The highlight of my trip to England was a tour of the David Austin Rose Garden in Shropshire, the home of the English Roses. My dear friend, Carole, surprised me with the visit, knowing it was near the top of my list of 'gardens I must see'. She drove my husband and her son to the RAF Museum at Cosford, dropped them off there, then took me in search of David Austin's place, which proved to be close by.
The two acre gardens contain the National Collection of English Roses, together with almost every other type of rose, over 700 different varieties in all. The gardens are divided into smaller areas, each with its own theme: the Long Garden, the Victorian Walled Garden, the Renaissance Garden, the Lion Garden, the Species Garden and the Patio Garden. I was overwhelmed with the beauty and peacefulness of these magnificent gardens. Although the blooms are not at their peak at this time of year, many are still lovely.
The Long Garden forms the central core with the other gardens leading from it. The whole garden is interlaced with pergolas, clothed with many climbing and rambling roses.
The Long Garden contains a collection of Old Roses, Modern Shrub Roses and English Roses.
|'Lady of Shallot' English Leander hybrid|
|'Darcy Bussell' English Old Rose hybrid|
|'William and Catherine' Musk hybrid|
Each garden we entered was my favorite, until we moved into the next.
The many fine pieces of sculpture in each theme garden are by the late Mrs. Pat Austin, a very talented artist. The sculptures help give each garden its own special character. The focal point of the Lion Garden is a lion sculpture.
The Lion Garden contains four long borders filled with a wonderful combination of shrub roses, standard roses and perennials.
|Aster 'Little Carlow'|
|Bee leaving lantana|
The Victorian Walled Garden is planted with English Roses and other repeat-flowering shrub roses.
|Sculpture in the Victorian Walled Garden|
English Climbers and Ramblers are trained over the arches, arbors and along the wall that encircles this garden.
'Graham Thomas' was voted The World's Favorite Rose by the 41 National Rose Societies.
'The Mayflower' represents an important breakthrough in garden roses in that it is, as far as they know, completely free of disease. It was made to mark the launch of their American catalog in 2001.
|'The Mayflower' English Old Rose Hybrid|
The Renaissance Garden is totally devoted to English roses -- new roses in the old tradition. They originated when David Austin crossed certain Old Roses and Modern Hybrid Teas and Floribundas.
The central canal leads to a beautifully proportioned loggia, creating a feeling of peace and tranquility.
I love the way the rose beds undulate -- their edges defined by clipped English boxwood.
This lovely garden demonstrates the great versatility of the English roses.
|'Fair Bianca' English Old Rose Hybrid|
|My favorite sculpture|
The Species Garden is planted with true wild roses along a winding path. I understand this intimate garden is most beautiful in early summer, but I love the attractive hips produced now that autumn has arrived.
|Hip of the Rugosa Rose|
The Patio Garden features specimen roses in large, decorative terracotta planters. Peacocks roam freely in all the gardens.
We couldn't leave without visiting the Tea Rooms. Traditional English tea, served on fine bone china decorated with roses, is enhanced by a vase of fresh blooms on each table.
Three tier cake stands contain sweet and savory delights. I chose a slice of lemon cake named for the rose 'Lichfield Angel'. This was an easy choice for me and you will know why if you read my postings, The Grand Dame of Flowers and In Search of an Angel.
Thank you Carole for taking me to these wonderful rose gardens. This was a special gift I will never forget.
|Sign in the gift shop (unfortunately not for sale)|
(Credits: Some descriptive phrases taken from David Austin, 'Handbook of Roses: 2011/12')
~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.