The beginning of June is when the roses start to come into bloom and the last of the spring flowers come to an end. But I was lucky enough to straddle the seasons at Kew Gardens last week, as the rose garden behind the Palm House came into bloom while the rhododendron dell was still full of flowers. Bit of a win-win.
The rhododendron dell is tucked away behind the Minka house with its surrounding forest of bamboo. Though it was late in the season for rhododendron there was still plenty of colour to be seen.
The roses, on the other hand, give a promise of glories to come.
One of the things I like about Kew is the way they lable all their plants so if you see one you like you can note the name for later. Roses that caught my eye were the deep pink Princess Anne.
Lightly scented The Herbalist with flowers ranging from pale to deep pink.
Rather pedestrianly named for such a lovely rose is Wisley 2008.
Peach, apricot and coral coloured Lady of Shalott, named for the Tennyson Society to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s birth in 1809.
White Kew Gardens, an unusual thornless rose with small single flowers grouped together in large heads rather like a hydrangea. It was named in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Kew Gardens in 2009.
All these roses are from David Austin – not surprisingly as they were responsible for replanting the Kew rose garden with a mixture of English Roses, Old Roses and other shrub roses, as part of a three-year project, begun in 2009, to return the Palm House Parterres to William Nesfield’s original 1845 design. Nesfield planted the area with evergreens, including yews, euonymus and golden holly. It was converted to a rose garden, planted with six thousand roses in 113 beds, in 1923.
The Palm House was designed by Decimus Burton and engineered by Richard Tanner. Completed in 1848, it’s considered to be the most important surviving Victorian iron and glass structure in the world.
The height of the rose season comes in June and July, but they can often go on flowering until well into late autumn, depending on the weather. So there’s plenty of time to visit Kew and take a look.