Saturday, 5 October 2013

Ascott House

After a busy week working in the big smoke, I felt an overwhelming urge to get out of town, to stretch my legs and ventilate my prefrontal cortex and I knew just the place to go. With barely enough time to pack a cucumber sandwich we were on the road heading towards Buckinghamshire, to visit Ascott House and Gardens.

( Click Images to Super Enlarge!) 
In 1873 Baron Mayer de Rothschild bought the ninety acres of land at Ascott near Wing. At it's core lies the heart of a half timbered Jacobean farmhouse said to date from 1606.
A year after its purchase, nephew Leopold de Rothschild took over the house using it as his hunting lodge before subsequently transforming and enlarging it into a substantial Edwardian country residence.

The extensive gardens surrounding Ascott House are a luxurious emerald cocktail of formal and natural styles. Long herbaceous borders, water lily ponds, topiary avenues and sunken gardens radiate from the terraced lawns that look across the Chilterns.
This is a garden that was created in the name of love. Leopold de Rothschild was apparently a bit of an old romantic and had the gardens laid out in 1902 by the esteemed Chelsea nurseryman Sir Harry Veitch as a wedding present to his wife, in celebration of their devotion.
The motto surrounding the topiary sundial echoes the whispers of their affection with the words " Light and shade by turn, but love always" inscribed forever in golden Yew.
Halfway down the herbaceous borders of the Madeira walk you discover the first of the Ascott fountains by sculptor Thomas Waldo Story, who also designed the Fountain of Love at Cliveden.

The dramatic Bravura Venus depicts the bronze goddess of love, born of the seas, riding on the back of a turtle within a Siena marble shell. The shell is drawn by Triton and two incredible winged sea horses. It's nothing short of a fabulous piece of garden bling if I ever saw one!

Thomas Waldo Story's elegant Cupid Fountain can be found in the magnificent Dutch garden with its immaculate Victorian beds, where the son of Venus rises gracefully into the early Autumn skies.

It brings a whole new literal meaning to putting love into a garden.
Are you feeling the love?
Wing, Nr Leighton Buzzard


  1. I FEEL THE LOVE!!!!!!!

    Oh Sir Paul, I enjoy your blog so much. From the way you write (and I'm pressing you to one day make a video so we can at least HEAR that fabulous accent of yours) and the way to take us on your tours, I can tell you too enjoy NATURE as I do. There is nothing more peaceful for me to go out into a garden come rain, shine or even snow, to listen to what I believe we were meant to do....give honor to life.

    Thank you for this "ventilation of [my] prefontal cortex!" Anita

  2. " Light and shade by turn, but love always" inscribed forever in golden Yew - what a beautiful way to express one's love; and to give a garden as a wedding-present makes one look twice at such an imaginative man. Wonderful, gorgeous garden - thank you for presenting it, Paul!

  3. I'm feeling lots of love. This Estate has lots of love for sure. So beautiful and grand. The fountains are gorgeous especially the Venus Fountain. Thank you for sharing this wonderful visit with us. Have a fantastic weekend! Pamela :)

  4. My goodness! Those manicured hedges/shrubs are a work of art! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Wow! A realy great garden (and house). I love the yew cuttings and the view in the field.


  6. It is quite a few years since I visited Ascott - we pass by it regularly on our journeys from west to east. After seeing your post it has rekindled my interest to revisit - the love in the garden is tangible.
    Did you go in the house? I like its domestic scale, and the wonderful collection of paintings along with the many Chinese ceramics.

  7. It is so beautiful there. I really like the neatly clipped hedges and the sundial. The house is amazing. Such a beautiful property and I thank you for sharing your visit there.

  8. If I already wasn't already feeling neglectful of my garden you show us this!

    Love and a full crew of gardeners, that's what i want!

    xo J

  9. Wow, this is quite the dramatic garden. But what's the big smoke?

  10. Stunning photos, Magical One!! The gardens are so dramatic, tidy and handsome! Great bones. What is the espaliered plant with the large foliage on the brick wall (with the lattice on top)?

  11. Paul- you will never run out of beautiful gardens to visit!! This place must be huge!! The pictures are so lovely- I don't think I've ever seen a place so lush and green!!

    You've taken us to such beautiful gardens this summer--- I'd love to see them in winter's coat as well:)


  12. Paul, You with the cucumber sandwich! You know how to start my virtual visit to these fabulous spots. I'm crazy for half-timbered homes. How gorgeous this was and so old. I especially adore the gardens with the islands of flowers among grass. That statue's pretty marvelous too. Always quality time spent here. Love it. xKim

  13. What a wonderful garden and unbelievably romantic gesture. Now on my wishlist of places to visit.

  14. I think this might be where Mr. PV would like to love...or rather live...or both!

  15. What an amazing garden. I love all the lime greens against steal grey colours. The topiary is amazing. Not quite a last minute bunch of droopy chrysanthemums from the garage that many a poor woman has been subjected to. I've been busy moving up to Scotland and have started a new blog, pop by if you have time x