Roses in an Arts & Crafts garden

Formal bed of red and white roses in the South Terrace

Roses were the pinnacle of an Arts & Crafts garden, the English rose was a symbol of Tudor and Medieval England and spoke of the nostalgia of this idyllic past.

" Of all the flowers which repay the provision of a separate garden and individual treatment, the rose by popular consent has first and unquestioned claims to special consideration"
- Thomas Mawson, The Art & craft of garden making

Roses at Wightwick pre-date Mawson's involvement with designing the garden, we know that 400 roses were planted on a single occasion in the 1890's. Its not clear where these beds of roses would have been as the garden has changed so much since those early days when Thoedore and Flora laid out the garden to their own design.

However when Mawson took over the half completed plans of Alfred Parsons in 1905 he used roses to set off the focal areas of the formal garden and the terrace with its wooden balustrade. The roses which bloom here now are 'Ingrid Bergmann' with its deep passion red, 'Constance Finn' and 'Iceberg' which is strikingly white.

The eight beds of roses you walk through on the path towards the house we're restored in 2012, the diamond jubilee year of Elizabeth II, which is why why chose 'Queen Elizabeth' as one of the varieties to plant. This planting scheme is very clear in old photographs of the area, although at that time there wasn't a yew hedge on the top of the wall.

The roses beds below the terrace wall are really clear in this old photograph
Old photograph shows red beds in front of house

Climbing roses are also a feature of the garde; the yellow Banksia rose grows around the Drawings room south bay; rosa glauca is to the right of the front door. 'Parkdirektor Riggers' grows up the posts in the formal garden and 'Gertrude Jekyl' always makes a trip to the kitchen garden worthwhile.

The semi-circular beds around the arbour in the formal garden are normally planted with roses, however over the past few years these have struggled to grow. After some advice from the experts at David Austin roses, just up the road from us, we have removed all the plants this year, will give the soil a year off and test it for its nutrient levels. Instead of roses this year we have sweet peas and bedding plants.

If you feel inspired by our roses we have a range of plants by the world famous David Austin roses for sale in our shop, including many varieties growing in the garden.