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LIVE 24-SEVEN


sensational sight and sound! The nearby Rosamund’s Well was believed to have been built by King Henry II as a bathing place for his mistress, the ‘Fair’ Rosamund Clifford. History here is in no short supply!


From the natural lakes and waterfalls, comes the formal Upper Water Terrace – compared to the Parterre d’Eau at Versailles and certainly aristocratically aquatic. The Lower Water Terrace continues the theme and boasts a model of Bernini’s river god – no doubt thrilled to be surrounded by so much water.


These formal areas are much admired and like full stops, requiring you to pause and observe something different amongst the 2000 acres of parkland, all of which are surveyed by the Duke of Marlborough standing on top of the Column of Victory at 134 feet. (Not the real Duke you understand, he is no doubt currently in the warm, admiring the photographs of his son’s recent wedding to a Camilla far younger than I! No, this one is the first Duke and very much in stone).


Sir Winston Churchill is never far from thought here, with the Churchill Memorial Garden opening in 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death. The Temple of Diana here is beautiful and the site of Winston’s romantic proposal to his darling Clementine.


This whole estate has a true romance and regality and where these occur, you would expect a secret garden and Blenheim does not disappoint, for three acres await, filled with foliage for year round satisfaction. Over 10,000 spring bulbs are about to


burst into glory and a large Laburnum greets you on your entrance. New trees merge with aged specimens, such as a 170- year-old oak and stately blue cedars. Originally designed and built in 1952, this garden was restored in 2003 after falling into neglect following the 10th Duke’s death in 1972. A Judas tree is preparing to share its eye-catching spring blossoms and pools, ponds and cascades trickle and reflect the surrounding limbs and leaves.


This month sees a brand new temporary exhibition open at Blenheim where you can view the work of one of England’s most celebrated artists – JMW Turner. Opening on the 16th February and running until April, you can view the largest collection of Turner paintings ever to visit Oxfordshire. Why not combine painted landscapes with a real life historical horticultural hike.


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THROUGH THE GARDEN GATE CAMI L LA BAS S E T T - SMI TH


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