Originally this was the Beale’s rose garden. Rose beds radiated from the centre where there was a sundial – the original metal centre of which has recently been discovered in our stable yard. Along the back there were wooden pergolas, roses were trained up these and along the ropes between the supports. This was a rose garden into the 1930’s but then sometime between then and the 1970’s when the National Trust took over it disappeared. Subsequently three bamboo plants were put in. They were of a very rampant variety which ultimately spread to cover 4 acres extending over the majority of this area and into the field.
In 2003 volunteers started work on clearing the garden of the bamboo. Several discoveries were made. The remains of a sandstone wall which has now been rebuilt (this is the retaining wall for the bed that runs alongside the path around the Croquet Lawn) and also the pond. Originally water would have flowed through the pond and over the cascade. Since its creation however it has had problems holding water – Mrs Beale recorded in her garden diary attempts to make it water tight, and we’re having the same problem these days. Several layers have been revealed of stone walling and concrete lining showing the different attempts.
Part of the restoration of this area will include repairs to the pond lining and cascade and installation of a pump to pump the water over the cascade. Electricity has been run to this part of the garden as part of phase 1 of the project. The major task for this area is to reinstate the rose garden – the beds and the pergolas and trelliswork. Mrs Beale had a quest to try and find and successfully grow a china pink rose that would produce quality blooms for cutting to arrange in the house. We will see if we can be successful in achieving this with more modern disease resistant varieties.
This area of the garden was a favourite place for the Beale’s grandchildren to swim. Phyllis Wager, who has recently passed away, visited the garden at 99 years of age and was particularly pleased to see that we had rediscovered it as it held a lot of fond memories for her.