2 acres of paradise? david austin roses at their albrighton nursery & gardens – the best display in years methinks!

This comment and these photos were from June last year – one of the hottest days of the year but following a decidedly cool Spring. I’m preparing to head back there this Thursday to see what the chill spring and decidedly wet summer that we’ve been enjoying ‘down South’ has done to their eponymous gardens in Shropshire.

The Long Garden, Lion Garden, Victorian Garden and The Renaissance Gardens at David Austin’s home ground at Albrighton in Shropshire (2015). The site is home to these magnificent 2-acre gardens, their extensive plant centre, shop and restaurant as well as the business-end of things, the breeding glasshouses and trial beds, the production nursery for all of the potted and bare-root plants and the offices, delivery warehouses and thank fully, considerably chilled warehouses – it was a warm day yesterday when I was a guest of David Austin and given a tour around the whole operation. Bliss!

The Long Garden is essentially that, running the full length of the gardens with paths leading off into other gardens or office, or Mr Austin’s house. Brick pillared pergolas criss-cross the gardens with curtains of climbing and rambling roses almost obscuring the architecture. The Renaissance Garden features a black-watered canal and covered Loggia, with successive banks of roses framed by box hedging. The Lion Garden, with the feature sculpture by David Austin’s late wife, Pat (whose pieces dot the gardens), is the only garden where there are either standard roses or herbaceous planting mixed in with the roses. The Victorian Garden is circular, with wide concentric grass paths and a kaleidoscope of roses on the walls and, well, everywhere.

There are three member of the permanent gardening team, though they have four extra folk helping with the deadheading just now – and they are doing an excellent job!

The Patio Garden showcases how their English Roses can be grown in large containers – some of these plants are in their 6th year with no change of compost. A mix of John Innes and peat compost is a wise growing medium while regular watering is essential and additional feeding, which will keep them looking their best. Two of the new introductions for 2015/16, Desdemona and The Ancient Mariner are already potted up and looking well.

Imogen, Bathsheba and Roald Dahl join the family this year and I’ll look forward to seeing mature specimens of them in the gardens this week (of course I might well have seen them in the trial beds last year – and walked past quite unknowing.

Details of this next visit  – and photos – to follow and I hope we have a dry day for the proceedings (last year was so hot I remember our group delaying the tour in one of the chilled warehouses. I suspect we won’t have that problem this time around.

In the meantime, enjoy this vast gallery from 2015.