The Rose Garden
This section of the Gardens has undergone many changes since its formation in 1910.
When the Cave Pond and surrounding rock garden were being built the surplus soil and stone were transported to the area so forming a level surface for the Rose Garden. Formal rose beds were then formed and this formal arrangement lasted for many years. At one time Sir Frederick planted Bearded Iris throughout the beds acting as trial beds for his new hybrids.
It was in the years 1939-1945 that the section was devoted to growing vegetables for the 'Dig for Victory campaign'.
After the war ended it was returned to a formal Rose Garden, but even with the hardier Floribunda roses the plants were never at their best. The heavy shade from the Beech Wood and roots robbing the soil of nutrients and moisture was a major problem. Even with a heavy mulch of manure the Hybrid Tea roses, each with one cultivar per bed, did not succeed.
Recently the Rose Garden has been transformed:
- the rectangular beds have been shaped to a less formal design and new shrub roses have been planted
- the Rosa alba and its cultivars, which show resistance to Black Spot Disease, are much hardier and are coping well with the conditions
- the hardy Geraniums and Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla Mollis) have been under planted, acting as a ground cover, making more interest through the seasons
- the Rose Pergola has been rebuilt and climbing roses have been planted, with under planting of herbaceous plants and bulbs
The Rose Garden looking west towards the Rose Pergola and beyond to the Lower Rose Garden:
The steps through the Rose pergola, or the path to the left, lead you down into the Lower Rose Garden (see below).
In the Lower Rose Garden species roses were at one time planted in single circular beds and some twenty beds were set out. These have now been joined together to make a more interesting layout with under plantings.
Further down is the large mixed planted border containing the Paper Bark Maple (Acer griseum).
South in the border is honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) with its scarlet berries and wide arching branches.
The sunken path between the Hellebore Bank and large rose bed is the original track way into the chalk pit where the chalk was removed by horse and cart many years ago - this is now our Chalk Pit Garden.
The Lower Rose Garden looking east back towards the Rose Pergola and main Rose Garden. Island rose beds with Fraxinus ornus and the foreground and the Beech Wood to the right:
The Lower Rose Garden with the Paper Bark Maple to the right:
The steps up through the Rose pergola, or the path to the right, lead you into the Rose Garden (see above).
At the western end of the lower Rose Garden is a large mixed planted border where you will find a Paper Bark Maple (Acer griseum).
Its seed was collected in China by E.H. Wilson, the famous plant collector.
It was grown from seed and raised by James Veitch & Sons, based in Chelsea, London.
The Paper Bark Maple (Acer griseum) was then bought at Veitch's sale in 1912 by Sir Frederick Stern and planted in Highdown Gardens.
This is a shapely tree has wonderful orange/red bark which is always peeling.
The Paper Bark Maple:
The Paper Bark Maple (to the right) in the large mixed planted border at the western end of the Lower Rose Garden: