Sometimes I think, I garden on a “grand scale.” It didn’t take long to put me in my place. Last night, Lord Jacob Rothschild and Lady Mary Keen spoke about using 50,000 plants for a bedding out scheme at the Rothschild home, Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire. Lady Mary Keen quoted an article in NYReview of Books ” The Rothschilds like to do things well, but they prefer to do things really well.” And ‘really well’ and really traditional, characterize the gardens at Waddesdon Manor and Eythrope, the private house of Lord Rothschild.
Mary Keen thanked Lord Rothschild for sharing his knowledge, his skill and the beauty of Waddesdon and Eythrope. I would like to share the following photos (from the slide show last night) as a small glimpse into a world of gardening, which might inspire us, but which few of us aspire to.
Lady Mary Keen and Lord Jacob Rothschild have recently published Paradise and Plenty, a book about the gardens at Waddesdon Manor and Eythrope. As Lady Mary said, “We didn’t want to do a vanity book. We wanted to do a book with how-to information as well as wow sections.” Lady Mary and Lord Rothschild did wow me. Not necessarily with the immensity and grandeur of the garden, but with the matter of fact nature of their talk and their honesty about the difficulties of maintaining such a large property.
I have been to many historic gardens and loved them. Sissinghurst immediately comes to mind. The gardens of Waddesdon Manor and Eythrope struck me like historical artifiacts. One can not help admire the skill, the determination and of course, the resources that are needed to keep these two properties going, but they seemed fixed in the past. Lord Rothschild has refused to stay in the past. He has created two new contemporary buildings and several contemporary sculptures.
“Since flint is little used as a building material today, a battery of knowledgeable craftsmen was assembled to work on the project, led by David Smith of the Flintman Company, and the rocks were hand-picked and sourced from five different quarries. What’s unusual about the design – Smith notes it is the most ambitious to be attempted in flint since Edwardian time – is that while most buildings stick to one style of flintwork, here six different techniques are used to create the dramatic blend effect”.http://www.vogue.com/13392651/lord-jacob-rothschild-english-estate/
Lord Rothschild referred to Waddesdon Manor as his ‘manor from heaven’. I have a feeling, everyone’s garden is their manor from heaven.