Saturday 31 May 2014

Roses all the way

Mottisfont: the middle walled garden

Just about 22 miles from home is the National Trust's Rose Garden. We try to get there each week during the season.  One of my more inspired gestures was to buy life membership of the trust for a birthday present for Jane. That was back in the 1960's. Today a single year's subscription costs more than that life membership did! 

The mastermind who conceived of the gardens was Graham Thomas. The wonderful yellow rose that bears his name is not yet out at Mottisfont, though we have one in our garden which is in full bloom. There is also a lonicera - a honeysuckle - named for him.
In the 19th Century these areas surrounded by high brick walls had been the kitchen garden for the great house. The mature trees of the surrounding parkland combine with the weathered walls to make a perfect backdrop for the collection of ancient roses.

Today was overcast but warm, so the scents were wonderful. Besides roses there are Irises, Clematis, Paeonies and all manner of Pinks. After the winter floods the Trust has been undertaking major drainage work. The Font which gave the House (originally a monastic foundation) its name is a spring which provides one of many tributaries to the river Test - one of the great trout rivers of our county of Hampshire. There was serious flooding just downstream from here last winter, not least in Romsey. At last most of the work seems to be complete, which makes the approach to the garden much easier, especially for those with mobility problems.

We shall be back here several times through June, I expect. If you are able to get this way in the next few weeks, do make the effort. It is a great place for refreshing the spirit - the very thing to make Whitsun even better.

Lift up your hearts

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