The Sunken Garden by the side of the House is being transformed from an unkempt wilderness to a place of order and beauty once again.
The formal garden – developed more than 100 years ago during the Victorian era – has become a focal point for the work of volunteers on the Estate.
By 2008, the Sunken Garden had become somewhat overgrown again. Lady Ela had a team of gardeners doing regular maintenance, we have to make do with a volunteer group, meeting twice a month which does work all over the estate. Following a summer of planning, decision making and sheer hard work, the beds have been tidied; some cleared completely, others weeded and pruned so that replanting can produce a symmetrical formal garden. The four conifers at the corners look like skeletal dwarves just now, but next year will green up to make manageable columns. The roses in the central beds have been retained, and the urn from the top of the steps replaced on a new concrete plinth to form a visual focus. Three Rivers has helped enormously, removing the fallen conifer from beside the steps and lending a fork-lift to place the urn in position. We are indebted to Ken Smith, garden designer, of 159 Bois Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1SS (email@example.com) for advice on suitable plants. We look forward to next year and the settling in of new plants and shrubs. Do go and see it now, and then again as it regains its former glory.
In March 2009, volunteers planted more shrubs and transplanted snowdrops from the beds into the south-facing bank of the garden, and in future years there should be a beautiful springtime display.
In the summer of 2010 volunteers re-laid the gravel footpaths and re-seeded areas of grass that had become thin. This involved a lot of work, shovelling the gravel around the path and regular watering of the seeded areas through the dry weather. Working parties continue to maintain this area. You can read more about this in the News section, but it’s best to go and see the excellent results in person!
Though close to the House, the Sunken Garden itself remains part of the public area of the Estate and visitors can see a side of the grounds that is very different to the wildness of the woods or the expanse of the fields.