Glorious Gardens

Nobody knows this little rose/ It might a pilgrim be…’

The American poet Emilyn Dickinson, a keen gardener and lover of roses, was the inspiration behind the shrub rose border at Hever Castle in Kent. Visitors will find old-fashioned scented varieties similar to those that would have bloomed in her New England garden, including ‘Damask’, ‘Grenville’, ‘Hedgehog’, ‘Blush’, ‘Cinnamon’, ‘Gallico’ and ‘Sweet Briar’. The roses were chosen by Faith Guthrie, one of the owners of Hever Castle, who enjoys Dickinson’s poetry.

This year, the annual Hever in Bloom festival will celebrate the beauty and scent of the Queen of Flowers. The childhood home of a real queen, Anne Boleyn, the gardens were remodelled in the Edwardian era by the richest living American of his day, William Waldorf Astor.

There are more than 5,000 roses throughout the grounds, with 4,000 alone in the modern rose garden, featuring floribundas and hybrid teas, and more in the shrub rose border and the Tudor Garden.


Mottisfont, Hampshire

The walled garden at this National Trust garden is home to the National Collection of pre-1900 old-fashioned roses. It’s so popular when the roses are in bloom that you need to pre-book parking.

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Castle Howard, Yorkshire

The 18th-century walled garden, once a kitchen garden, has been transformed into a rose garden dedicated to the memory of Lady Cecilia Howard. With 2,000 modern roses of all types, it is one of the country’s most comprehensive collections.

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Carolside Gardens, Berwickshire

The oval walled garden at this 18th-century mansion set in beautiful parkland in the Scottish borders has been cultivated for 200 years, and today houses the National Collection of pre-1900 Gallica roses.

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Alnwick Garden, Northumberland

June and July are the best months to visit this colourful garden of 300 highly scented roses. They include the Alnwick Rose, a soft pink flower with a rich old-rose fragrance created by David Austin in 2001.

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Bodnant Garden, Conwy

In this Arts and Crafts garden in Wales, an upper and lower rose garden built over Italianate terraces are linked by
a series of garden rooms, ornamental pools and walkways. They have been replanted with fragrant English roses,
many from the David Austin collection.

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Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton

Another Arts and Crafts rose garden, this time in the Midlands, where the eight beds of roses, restored in 2012, conjure up the history of the plant as a symbol of Tudor and medieval England.

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Hever in Bloom runs from 20-26 June. Tours of the Rose Garden commence at 11.30am and 2pm on weekdays. Felix Green will be give his botanical workshops daily at 12.10pm and 2.40pm on weekdays. Rose buttonhole workshops will also be given at 12.10pm and 2.40pm on weekdays by Fuller-Wilke Florals.

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