in early Spring, followed daffodils, hyacinths, beautiful lemon and golden coloured irises. The wonderful pompoms of early flowering orange buddleia and now a profusion of later flowering plants such as strikingly red crocosmia and the very tall pale yellow verbascum olympicum have followed.
Plants have been carefully chosen to survive the soils and varying temperatures and to suit the osmosis of a local and changing garden.
The Rose Garden
When Charlotte Brudenell arrived at Deene she discovered that the topiary intended yew trees planted on the east side of the house were not happy. She thought that planting a rose garden would fulfil several criteria that she wanted. With a desire to make 21st century interpretation of an older garden, she then researched the layout of the 17th century chapel and adjoining small parterre alongside.
The first designs for a Rose Garden, with the help of Alice Atkinson, was to concentrate on taking the patterns from the 1597 ceiling of the Tapestry Room. The cross shape of the earlier garden was kept, but instead of herbs a profusion of roses were chosen.
The roses were all chosen from David Austen because of their strong scent and because of their names equated with various family and close friends such as Maid Marion for the late Marian Brudenell and Rosa Mundi, for Godmother Rosamund. The English roses in the centre are Sir John Betjeman, Sophie’s Perpetual and all the roses then radiate out from the centre from deep crimson to softer, paler ballerina pink. To the East and West are Olivia Rose Austin and the Alnwick Rose and to the North and South, Lady of Megginch, Gertrude Jekyll, Maid Marion and Queen Anne. In the four corners are Rose Mundi, a suitably Medieval cultivar with its striped petals.
The most striking feature of the gardens at Deene Park is the box hedge parterre designed by David Hicks and planted out in the early 1990’s. The planting consists of clipped lavender, perennials such as Geraniums, Salvias, Iris, Nepeta, and spring bulbs including Hyacinths & Tulips.
A quirky feature of the Parterre, and not in the original design, are four topiary teapots. Why teapots? Because tea was the late Edmund Brudenell’s favourite drink.
The White Garden
The white garden is a secluded spot dedicated to the memory of Robert Brudenell’s parents.
Verbascums, white from of the wild Corn Cockle and sterile white Willow Herb create quite a mix of textures and flower forms in the beds. The Philadelphus on the entrance to this area provides a scent, which carries beautifully on even the lightest of breezes, filling the air with delicate Jasmine Tea hues. The head of the Echinops add an almost alien look to the highest parts of the white garden borders, and the Scottish Thistle at the back corner stands tall and regal over the whole area.
The Long Borders
The red brick walls of the old kitchen gardens are the oldest feature of the gardens having been built in the early 18th century. Although no longer used to raise fruit and vegetables, its outer wall provides the backdrop for the long-mixed borders filled with scented Philadelphus, roses and other shrubs; masses of herbaceous plants and spring bulbs. The walls themselves are clothed with climbing roses to show them off beautifully.
The long borders are separated by a circular hedged garden dedicated to the four seasons statues contained within, the focal point in this garden is a large, central, stone urn planted with tender perennials for summer. At the far end of the long borders is the stone summerhouse built by the 7th Earl of Cardigan, who together with his wife Adeline, used the building to entertain their respective friends.
Every year, our Head Gardener Andrew hosts a very popular Garden Tour with Supper. This tour is ideal for anyone with a keen interest in gardening and garden history, it is especially ideal for gardening clubs and societies.