The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Wilshire, Dorsetshire, Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent in the Summer of 1832

Blenheim private garden

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After seeing the house, by the permission of the duke we were shown through the private garden. Much has been said respecting this garden, but there is, in truth, nothing remarkable in it; and the duke can only wish it to be kept private, in order to prevent his walks being intruded upon by the numerous visiters, who, every day in the year, come to see the house and grounds. Those who have seen Blenheim before this private garden was fenced off, will recollect the bank of lawn, commencing at the library front of the house, and extending to the cascade. They will also recollect the portion beyond the cascade, partly below it, containing some fountains; and partly above it, where there used to be some old mutilated statues. The lawn in front of the library, and these two portions of the grounds, are included in the duke's private garden; the extent of the three scenes being estimated at about 80 acres. There seems no reason why the occupier of such a place as Blenheim should not have a private garden, in the same manner as he has private apartments; but it is surely not allowable that, for this purpose, he should monopolise all that is by nature, as well as by the art which had been exercised before his time, the finest part of the grounds. What is, perhaps, as bad as this monopoly is, that a part of the grounds, still left open to the public, is disfigured by the main walk being included in what is now the private part, and by the necessity, which has been thus occasioned, of forming a new and smaller walk parallel to it. The one walk is separated from the other by a high fence, stuck full of furze bushes, so as to render it impervious to the sight: a very great deformity, and one which shows, on the part of those who put it there, an utter disregard of the general beauty of the place. We shall now notice the details of the duke's private garden.