Churchill’s Garden at Chartwell

While I wait for spring to arrive, I’ve been spending some time looking at my photos from my trip to English gardens in 2002 (or thereabouts, my mind is like Swiss cheese these days). One of the gardens/historic sites we visited was Churchill’s home in Chartwell (in Kent). I remember thinking at the time this destination was announced that it couldn’t be a serious garden – unless his wife had been a devoted gardener. While I have only a few images from that day, they do bring back memories of stunning vistas from the terraces behind the house and delightful surprises, both anecdotal and visual.

Chartwell Garden, Winston Churchill

Valerian and red clematis on a stone arch on one of Chartwell's upper terraces.

According to what seems to be the official Churchill website, Winston Churchill bought Chartwell in 1924 for its impressive views. Over the next 15 years, he spent considerable amounts of money on both the house and garden. There is a walled garden, generously planted in the cottage style, whose brick walls he apparently helped build himself.

Chartwell Garden, Winston Churchill

Exuberant cottage-style plantings in a section of Chartwell's gardens.

One of the most famous parts of the garden is the Golden Rose Walk, a gift from Churchill’s children to him and his wife Clementine on the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary in 1958.

Chartwell Garden, Golden Rose Walk, Winston Churchill

A view from above of the Golden Rose Walk in June.

According to the website, there are over 1000 rose bushes at Chartwell. Lady Churchill loved having cut flowers in the house, and we saw plenty of roses, as well as other flowers, in the arrangements inside the house – as well as out in the gardens.

In 1945, the expense of maintaining Chartwell was troubling Churchill. A group of wealthy friends arranged to purchase the property and donate it to the National Trust (which maintains it today), with the stipulation that he be allowed to live in it at a nominal rent until his death. In 1966, one year after his death, Chartwell opened to the public and remains open to visitors today. Visit it if you can.

Explore posts in the same categories: photography, Travel

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