Nymans Rose Garden

Tom Whalley, Gardener Tom Whalley Gardener
Rose arches at Nymans, West Sussex

Nymans Rose Garden contains old-fashioned varieties, as well as modern shrubs, English Roses and ramblers. The former vary in flower from delicate single blooms to densely-petalled clusters, and from the richly toned to the softly tinted, all imbued with a distinctive fragrance and many flowering just once.

Enjoy time in the garden this summer.
People enjoying a picnic on the lawn
Enjoy time in the garden this summer.

Open Evenings in June

Every Friday in June we'll be opening from 6pm - 8.30pm so you can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the garden in the evening light. Bring a picnic to share with friends and family, visit the Rose Garden where perfume from the scented roses punctuates the air or book on a tour with one of the gardeners. Head to the croquet lawn where you can enjoy a traditional game of croquet. Tickets for the tour are limited and available at reception on arrival. The kiosk in the tea garden will be open for drinks and ice-creams. Normal admission applies. No need to book.

The rose garden in bloom
The rose garden in bloom
The rose garden in bloom

Rose Garden

Modern shrub roses flower repeatedly and are often more vivid in hue, whilst David Austin (English) roses combine aspects of both old and new, together with disease resistance and a broad colour palette. The ramblers bloom once in pendant sprays followed by hips.

With over 600 rose bushes representing around 115 varieties, it's no surprise that their scent carries a long way throughout the garden, particularly on a warm summer's day when the flowers are heated gently by the sun.

The highly perfumed rose garden
Visitor smelling the roses
The highly perfumed rose garden

Fragrant Posies

A rose garden was created by Maud Messel in the 1920s as part of her romantic vision for the planting schemes to surround the medieval style house. She filled it with herbs and old-fashioned roses, sourcing many of the plants from gardening friends, swapping cuttings and plants from a variety of rare species. Subtle rose perfumes punctuate the air on approach, but inside the yew-sheltered garden itself the aromas combine to grow heady and visitors can be seen chasing a particular bouquet to its source. All our roses are scented in varying degrees, but perhaps the most distinctive (and certainly most popular) is ‘Jude the Obscure’ with its powerful, almost lemony musk.

Nymans Rose Garden
Nymans Rose Garden
Nymans Rose Garden

Design

The Rose Garden beds are positioned to create a pleasing symmetry and a feeling of order, contained as they are within a tightly clipped circular yew hedge. The formality is softened, however, by the more relaxed and romantic nature of the under-planting, featuring leafy, floriferous and long-lasting plants such as geraniums, nepeta (catmint) and lavender - plants whose foliage gives off a pleasant smell when brushed against. Additionally, late-flowering clematis and honeysuckle grow happily throughout the summer on the tall metal columns.

Nymans rose garden sculpture
The rose garden fountain
Nymans rose garden sculpture

Fountain

The fountain at the centre of the garden, sculpted by Vivian ap Rhys Pryce, was commissioned in 1989 by Anne, the Countess of Rosse and Alistair Buchanan, the Messel family representative. Once the garden was complete, it was officially opened by Lady Frances Armstrong-Jones, Maud's granddaughter.

Rose 'Jude the Obscure'
Rose 'Jude the Obscure'
Rose 'Jude the Obscure'

Rose Care

We remove spent blooms from repeat-flowering roses but leave some once-flowering roses to produce autumn hips – particularly ‘Complicata’ and the ramblers. Long new rambler growth is tied up for future use, whilst fertilising after the first flush helps repeat-flowering roses perform. We also remove and burn any diseased leaf material and trim the geraniums and nepeta (catmint) as they grow scruffy, leaving the lavender to flower.

Sit for a while on one of the benches, soak up the sunshine and breathe in the essence of summer, all the while listening to the play of water from the fountain and the birdsong from the trees in the surrounding garden.