18. Buckinghamshire – Thursday 3 September


Eythrope, Waddesdon
The Lord Rothschild

While the widowed Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild was building Waddesdon, his sister, Miss Alice, decided in 1875 to build a house on the estate for her own use and where she could escape the grandeur of Waddesdon. By 1890 a park and garden of 60 acres had been laid out. This  all but vanished after her death in 1922. In 1991 Mary Keen was asked to design a new garden, Sue Dickinson was appointed Head Gardener to oversee and manage the garden. Today the four-acre walled garden at Eythrope is not only a productive garden, supplying vegetables, fruit and flowers for the Rothschild family and Waddesdon’s restaurants, but also, in true 19th century style, an ornamental garden with herbaceous borders peaking at the end of the summer. A working walled garden on this scale is now almost unheard of and Eythrope has long been a byword for the excellence of its gardening, its remarkable array of glasshouses and a haven for traditional techniques.

Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury
The Rothschild Foundation and the National Trust

Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild acquired the Waddesdon Estate in 1874 and commissioned the French architect, Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur, to build a house in the French Renaissance style to house his collection and where he could entertain his friends. The top of the hill was levelled and the formal gardens and the drives were designed by Elie Lainé, who was responsible for the slightly later restoration of the gardens at Vaux-le-Vicomte. The garden now, immaculately maintained, is still, inside the curtain of trees, many planted as mature specimens by Baron Ferdinand, intensely formal. Baron Ferdinand planted 41,000 bedding plants, with four changes a year, and Waddesdon is one of the rare places where this practice continues, perhaps on a slightly reduced scale.