Summer in the garden at Mottisfont

Wide flower borders full of colour in gravel path in the middle

Colourful herbaceous borders in the walled gardens provide changing displays until September following peak rose season. Late and repeat-flowering roses continue to bloom over the next few months, and richly-scented lavender attracts swathes of bees and butterflies.

Two deep flower beds border two sides of the historic central pathway in our walled gardens. These gardens were chosen to house the National Collection of old-fashioned roses by Graham Stuart Thomas in the 1970s. While many of these bloom just once a year, in early summer, the herbaceous borders showcase colour until early autumn.   

The plants here were chosen for their structure, scent and wide colour palette. Agapanthus, geraniums and peonies mingle with pinks, lilies, phlox and nepeta. The centres of the borders are a mass of soft blues, pinks and whites, whilst stronger yellows, oranges and dark pinks draw your eye along the length of the border.

Lavender lines the pathways and, outside of the walled gardens, edges the north lawn behind the house. Pause beside the purple flowers to take in the scent and listen out for the hum of busy bees.

Lavender in the walled gardens
Lavender bordering pathways in the walled garden at Mottisfont, Hampshire
Lavender in the walled gardens

Meanwhile, following the full rose display of early summer, some late and repeat-flowering varieties continue to bloom.

Most of the old-fashioned types only flower once a year and afterwards, produce ornamental fruit or ‘hips', which, as well as brightening the garden in autumn, provide local birds with an important source of winter food. For this reason, the gardeners don't tend to deadhead these unique roses.

For repeat flowering roses the team remove the spent blooms by cutting the stem back to a healthy new bud which will encourage them to keep flowering.

The river walk

You can escape the summer heat with a stroll on tree-lined pathways along the River Test, which runs through our grounds. Look out for brown trout as they bask in sunny spots, and ducks or swans gliding over the water's surface.