This long pergola with brick pillars and timber beams is clothed with some beautifully trained rambling and climbing roses. Beautiful monsters like Rosa filipes Kiftsgate ought to swamp the entire structure and much else besides but with the love and careful treatment these specimens are given, a multitude of flowers hug the cross beams and yet the sky is still visible. I’ve been here in winter and taken note of the placing and pruning of the bare stems – there will be a gallery within these pages I’m certain.
While it proves that even the largest of roses can be tamed, with great effort and skill, not every garden has the structure, time or the right gardener to accomplish this feat. Therefore enjoy them here in this beautiful setting, with the family beds running off perpendicular to the pergola, where disparate members of the same plant family (some unexpected family connections) are put side by side, as at a wedding, or forced Christmas Party….
This structure can be found past the woodland glade, overlooked by the Temple of Aeolus on its mount, in the midst of the family beds, and punctuated by the vegetable garden ‘Kew on a Plate’ at the far end. Kew Road bounds one side of the enclosure and the tall wall with the Salvia Border on the opposite side, the other boundary.
A couple of wobbly videos here now, birdsong and planes providing the soundtrack, though the second walk back down pergola was interrupted by some oncoming traffic!
Meanwhile in the Rose Garden in the lee of the Palm House, a riot of colour and fragrance with a mix of species, wild roses, Old Roses and modern confections from David Austin in particular.
From the Austin camp, there are roses of all shapes and sizes, with flowers that are single, semi-double, and double, Old Fashioned and Peony-formed. The Lady’s Blush is impossibly delicate, Sally Holmes has such a congestion of large single flowers on huge canes that it resembles a hydrangea; Morning Mist while single is a bold rose with a range of bright oranges and reds, fading quickly and rather attractively – it is one of my favourites; James Galway has reflexed petals giving the effect of a gymkhana rosette while England’s Rose is small but bright and again fades to give a lovely array of colours – Benjamin Britten is the brightest red-orange with a silvered reverse to each petal and is a showstopper – a brilliant rose on which to turn a colour scheme in a mixed border – pinks and softer blues perhaps leading up to it – hot pigments with contrasting purples after.
Rosa mulliganii, the first rose in the gallery, is a beautiful monster of a plant with large open creamy white flowers with central boss of golden stamens – the fragrance is of cloves and vanilla – think Dianthus. Here, as a freestanding specimen, it is a mountain of flower and fragrance. It is the same rose that adorns the slim tracery of the frame at the centre of the White Garden at Sissinghurst Castle, where it must have a much stricter treatment!