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.
We all thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Deene Park today. Please thank your guides for making our tour around the many rooms and the information they shared with us so interesting. The cups of tea and choice of cake gave us the energy to walk round and explore the magnificent gardens and admire the long borders and topiary. We were fortunate to have fine weather and the butterflies, bees and dragonflies were a bonus.
Oundle Historical Society
Wow!! What a great day we had. Deene Park was a little hidden gem. What a history it had and on behalf of all my group I would like you to pass on our thanks to our two guides, Ruth (my group) and David. They made the house come alive and had so much knowledge. Please also pass on our thanks to the chef, the food was excellent and the waitresses who were so pleasant and efficient. All in all it was a wonderful day and I will have no hesitation in recommending Deene Park as a great place to visit.
Thank you very much for all your organisation. The arrangements worked well. The volunteer guides are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, in fact everyone was most welcoming. Please pass on to all the staff our grateful thanks for all their help and effort in making our day such an interesting and pleasant experience.
Cambridge District Pensioners’ Club18th June 2019
Our guide was Andrew the Head Gardener who is to be congratulated for his depth of knowledge about the origins of the gardens. He had studied the original records of the early days of the Brudenell/Cardigan family and produced a very interesting talk and tour. His passion and vision for the garden is refreshing and has produced a wonderful collection of “Cottage Garden” plants that flourish through the seasons with the encouragement of Mrs Brudenell. The Estate now has a lovely wooden framed shop selling plants and memorabilia pertaining to Deene Park. I’d love some of his Cottage Garden seeds! Very enjoyable couple of hours and the sun shone which is a bonus. Highly recommend.
I visited today 29th June as part of the Boughton House group. Absolutely bowled over by this lovely warm house, its antecedents and history. Above all it felt like a home. Very privileged to be shown the Church especially by Charlotte Brudenell. I can’t praise the family enough for managing the complex preservation issues, but most of all for preserving this magical place for us all. Special thanks for making time for us, your pride in your ancestors is well founded.
Boughton Monuments Guides
Our members were so pleased with all the arrangements made for our club visit on Wednesday they have asked me to thank you, the staff and volunteers for making the visit such a pleasure.
Peterborough Probus 743rd July 2019
I pass on our great thanks from all the folks who came from St. Michael’s and St. Mary’s, Woodkirk for a really wonderful visit. The weather was very kind so we were able to enjoy the lovely gardens and both guides were very informative and friendly and everybody enjoyed their lunch and endless pieces of cake. The house look superb and the extra displays covering 500 years of the Brudenells life at Deene Park were really informative and helpful. For my wife Angela and myself it brought back memories of visiting Deene Park literally ten years ago to the day to be interviewed by Edmund and Marian for the post here at East Ardsley – happy memories and also of the butler at the time who I understand has also died. Please do pass on our thanks to the team and all who helped make our visit very special.
Glenn CogginsVicar at St. Michael’s East Ardsley
Thanks once again for arranging our visit and house tour – your guide was excellent and we all found the tour most interesting. The gardens were lovely, only marred by the wet weather, but I am sure many of us will want to see them again when the sun is shining. Please also thank the catering staff for the welcome refreshments and lunch.
Buckingham U3A Architecture Group25th June 2019
I would like to thank you for a fabulous visit on Wednesday. Everyone loved it and said there was a lovely atmosphere. The guide who took my group around was fantastic. Not only was he very knowledgeable, but he put it over very clearly and in an interesting manner, we were sorry we had to stop for lunch! The food was delicious and the ladies were friendly and helpful. All in all a perfect day.
Maureen StruttLetchworth Arts & Leisure Group
Just to say a very big thank you to you for your patience and help, given that we were almost an hour late for our tour. We all thought the house and grounds were absolutely delightful and the historical talk you gave was pleasant, amusing and enjoyable. Thank you so much, once again, we all felt very privileged to have been able to not only visit Deene Park, but have had the exclusivity of a private viewing.
Offley Car Club10th May 2018
Despite the weather we had a wonderful day with you all and everything worked out so well – the welcome was so warm and your staff in the kitchen were spot on! Presentation of food was excellent and I felt the prices were most acceptable! Wendy, the guide was quite wonderful and I hope she realised how much we enjoyed the tour – everybody paid full attention. We were lucky enough to have a window of dry after lunch and were able to get around the grounds and also bought plants! We even had a “Gardener’s Question Time” with the Head Gardener, who was patient and knew everything we asked! All in all despite the weather we had a really good day. Thank you again.
JanetWednesday 18th May 2016
On behalf of the Fuchsia friendship travel club, I should like to thank you and all your team for the wonderful reception we received and care and attention during our visit. The ladies doing the food were so friendly and caring going out of their way to satisfy our needs! The tour guides in the house had a wealth of information, sometimes too much to take in, there was so much history to absorb about the family. Even the gardeners were giving us tips on growing their plants. Thank you for making our visit so enjoyable.
Barbara Barker19th June 2018
Thank you so much for all your help in arranging Ed and Jenny’s wedding at Deene Park. It was a long time ago when we came to Deene Park and despite the rain we knew straight away that this was the right place for us. The House and Gardens were wonderful and we were very impressed by you, Tina and you completely lived up to our first impressions. You have been an absolute rock throughout for Ed and Jenny and we really appreciate everything you have done. Saturday was one of the happiest days of our lives.
Sarah Mellor5th June 2018