Fragrant rose gardens

Roses are as evocative of a British summer as strawberries and cream. It’s easy to see why they remain the nation’s favourite flower – they’re hard to beat for beauty and scent, and every year they make a spectacular display. We’ve rounded up some top places to see them, plus a few tips for growing roses at home.

These days there are well over 30,000 varieties of roses worldwide, which isn’t too surprising when fossil evidence suggests they’ve been around for 35 million years. Over the millennia they’ve been used in medicines, as an ingredient in food, a source of perfume, and just purely for decoration. They’ve even become one of the greatest symbols of romance, referenced countless times by poets and writers.  

If you’re hoping to see riotous displays of roses this year, then take a look at our round up of the best rose gardens and displays near you. If that whets your appetite for roses, then you’ll also find some hints and tips from our gardeners to help you start creating your very own rose garden.

Rose gardens in the South West

Rose gardens in the North

Rose gardens in Wales

South East, Midlands and East Anglia

Rose varieties to look out for

Mottisfont rose garden in June, with Rosa 'Adélaïde d'Orléans' clambering over arches.

The man who rescued roses 

Graham Stuart Thomas (1909–2003) was a notable horticulturalist with a passion for roses. He searched out old and near-forgotten roses from around the world, and saved many heritage varieties from extinction. He was the National Trust gardens adviser for over 20 years, and created what is probably the most famous rose garden in England at Mottisfont in Hampshire. It’s the perfect place to spend a summer’s afternoon, surrounded by the heady fragrance of Graham’s rose collection.

Tips from our gardeners

Roses can have a reputation for being hard to grow, but they’re often easier than you’d think. Our gardeners have come up with some top tips for growing roses, so you can avoid getting into any thorny situations with your blooms.

Gifts for green-fingered friends