Autumn in Bowood's Private Walled Garden
Final guided tour for 2019: Wednesday 9th October
Angled around the particular season, the series of guided tours of the Private Walled Garden at Wiltshire’s Bowood House & Gardens heads into October with its autumn displays making statements all of their own, from the flower borders to the kitchen garden’s yields.
Entered through a ‘secret’ door and located behind Bowood House, the Private Walled Garden of the 9th Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne is open to the public on selected midweek dates from spring-autumn. Comprising four distinct, one-acre squares it features formal borders, a picking garden, glass houses and a working kitchen garden packed with fruit and vegetables.
Head Gardener David Glass emphasises that while the series of Private Walled Garden tours may be reaching its 2019 conclusion there is still plenty for visitors to enjoy on the 9th October tour. “The borders are holding up particularly well at this time of year since we purposefully planted the likes of dahlias, hydrangeas, asters and autumn crocuses for late season flowering. They can be spotted not just inside the Walled Garden but within the House’s East Border ahead of the tour heading into the Walled Garden itself.
“Once inside, along the pathway linking the garden to the House, the Long border is planted mainly with shrubs. Head up the path from the House - into the square with the chicken coops in the central lawn - and around the corner you will find the south-facing, brightly-coloured North Border. We often refer to this as the ‘hot border’ since the sun heats and bounces off the wall right behind it. Turn left again and, on either side of this pathway, the double ‘Bowood Chintz’ borders each measure 50 metres in length. A delicate colour scheme of whites, creams, lime greens and other shades of greens and foliage was sported during the summer months, thanks to five key plantings. Of these the Sambucus Sutherland Gold, Patrinia Scabiosifolia and Hydrange Paniculata Tardiva continue to show alongside the under-planted Ascleplas Incarnata; Tanacetum Astantia Majour, Echinacea Green Jewel and Scabiosa Miss Willmott for a more autumnal palette.
“In the kitchen garden square, a lot of apples have started to drop while the likes of brassicas, potatoes, parsnips, carrots and other root vegetables are now much in evidence.
“Grapes are currently gathering again on the Walled Garden’s vine. For many generations, the ‘Muscat of Alexandria’ grape has been associated with Bowood. With the Lansdowne and Devonshire families connected by marriage, a cutting of the vine was given to Chatsworth several generations ago. When Bowood’s vine then withered during the 1950s, a cutting was sent back from Chatsworth to help restore it and it has since thrived.”
Having started out on the Italianate Terraces that front Bowood House, the 60-minute guided tour of the Walled Garden also takes in the nearby parts of Capability Brown’s Grade 1-listed, 2000-acre parkland surrounding it. Heading into the arboretum adds a particular magic to the autumn Walled Garden tours as the seasonal maroons, crimsons, scarlets, oranges, yellows and golds spread out across the landscape. There’s been tree planting on the Estate almost continuously for 300 years since Brown’s day, with over one million trees planted in the past four decades alone. Home to 23 ‘champion’ trees - the largest or tallest of their kind recorded in Britain and Ireland - Bowood’s arboretum is among the finest in the country.
Bowood’s guided Walled Garden tours:
Wednesday 9th October from 11am.
£35per person (incl. two-course lunch in the Stables Restaurant).
Tickets to be booked in advance.
Alternatively, private groups (15+ visitors) can plan a midweek visit of their own.