The walled garden at Eythrope is opening its gates to the public, through a series of tours that start in May. These exclusive events will offer a glimpse into a garden that has, until now, been kept intensely private.
Described by Gregory Long, President Emeritus of The New York Botanical Garden, as ‘the perfect dream of a place’, the four-acre walled kitchen garden at Eythrope is a rare example of a large-scale working private garden in the 21st century. It is legendary in the garden world both for its gardening excellence, and as a haven for traditional techniques that might otherwise be lost.
Whilst many kitchen gardens were scaled down or abandoned after the two world wars, Eythrope has been lovingly restored to its original function. Created in the late 19th century by Miss Alice de Rothschild, a passionate and knowledgeable gardener who rebuilt Eythrope, it was redesigned by Lady Mary Keen in the 1990s. Eythrope now supplies produce and flowers to the Rothschild family, the Five Arrows Hotel, Waddesdon’s Manor Restaurant and the monthly Artisan Food Market.
Suzie Hanson, Head Gardener at Eythrope said: ‘These tours offer a rare chance to share the secrets and delights of this remarkable garden with fellow garden enthusiasts. We look forward to introducing them to the 44 varieties of apple and 13 varieties of tomato we grow, alongside the 4,193 plants we propagate each year.
Whether you’re a home gardener, a garden historian searching out old traditions or a professional hoping to learn new tricks, we’re confident that a visit to Eythrope will both intrigue and inspire.’
The gardens are looked after by a team of eight, who collectively boast an impressive 134 years of experience at Eythrope, with vegetable gardener Paul having dedicated the last 40 years of his career to this private garden. This might sound like gardening on a grand scale, but one of the delights of this particular example is that the detail of design and practise can be applied to any garden, no matter how small.
From the outset, Eythrope has stood for horticultural excellence, and by sharing knowledge that has been passed down from Miss Alice’s gardeners in the early 1900s, the tours will demonstrate how then as now, the gardeners have always striven for self-sufficiency – a key lesson in an increasingly environmentally conscious world.
Exclusive guided tours will be held on nine Wednesdays, between May and October. Each lasts approximately 90 minutes, and includes either a two-course lunch or afternoon tea, inspired by Eythrope’s produce, at Waddesdon’s Manor Restaurant. Tours can also be arranged for groups. Please call 01296 820414 or visit the website for more information.