The Battle of Waterloo may have been won here, various prime ministers, crowned heads and famous actors may have been educated here but gardening does not feature heavily in the prospectus at Eton.
I have revived three gardens at Eton College – the Provost’s Garden, the Fellows Garden and the King of Siam’s Garden. The latter was first made in 1929 when King Rama VII (an Old Etonian) paid for a garden to replace the Provost’s stables, eighty years later I was asked to give it a bit of rethink. Interestingly it is a garden without any sort of seating as it was considered disrespectful to sit in the presence of the king. That sense of deference stretches to include gardens named after the King so there are no benches.
This led on to replanting the next door Provost’s garden (which has an amazing wisteria) and then the long riverside borders of the Fellows Garden – which have repeating groups of one of my favourite roses – R.mutabilis which has flowers in shades from pink peach – depending on age. Works ETON with spindly Valerian and a scattering of blue Geranium Rozanne.