It's nearly a year to the day since Ma and I last went (abandoning our husbands- much to their relief), and to be really honest, the roses are now past their best, but it is such a spectacular garden stuffed full of so many beautiful plants all within the most fantastic old walled garden setting that it didn't really matter.
The walled rose garden at Mottisfont is (to put it Quite Simply) a Mind Blowing Experience, and if you haven't been before, you must go (but next year now, before they start to go past their best). It houses the National Collection of old fashioned roses designed and planted by horticulturalist Graham Stuart Thomas. When Thomas was looking to retire in 1971 he wanted a place to put his roses, a collection he had drawn from all round the world. The tenant at Mottisfont was leaving and the walled kitchen garden became available. It is a perfect place for them. Roses that only bloom once had fallen out of fashion at that period, but Thomas reinvigorated a nation's love for them, as is evident in the number of visitors who come to see them here every June.
Mottisfont (which is only open March through to October) gets a little under 220,000 visitors a year and many of these come at Rose Time. Being local, Ma and I were there at the opening of the doors at ten and made good our escape a little after twelve and so avoided the crush. At some points it felt like we almost had the gardens to ourselves......bliss.
I'll let the pictures do the talking......there are Quite A Lot because it is impossible to whittle them down to a handful, so if you enjoy gardens, flowers and roses I expect you will be oohing and ahhing over them every bit as much as we were.
This year, with all of you lovely people in mind, I remembered to get names for most of the roses featured. Some of them date back to the 1880s.
|Baron Girod De Lain|
|Petit De Holland|
|Honorine De Brabant|
|These beautiful yellow roses decorate the forecourt and I couldn't find a label with their name on. They had a very delicate perfume and a profusion of flowers|
|These were in the courtyard and also didn't appear to have a label. They look like a very traditional English rose to me.|
In both gardens, mature trees sweep majestically over the walls in various places, lending areas of shade and coolness on a boiling hot day, and there are pergolas and trellises dripping with climbing roses and pretty archways, fountains and brick pathways among the lawns and walkways.......
|Archway to the Inner Garden|
|The Inner Garden|
|It's like a secret waiting to be discovered.....|
|More from the inner garden|
|Mature horse chestnut in the back ground|
|This shot was taken in the outer garden|
|Lavender edging the inner courtyard garden|
|Rose arbor walk in the outer garden|
|Flowers, flowers everywhere....|
|Salvia tumbling up through the roses. I love the vibrancy of the purple against the delicate wash of pink.|
|The Outer Garden. Imagine the scents that waft over that house on the other side of the wall at night....|
|Wheelbarrow...good to see even the smartest, most graceful and elegant gardens are happy to show evidence of the level of hard work that goes in to maintaining them :-)|
The Peonies at Mottisfont are just incredible. I remember them from last year, all huge and light and fluffy, and they were the same this year too. I love peonies.....
|More evidence of labour....|
|Some kind of lily? The name escapes me...|
*thanks to Jessica at Rusty Duck: this is Lilium martagon var. album.
|Papaver. There were several in the garden, some of the darkest purple and some these beautiful washed lilac.|
After a while you feel a little over-loaded in the sensory department, and then it's good to be able to wander down along the cool, gurgling river where the spotty trout weave against the current. I looked for voles (of course) but the edges here have been improved and the water flows too fast so there were none. However, earlier in the day while walking the doggy people I did see my sixth vole nibbling some grasses by the bank of the Test further upstream.
A sign down by the river which I heartily approve of....
|A shot of the Abbey from the River Test|
Hope you enjoyed the roses and the gardens, albeit second-hand. And hello to the lovely lady from America who left me a comment on last year's Mottisfont Roses post on Friday, because she was travelling over to the garden to visit it on Monday, the same day Ma and I went. I hope you enjoyed the roses and will come and see them again. Maybe we walked past one another without knowing!