Garden and Aviary

Much of the right-hand court is occupied by the privy garden created by Dudley for the queen. Now known as the Elizabethan Garden, it has recently been recreated on the basis of archaeological evidence and an account of the 1575 festivities by Robert Langham.

Like the queen, visitors approach through the keep’s forebuilding, which was remodelled in classical style for her 1575 visit. This gives onto a terrace with views of the garden below, as well as of the mere and chase to the north. The two arbours, one at each end of the terrace, described by Langham as ‘perfumed with sweet trees and flowers’, are now planted with scented plants (vines, honeysuckle, sweet musk rose).

The garden below is divided into quarters, with a pierced obelisk at the centre of each. Each quarter is subdivided into two knots, defined by low privet hedges, with intricate geometrical patterns of planting based on contemporary Flemish drawings. All the  flowering plants used are known to have been popular in Elizabeth’s day (carnations, pinks, stocks, wallflowers) and the focal points of the knots are small trees and shrubs (bay, holly, juniper, viburnum, rose).

At the centre of the garden is a spectacular fountain in Carrara marble, created on the basis of Langham’s description. The faces of the octagonal basin are carved with scenes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

On the northernmost side of the garden is an aviary, again constructed after Langham’s description, and now home to domesticated birds.

Garden View

The Castle from the Privy Garden

Fountain in Carrara Marble

Fountain Detail

18 Comments CherryPie on Feb 22nd 2017

18 Responses to “The Privy Garden – Kenilworth Castle”

  1. The Yum List says:

    What a beautiful garden.

  2. This formal garden is too big. ;)
    Have you been to Ham House in South West London?
    There’s a tiny formal garden named after you! Ha.
    But they don’t grow cherry trees there though.
    Maybe you can ask them why when you visit them in the future.

  3. Hels says:

    I am a huge fan of Capability Brown and his colleagues. So to me the intricate geometrical patterns of planting based on contemporary Flemish drawings look overly detailed and not nearly flowing enough. But gardens aren’t just visual. How excellent that the Kenilworth experience was and is perfumed with sweet trees and scented plants.

  4. lisl says:

    Dudley certainly set out to impress, Cherie

  5. rusty duck says:

    I remember seeing a programme about the creation of this garden. Looks good now that it has matured somewhat!

  6. Wonderful posts and photos on Kenilworth Castle. So interesting. I haven’t been for quite a few years and haven’t seen the recreated garden. It looks lovely – must try and re-visit this summer. I do like Kenilworth Castle – such a lot of history and the castle, unlike Warwick!!, for me is nicely uncommercialised!

    • CherryPie says:

      Warwick was always a little bland, but I used to like the dungeon and other exhibitions and its historical aspects. It did them well.

      Since it has become a theme park it has been totally ruined as an experience and place to visit for me.

  7. ....peter:) says:

    it is a very beautiful place Cherie and the gardens are superb… but i don’t like that they are all fenced in…
    it just doesn’t look natural….peter:)

  8. Astrid says:

    You go to these amazing places. What a great architecture and I love the statue. Wonderful garden and everything is so well kept.