Cliveden – the house and garden of Nancy Astor

While holidaying around Cambridge earlier in the year we stopped off on our travels to have a wander around the gardens at Cliveden, the one time home of Nancy Astor. She was an English MP even though American born. Her second marriage was to Waldorf Astor who inherited to a peerage and entered the House of Lords. Nancy was the first ever woman to be a member of the House of Commons, but also gained notoriety as a Nazi supporter.

Her garden turned out to be a garden planted in a style we do not actually like but definitely “of its time”. We are definitely not fans of formal gardens or bedding schemes and here we found both but viewed from an historic perspective they were interesting. Classical figures, topiary and “grand fountains” are also not my style but Jude the Undergardener, being more of a history buff doesn’t mind them.

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Interestingly close up the bedding proved to be of orange gazanias rather than the begonias or pelargoniums we expected.

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But bordering the bedding scheme central feature was a long mixed border, much more to my liking.

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Things were looking up soon however as we passed through an opening in the yew hedging and discovered a tree unknown to me in the woodland.

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Little areas of meadow lined the pathway down through the woodlands. Gnarled branches of old shrubs curled around on the grass near the paths.

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The old rose garden has been revamped recently with newer more disease resistant varieties, so inevitably most are from David Austin. The colours of the blooms have been chosen to represent sunrise and sunset.

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The buildings clustered in the centre of the grounds were rambling and sat beautifully within its setting. In particular it had interesting chimneys and towers which look good against the clear blue sky. Towers even featured in the walled garden.

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The walled garden, with its patterned brickwork, featured beautifully planted herbaceous borders around a highly manicured lawn. The plants were mainly recent cultivars and chosen for their richness of colour.

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From the courtyard as we leaned on its stone ballustrade we could see the Italianate parterre placed within more manicured lawns. They seemed to sit rather awkwardly there.

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We finished our Cliveden wanderings in the Water Gardens where formal fountains and oriental buildings sit among informal pools and soft planting.

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About greenbenchramblings

A retired primary school head teacher, I now spend much of my time gardening in our quarter acre plot in rural Shropshire south of Shrewsbury. I share my garden with Jude my wife a newly retired teacher , eight assorted chickens and a plethora of wildlife. Jude does all the heavy work as I have a damaged spine and right leg. We also garden on an allotment nearby. We are interested in all things related to gardens, green issues and wildlife.
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One Response to Cliveden – the house and garden of Nancy Astor

  1. I cannot tell a like, I do love to look at formal gardens. I am always amazed at the person who creates them originally and the team that maintains them. Thanks for the tour. 🙂

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