Clinton Lodge

Sue Marsh reports on our visit to Clinton Lodge in June.

The view from Clinton Lodge

Clinton Lodge dates back to the seventeenth century and the garden, designed by Lady Collum, has all the witty elegance of its age.  Stretching from the terrace to the haha, the great lawn, its boundary of trees, canopies pruned into squares, is juxtaposed with the line of the house so that the golden section is created and far in the distance, a column several metres high seems to sit on a group of trees with rounded canopies so that, as Lady Collum says, it is always supported on a “cushion of green”.  And this mathematical magic continues in the first of the garden rooms where a series of square ponds, each bounded by box, carry the eye to a Roman bath at the end of the cavalcade.  Behind this bath a space has been cut in the hedge and the column, once so seemingly distant, now appears in the middle of this space, so close now you feel you could touch it!

There are vistas: charming seats placed at one end so that one or two people can sit and contemplate distance, time and love.  In all the lovely garden rooms there are hidden seats, always for two, always for secret conversations laced with wit and charm.

In the herb garden paths of camomile have been laid, the swimming pool is bounded by apple trees and the double borders elsewhere overflow with colour.

The William Pye water feature in the rose garden

The rose garden is a delight and the peony walk pure heaven. And hidden away is an elegant little pavilion where Lady Collum gave dinner parties where guests would be asked to be of good humour, wear dinner jackets, long dresses and jewels. This enchanting building is dedicated to Columella, reckoned to be the first horticulturist, a Roman who encouraged his countrymen to grow flowers as well as wheat. There is a shorter column at the end of the walk to the pavilion – could this be the one seen from the cavalcade of ponds?  It is all a delicious mystery!