Stoke Poges Memorial Garden

Nominated by: Franzi Cheeseman and Roger Askew

Franzi Cheesman, Head Gardener for the Memorial Garden writes:

Next door to St Giles’ Church in Stoke Poges are 22 acres of beautifully landscaped Gardens of Remembrance.  Entering Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens is like walking into a different era – there is a calmness and peace in carefully planned surroundings, which provide colour and beauty, whatever the season.

This Grade I listed garden has been open since 1935.  The site was acquired in the 1930s by Sir Noel Mobbs with the aim of preserving the tranquil setting of St Giles’ Church, which was the inspiration for Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, composed in 1750.

Designed by Edward White, a leading landscape architect in the 1930s, Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens are widely considered his best creation and took five years to complete.  Woodlands, formal planting, pools, fountains, rills, parterres, a rockery and a wisteria pergola fill the gardens, which sit alongside historic Stoke Park and its landscape, which was created by Capability Brown and Humphry Repton.

A magnificent 600 year-old oak stands within the grounds, in the Oak Dell, a beautiful natural area, which also includes a memorial stone with a bronze plaque containing a few verses from Thomas Gray’s ‘Ode on the Spring’.  A carpet of golden daffodils greets you as you enter it in springtime. 

There are 500 gated family gardens, individually designed by Edward White to represent a ‘home-coming’, and in which are interred the ashes of some well-known people;

  • Sir Noel Mobbs, founder of the Gardens
  • Sir Alexander Korda, film director
  • Lord Brabazon of Tara, the first pilot in Britain to fly 500 yards
  • Kenneth Horne and John Snagge, radio & television presenters
  • Lois Allan, inventor of Fuzzy Felt
  • Harriet Cohen, concert pianist
  • and many more!

One of the larger gardens, the Gurkha Memorial Garden, is in memory of the 4th Prince of Wales’ own Gurkha Rifles.

While the main purpose of the Memorial Gardens is the interment of cremated remains, it is a vibrant and interesting place to visit, with a wealth of history and many activities on offer.

Gardens of this beauty do not just happen – they are the result of a great deal of hard work all year round. The staff of five gardeners is assisted by volunteers who come in regularly to help out and more volunteers are always welcomed.

Roger Askew, President for the Stoke Poges Society writes:

I wish to nominate The Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens for Bucks in 100 Objects.  The gardens are almost unique in the country and during this difficult time have been a haven of peace and security, particularly for us more vulnerable people.  I am 74, my wife is 70, and we have been able to take our daily walk safely.  The late spring and early summer flowering has been spectacular and uplifting to experience.  The staff there have continued to work tirelessly to maintain this special place.

Stoke Poges Memorial Garden was nominated (on the same day) by Franzi Cheeseman, Head Gardener for the Memorial Gardens, and Roger Askew, President for the Stoke Poges Society.