Blooming lovely roses at Hinton Ampner
As you reach the long walk at Hinton Ampner your nose is filled with the delicious scent of over 100 varieties of rose. Your eyes are greeted with a mirage of colours from a delicate creamy-white to the richest cerise. The border is specifically designed so that the most fragrant roses are planted close to the path that you walk along.
Roses flourish all around the garden, reaching their peak between June and August. The collection is well known for its repeat flowering, giving delicious fragrance and colour throughout the summer. The rose season actually begins at the start of May and one of the first spectacular displays is from Banksia lutea; a huge rose that covers the west of the manor house. These abundant intense yellow flowers provide a wonderful start to the rose season.
Growing roses at Hinton Ampner
Roses have not always played such a major part of the gardens’ design. One of Ralph's first endeavours was to create a rose garden for his mother. The area chosen is now known as the yew garden and is situated on the eastern side of the property. The rose chosen for the garden was a tea rose; a very elegant strain of rose with large sumptuous blooms. However, they struggled with varying temperatures and their reluctance to withstand the cold Hampshire clay was a problem. As a result, the roses had to be replanted biennially. Eventually Dutton admitted defeat and turned the display into annual bedding displays.
The fact that roses did not grow well in the colder Hampshire weather stayed with Dutton and it wasn’t until talking to the creators of Hidcote and Sissinghurst that he was convinced to start growing some of the more robust roses which we can now find in the garden today.
" There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. "
A real highlight of our collection is a border of 100 Whiter Shade of Pale roses which lie parallel to the formal pond. The beauty of this rose is its health and its ability to flower from June right through to the end of the year. The flowers, as the name suggests, are of the palest pink and unravel from a bud into a beautifully scented flower.
In the main rose border, Rosa primula is another early flowering yellow rose. It’s also known as the Incense rose, down to the scent that exudes from its foliage which is particularly prominent after rain.
The most floriferous rose in the main border is Old Blush, also known as Parsons' Pink China as the rose originates from China where its cultivation pre-dates the 10th century. The rose was also used in the development of modern repeat flowering roses. It forms a rather spindly, short bush and graceful clusters of dainty, pale pink flowers.
Some of the roses in the garden are literally giants, rising up through trees to then cascade downwards like a waterfall of scented petals. In early summer, rambler Rosa banksiae lutea shoots graceful sprays of double yellow scented flowers right to the top of the house and Alberic barbier sends creamy-white flowers arching over the shop doorway.
Situated around the dell, Rosa brunonii, Wedding Day and Kiftsgate come into their own in June, filling the air with exquisite scent. With a mix of apricot buds opening to creamy yellow blooms, tiny orange-red hips, rich green foliage and an abundance of white flowers, you wouldn’t want to be in any other English garden this summer.