Developing Mottisfont's Frameyard

A moodboard of flowers, herbs and garden structures, inspiration for the new garden at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Thank you to everyone who made a donation to the Walled Garden Appeal.

We raised over £80,000 through second-hand bookshop purchases, raffle ticket sales, donations and pledges from Centres & Associations. We will be adding property funds to this.

This means we can now develop a brand new garden in the Frameyard area. The new design will reflect its history as a highly productive kitchen garden, and provide a more fitting introduction to our world-famous rose collection.

What’s happening now?

We’ve discovered sewage problems that need to be put right before we can proceed with our plans. To solve this, we’re installing a new eco waste treatment system, which will be complete by winter 2017. You won’t see most of this happening - but it’s probably best out of sight. This work is paid for using our own funds.

In the meantime, we have been developing our design ideas for this area, inspired both by its history as a kitchen garden and, of course, Mottisfont’s roses.

Rosa 'Laure Davoust' in June at Mottisfont, Hampshire.
Rose arch at Mottisfont

The next steps are to finalise our plans and seek planning permission so that we’re ready to go when our essential maintenance has finished.

The history of the Frameyard

Our walled gardens are now world-famous for displaying the national collection of old-fashioned roses, first introduced by the horticulturalist and rosarian Graham Stuart Thomas in the 1970s. Until the early twentieth-century, however, these gardens were used for the production of fruit, vegetables and flowers for the house.

The area which we're looking to develop has seen many transformations over the years. The historic footprint dates back to at least the 17th Century.

A hothouse and greenhouse were installed here in the early 19th Century; a detailed account in The Gardener from 1869 illustrates the acclaimed productivity of this area.

In the early 20th Century, all the freestanding glasshouses here had been demolished, with only glass frames against the north wall remaining.

The gardens were generally still cultivated, however. Records show that the walled gardens continued to function as kitchen gardens throughout the Second World War, producing fresh produce for Mottisfont and the neighbouring community.

Maud Russell gave Mottisfont to the National Trust in 1957, but she continued to live in the house until 1972. She retained the walled gardens as her private space, and continued using this area to produce vegetables.

But it was in a poor state, and once Mrs Russell relocated in 1972, this area was initially converted into a car park, whilst the other walled gardens became the home of an eminent rose collection.

During the early 1970s, Graham Stuart Thomas did recommend that a collection of tea roses and climbing roses be planted to improve this area, but these plans were never realised.

The visitor car park moved in 1985, and this area was used to accommodate catering and retail outlets. In recent years, it has served as simply a stopping place for refreshment and convenience before entering the celebrated rose gardens.

But this current state is doing a disservice to its past importance and significance. Thanks to your donations, we are now looking to re-interpret this space, inspired by its productive past.