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 varieties to look out for
Rosa 'Octavia Hill'
This rose variety was created in 1995 to mark the centenary of the National Trust, and was named ‘Octavia Hill’ after one of our three co-founders.
This species has been around since the Middle Ages and was often used for medicines. The ‘Officinalis’ cultivar is also known as the Red Rose of Lancaster.
Rosa 'Graham Thomas'
Named for another key figure in our history, this rose was chosen by Graham Stuart Thomas himself. It has a light fragrance and is perfect for a pop of colour.
Also known as the ‘dog rose’, this is the most common of our native wild roses. You’ll often find it blooming in hedgerows over the summer months.
Rosa 'Margaret Greville'
Launched in 2017, the ‘Margaret Greville’ rose was created by the team at Polesden Lacey to commemorate 75 years since Mrs Greville left the estate to us.
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.
Prune your roses hard in late winter to encourage vigorous growth – tips for pruning specific types of roses are available on the RHS website. Mulch with well-rotted manure.
Grow plants like wormwood and marigolds to attract ladybirds and hover flies into your garden. Their larvae will feed on aphids, which can be a pest to roses.
Hip hip hooray
Deadheading encourages roses to bloom next year, but it’s worth letting a few flowers die back. They’ll produce hips in autumn: great for making syrup or jelly.
Black spot fungus
Burn or dispose of any fallen rose leaves in the autumn to reduce the risk of overwintering black spot fungus. Do not compost the fallen leaves, as this can re-introduce the fungus to your garden.
Sawfly can be a big problem for roses. Keep an eye out for small green caterpillars munching your plants, and remove them immediately.