Clinton Lodge Gardens

The early house is Caroline. A fashionable addition on the garden side was added by the 1st Earl of Sheffield who gave the house to his daughter, Louisa, on the occasion of her marriage to Sir Henry Clinton (later one of two generals who served under Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo) at the end of the 18th c.

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Clinton Lodge Gardens

The simple lawn and parkland beyond the ha-ha reflect the 18th c. fa├žade of the house. The lawn is planted with a double row of horn-beams trained into formal box shapes 20 feet high to accentuate the proportions of the house. The longer grass on either side has been planted with snowdrops.

Beyond the ha-ha, the land has been landscaped by Julian Treyer-Evans. A path leads through trees to a column on a distant hill. Christened rather grandly the Deer Park, in the winter it offers hordes of deer lush grazing amongst 200 native trees, planted in 1996. In summer the cattle graze peacefully.

To the north a series of formal enclosed gardens lead off the yew walk. Like a rambling old country house with its intricacies and irregularities, these inter-linking enclosures and walks have gradually evolved, making a garden echoing English garden history.

Clinton Lodge Gardens

The visitor should start by looking at the Double Herbaceous Borders. These echo the style of the late Victorian gardens, when many hitherto unknown plants were introduced from North America, China and Japan.

The colours were inspired by the sight of sheets of larkspur and monkshood seen while on a canoeing expedition in the Rocky Mountains. Delphiniums, phlox and monkshood and drifts of iris, crambe cordifolia and arums are set rhythmically between yew and box. The colours are restricted to blue, white and occasionally pale yellow, changing with the season.

Clinton Lodge Gardens

Terminating the herbaceous walk is the stone figure of a muse set in a brick arch which is smothered each year in white Clematis (alba luxurians). At right angles to the herbaceous borders is the Cloister Walk (inspired by a Pre-Raphaelite painting).

The arcades are wreathed in white roses (Rambling Rector, Dundee Rambler and Longiscuspis) and later with the purple-leafed vine (Vitis vinifera purpurea) and purple clematis (C. viticella purpurea plena elegans). Beneath them are borders filled with Regale lilies, white astrantia, geraniums and hostas.

Clinton Lodge Gardens

Beyond, glimpsed through the arcades, lies the Wild Garden, in the spring a sea of pheasants eye narcissi and fritillaria. Later a bejewelled flowery carpet of white marguerites, cuckoo flower and other native flowers which the Pre-Raphaelites so admired.

Clinton Lodge Gardens

You are drawn down the cloister walk to a small gate leading to the park and the Mespilus Garden. A reflective place with clipped hornbeam and standard medlars. The steps on the left will lead to the Herb Garden, divided into four squares by intersecting paths with a fountain basin in the centre. Knots of 17th c. design fill the spaces at the corners and sweet briar roses grow at the back of the narrow beds.

Roses grown here include Rosa gallica versicolour (Fair Rosamund). Every plant in this part of the garden is aromatic, including meadowsweet, Indian physic, sweet cicely, lovage, lavender, hyssop, lemon balm and garlic chives. Features include turf seats in Mediaeval style, a "cut out view" of the park through the beech hedge and pleached lime walks (which were favoured in 17th c. gardens). The paths of camomile are designed to release their fragrance at the touch of a foot, or in earlier centuries, the hem of a long dress. A gargoyle, partly hidden by the ornamental vine, brings the sound of water.

Clinton Lodge Gardens

Having circled the herb garden, turn left to the Potager. The design follows the plan of a church, the wide path of the nave leading through the centre of a series of beds laid out as in a Mediaeval garden. Arches covered in cordon apples frame views of massed flowers for cutting for the house, mingled with vegetables. Tunnels of matacuna sweet peas, Painted Lady runner beans and vines, give height to generous blocks of pale campanula, orlya, ammi stocks, larkspur, and antirrhinum, while delicisou hemerocalis flava and courgettes and spinach maintain the potager concept.

Return to the Pear Walk, underplanted with spring bulbs, alliums and later scented crimson species of lilies. At the far end the iron gate leads to a short woodland walk newly planted with hawthorns and laburnum mariesii.

Clinton Lodge Gardens

The way back to the formal gardens is along the young fastigiated hornbeam walk, through the Wild Flowers, noticing the chimneys of the house through the arches, but before reaching the herbaceous borders turn left into the Pye Garden. As you walk through the new arbour, which will be covered in white roses you will see the water feature by William Pye. The sound of the water mingles with the scent of the roses, all known in the 18th and 19th centuries, trained to nose height and with romantic names such as Chapeau de Napoleon, Empress Josephine, and Compte de Chambord, all grown tall enough for you to bury your nose in the glorious blooms.

Clinton Lodge Gardens

As you pass through the tranquillity of the mulberry garden turn right to look down the Cistern Garden where fountains lead through yew hedges to a 17th century Italian marble cistern. The yew is gradually recovering from the dreaded Phytophthora fungus which developed aftet the floods of 2000.

Clinton Lodge Gardens

In early June, pass along the peony walk, all pink and white scented varieties and turn right into the Pool Garden. An arcade of apples circles the pool and in late summer pollarded pawlonia and tall hydrangeas and cleomie give a jungle effect.

Clinton Lodge Gardens

On the way back to the vinery, where tea and home baked cakes await, stroll through the Shady Glade of white scented philadelphus and paniculata hydrangeas beneath the lime trees, and the small apple orchard underplanted with massed crinums, flowering in August.

We hope you enjoy your visit.