Coming up roses in Chiswell Green

PUBLISHED: 15:57 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:47 20 February 2013

The central pergola at the Gardens of the Rose

The central pergola at the Gardens of the Rose

Roses are the nation's favourite flower and the newly-designed Gardens of the Rose at Chiswell Green show them at their very best. Philippa Pearson reports

AFTER nearly three years of extensive work, the newly-designed Gardens of the Rose at the Royal National Rose Society's headquarters at Chiswell Green opens this month. Landscape architect Michael Balston has designed and implemented the new gardens while renowned horticulturist Tony Lord VMH has overseen the planting schemes.

Sweeping vistas, punctuated by three ornamental ponds set amid broad pathways, open up views from the main house and plenty of new features are incorporated. These include new inspirational display gardens while other well-loved features, such as the Presidents' Walk and the Queen Mother Garden, have been re-designed and re-planted to incorporate new design elements.

Work began in autumn 2004 when the whole site was cleared before the new curvilinear structure of paths and display beds was put into place. More than 8,000 roses have been planted, donated by various rose growers and covering 2,500 varieties, which makes this one of the most comprehensive collections of roses in the country.

The garden has year-round appeal as traditional and contemporary rose plantings blend with perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees to extend the seasons. At the heart of the garden, the impressive elliptically-shaped Central Pergola is packed with climbing and rambling roses and clematis. This 70-metre long (230 feet) steel construction was donated by Germany-based Classic Garden Elements which has also given obelisks and rose supports for other areas of the garden.

Richard Adams, chief executive of the Royal National Rose Society, hopes the garden will appeal not only to rose and garden-lovers, but to local people as a place to come and visit, sit, relax and enjoy the tranquil and fragranced surroundings.

'The society was founded in 1876, but we have shaped the new gardens for the 21st century,' says Richard. 'They will be a place of peace and beauty, just as the previous gardens were, but the new design has many more roses than before and focuses on their use as part of wider planting schemes. We want people to appreciate the many varieties available and to be inspired to grow roses in their own gardens.'

Article taken from June issue of Hertfordshire Life

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