The last day of June and I won’t mention the r..n

Well, here I am feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep and ready to tour you round the joys of the Mottisfont Abbey walled garden.

We lived in Hampshire for 7 years, within a few miles of this garden, and never visited. We had small children and jobs and it just was one of those places we never quite got round to. I’m glad I waited, because this was one of those lovely first experiences, enjoyed on a lovely summer day.
We drove south from our house, chasing a torrential storm that left the roads flooded in places, but fabulous skyscapes, deep blue stretches with silver light clouds, black thunderheads and wonderful freshly washed light.

Mottisfont Abbey is a National Trust property. Today we didn’t go inside the Abbey, founded in 1201, but straight to the fabulous walled garden, formerly where the monks raised the vegetables and herbs to supply the community’s needs. Think Cadfael. It is now home to the National collection of old-fashioned shrub roses. The peak of the flowering was early this season, and many of the varieties had finished their floral explosion, but the perennials and the roses still in flower were stunning. And the scent of some of those roses was heavenly.

There are so many rose varieties that I cannot name many of the ones I photographed, but a couple I memorised. The ones I really want. There were perennials too, in abundance, some I know and some unknown. I was bowled over by the magnificence of these summer borders and am busy making notes and researching plants that are just coming into their own for use in my own garden.

As well as being walled by old red bricks, the garden is divided into 4 sections by box or lavender hedges, and each of those sections has a lawned area within it.

A pathway edge by a carpet of low perennials, including lambs ears, Stachys lanata.

…and the edge of a bed with lavender , then veronica and more lambs ears….

And a lawned area, with red brick walls in the background..

The perennials beds are very wide, allowing large specimens, such as 9 foot high Cardoons, clumps of Achillea 6 feet high and6 feet across, plantings of Turk’s cap lilies to flourish.

And those perennial beds are planted in profusion, colour themed although there is a general pink, lilac and blue theme with other colours featured in different sections of the garden.

Within these beds there are individual plants that take your breath away…

Sea hollies-Eryngium species…

Scabious …

an unknown member of the onion family…

..and the newly emerging Agapanthus..

Within the beds, and complementing the roses fabulously were a huge variety of are just 2. I know this to be “Sour grapes”-a lovely plant despite the name…

..I don’t know this one….
….but look at this for a combination I love but would never have tried..until I saw it here…

Which brings me to just some of the roses. That rose above is a sweetbriar called La Belle Distinguee, and that glowing colour is real. I loved it. The next 2 are more traditionally pink..

And this rambler is most definitely lilac, growing on a north wall.I memorised it’s name yesterday..but that was yesterday and now I’ve forgotten…..!

…but the prize for unusual has to be Rosa chinensis viridiflora-the green rose. The colour is from the sepals, not the petals. I’m not sure about it-I think I love it. It smells of pepper! Each flower is about an inch across and the whole bush only about 2 feet tall.

And this is the one I am going to have to buy-Rosa Mundi (Rosa versicolour)-the rose of the world. It is also known as Fair Rosamond’s rose, and is said to have been named after Rosamond Clifford , the mistress of Henry II. It os very, very old.

I took nearly 200 pictures in all, so this is just a small section. I hope you have enjoyed the sights and can imagine the scents of sweet rose and lavender and honeysuckle. It was a wonderful day. I found a good website about old rose here
and more about Mottisfont can be found here.
And now I need a nice cup of tea. My garden picture will appear later.


One thought on “The last day of June and I won’t mention the r..n

  1. Thank you SO much! I know that posts like this with all the pictures do take time…

    What an experience for you! Loved your description of the drive down…and I think I would possibly have fainted away once I stepped inside those walls. I love the wide beds with the huge perennials and that amazing sea urchin plant. I am quite sure the roses would have overcome me…especially within those ancient walls, knowing how many centuries of cultivation had gone on within them.

    I will have to check out the abbey site. I thought all of them were destroyed by the religious/political upheavals that began with the advent of the Church of England….

    Thanks again, Judith, this is wonderful….

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