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Secret Garden Visits 2021: Emma Keswick’s Garden at Rockcliffe House, Gloucestershire

Spend an idyllic day exploring the eight acre garden at Rockcliffe House created by Emma Keswick. This fundraising event has been arranged to support the appeal to save the Garden Museum from the impact of the coronavirus.

Rockcliffe is a large traditional English garden of 8 acres created, but still being improved, over the last 40 years.  It has a walled kitchen garden, greenhouses, many roses, herbaceous, rooms, an orchard with topiary doves leading through it and up to a stone dovecot. A recent addition is the ‘Sorbarium’ full of interesting trees which flower in the spring or have good autumn colour. There are bulbs at their feet throughout the year and 12 ‘bonfires’ of Cerise Bouquet roses interspersed for summer colour.

Though traditional English Garden features abound, as explained by Victoria Summerly, “the gardens of Rockcliffe House do not pay slavish homage to tradition and nostalgia”. Its flowing herbaceous borders, roses, imaginative topiary, rills and pools have been enhanced by a discerning owner’s hand; giving it its idyllic feel that seems so effortless. Two long formal ponds flank the croquet lawn, beneath rows of pleached limes, and behind this, a series of garden rooms, each with its own colour theme in pink, white or blue, surrounds the tennis court and swimming pool.

Rockcliffe Garden has been featured in a number of books, including Tania Compton’s The Private Gardens of England.

Guests will be invited to bring a picnic lunch and wander round the gardens at their leisure. A full address for the garden will be provided to the buyer, along with the contact details of the garden owner so you can arrange parking and timings.

We are very grateful to Simon and Emma Keswick, a Trustee of the Garden Museum, for opening up their garden as part of our Secret Garden Visits fundraiser.

Image: Clive Nichols