Queen Mary’s Garden in Regent’s Park is famous for its roses. I went there last week with a Japanese friend, who wanted to see real English roses on her visit to the UK, just as we want to see cherry blossom in Japan. The roses were so lovely I decided to post some pictures here for you to enjoy too. And I’ve also added a post on the top five rose gardens in London in case you want to find some more roses.
The garden is named after Queen Mary, who was the wife of King George V. She was the present queen’s grandmother and lived to see her ascend the throne but died just before the coronation in 1953. Queen Mary officially opened the gardens to the public in 1932; the first superintendent of the garden planted the rose garden, which was completed in 1934. It now has London’s largest collection of roses with approximately 12,000 plants including eighty-five single variety beds.
It’s not just roses – the Delphinium border around the central circle has full National Collection status.
What I like best about it is the way it combines the formal, academic planting of the single variety beds with the romantic charm of climbing roses around the circular borders and vistas of green lawns and a quiet lake beyond.
There are seats carefully placed among the roses for a quiet enjoyment of the view. Unfortunately I can’t bring you the scent of the roses – but it’s fascinating how much the scent varies between varieties.
The garden is situated just inside the Inner Ring of Regent’s Park. It’s currently guarded by Stephen the elephant, made from over three thousand plants from a range of species including Echeveria, Ajuga, Sedum and Alternanthera.
If you enter the park through the south-east entrance you can walk up along the Broad Walk and admire the magnificent High Victorian-style bedding schemes with fountains and ornaments laid out by the leading garden designer of the day, William Nesfield, in 1864, then enter through the magnificent Chester Gate.
Regent’s Park opens from 5:00 am all year round. The roses are still in bloom, though some are a little past their best. (The ideal time to go is in June) You can take a picnic (yes, they’re allowed) and spend the whole day in the park in the sunshine.