This is a cheat. It’s hardly a rant. It’s just a big treat for those of us who do, in spite of everything, still fall for and indulge a love of roses. And it comes with apologies to anyone who has lost their roses to rose rosette disease. My heartfelt sympathy to them.
We just managed to visit this garden in time. The roses here have a short flowering window and we just caught it. Make note, anyone who might make a tour to visit Moor Wood roses in the future. Which you should. Moor Wood is the home of the British National Collection of Rambler Roses and what’s more, it is a beautiful and romantic setting for them. Some of you will be aware of how damning I can be about some gardens – well, here I come to praise. It’s just a wonderful visit.
And the classic Cotswold house: which curiously is not actually in the garden. It does leave me with a slight feeling of something missing, but there were just the two of us, so it also made it feel rather secretive and special, being away from the house.
Here’s a surprise though – not all ramblers look good when they are going over. The larger the flowers, the larger the brown blob, clearly. Could be worth visiting somewhere like Moor Wood to check how well a rose dies before you invest in it.
Some indulgent rose pictures for you – you’ll see the best are by Charles Hawes, Mr Two Cameras:
Here is Apple Blossom. We had only been there about ten minutes before this found itself on our ‘must have’ list.
The great majority of the roses are labelled, which is a treat. I hate labels normally when they are stuck in the ground telling us a dandelion is a crocus (yes, I have a photo) but these are placed discretely amongst the roses –
The garden is secluded, quiet, surrounded by countryside. It’s relaxed and has those nice touches which remind you it’s been here for a while –
and another gate..
There’s a stream contained in a rill, making the best sound to accompany a garden visit, and a true meadow with no sign of the garish annuals which are coming to signify ‘meadow’ to various vandals who dig up ancient pasture to create those fields looking like giant hanging baskets.
You may notice that far from disappearing into the top of a tree and becoming invisible, like those I mentioned at Veddw, these roses are mostly growing trained along and over walls. This makes a great display. Training them horizontally is the trick which forces roses to flower abundantly. Everyone says so but they don’t say why. I expect Michael Marriott will tell us when he publishes his new book on roses next year.
Alternatively you can consider cutting them to the ground each year. At La Roseraie del’Hay-les-Roses in Paris they cut to the ground then just allow three stems to regrow, keeping the roses a manageable size and more visible and smellable than when vanished up a tree. How come I learned this ten years ago when I interviewed Henry and then never did it?!
The garden isn’t all about roses, if almost. I enjoyed this view:
And the chicken which came to say goodbye to us.
I hope you enjoyed a trip to a great English garden.