The Lily Pond and Rose Garden

View of the Rose Garden at Bateman's

Here at Bateman’s, Rudyard Kipling’s love of roses can be still seen today. As spring turns into summer, the gardens at Bateman's continue to explode with colour and the delicious scent of rose fills the air.

Roses at Bateman’s

As you approach the house through the orchard you will be greeted by the glorious scent of rugosa roses and the fragrant rose walk. On the walls there are climbers and ramblers in a variety of colours including deep red Rosa Ena Harkness and primrose yellow Rosa Goldfinch. There is also a selection of shrub, hybrid tea and polyantha roses inter-mixed with flowering shrubs and perennials.

Roses in the Orchard Garden at Batemans
Pink roses in the Orchard
Roses in the Orchard Garden at Batemans

History of the Rose Garden

The crowning glory must be the Lily Pond & Rose Garden designed by Kipling himself after being awarded the Noble Prize in Literature in 1907.  This award came with the handsome sum of £7700, enough for him to carry out major improvement of the gardens. Part of this was the development of the lower end of the garden, for which he sketched out a plan, which is framed and still hangs in his upstairs study at Bateman’s.  It shows a formal pool and rose garden with fountain, very much in the early 20th century fashion and this design is very much what we see today. 

"A Plan of the Rose Garden" by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
A plan of the Rose Garden by Rudyard Kipling
"A Plan of the Rose Garden" by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
BATEMAN'S FROM THE GARDEN by Sir Edward J Poynter (1836-1919), 1913 watercolour, at Bateman's, East Sussex
BATEMAN'S FROM THE GARDEN by Sir Edward J Poynter (1836-1919), 1913 watercolour, at Bateman's, East Sussex
BATEMAN'S FROM THE GARDEN by Sir Edward J Poynter (1836-1919), 1913 watercolour, at Bateman's, East Sussex


The two lead statues standing on stone plinths which Kipling had commissioned for the Rose garden are figures of a boy and girl wearing Jacobean costumes, again harking back to the origins of the house and his own children.  

Bateman's Rose Garden
Bateman's Rose Garden
Bateman's Rose Garden

Replanting the Rose Garden

The rose garden was replanted in 2007, as the original plants were slowly dying.  Two of the original floribunda varieties, Betty Prior and Frensham, were replanted along with Valentine Heart to replace Mrs Inge Poulsen, giving us a beautiful display of varying shades of pink throughout the summer and well into the autumn.  

With thanks - the replanted roses were sponsored by members of the public in memory of people who have worked at Bateman's from Kipling's time to the present day. Others chose to sponsor a rose because they had spent a memorable day at the property.

The Rose Garden in bloom at Bateman's
Roses with Bateman's in the background
The Rose Garden in bloom at Bateman's


Looking after the roses

The Bateman’s gardeners take great pride in looking after the Rose Garden. An intense winter pruning programme, cutting them down to 9 inches every year helps ensure vibrant summer displays. The floribunda roses start flowering in June and continue throughout summer, only requiring dead-heading on a regular basis to keep them flowering well into autumn.
 
There are many different types of roses at Bateman's, each requiring their own specific pruning regime. 

The repeat flowering climbers will be dead-headed after the first flush of blooms and then receive a hard prune back to the main framework of stems during winter. 

The shrub roses are pruned down to approximately 18 inches to 2ft in winter.

Gardeners at work in the Bateman's Rose Garden
Gardeners at work in the Bateman's Rose Garden
Gardeners at work in the Bateman's Rose Garden

The gardeners don't tend to dead-head the Rugosa roses, which is a surprise to some visitors. These old-fashioned roses only flower once a year, afterwards producing ornamental fruits or ‘hips', which, as well as brightening the garden in autumn, provide local birds with an important source of winter food.

As well as a good pruning regime, looking after the soil is the main ingredient for good quality, healthy roses. In early spring the roses all receive a top dressing which gets worked into the soil to provide a good balance of nutrients to the roots throughout summer. In mid spring, once the soil starts warming up, but before it dries out, a 10cm layer of mulch is spread around the roses to help retain moisture during the summer months and to suppress weeds. 

All this hard works pays off when you see the variety of colours and forms and smell the heady fragrance of these beautiful roses in bloom.