No wars between our roses, as Amanda shares some secrets

5 Jul
Rosa mundi and cat mint mingle

Fragrant: Rosa mundi and cat mint mingle in the rose bed

The smell in the garden at this time of year is utterly sublime – an intoxicating mixture of roses, herbs and lilies. The heady fragrance wafting over the paths is a real treat – and the view is beautiful too.

Amanda grows 19 varieties of heritage roses, spread throughout the garden. Each one smells subtly different, adding a fabulous new level to its sensory appeal. Often, she tells me, heritage roses have a deeper perfume than modern ones, which makes up for the fact that the majority have only one flush of flowers.

There are two roses she deliberately keeps apart to prevent arguments: the red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York. Both are doing very well this year in their separate beds. When pressed, she will admit that Rosa alba maxima, the white rose, is her favourite of the two, because of its truly glorious scent.

While we were chatting, she told me a fascinating historical fact … the rose was a traditional emblem for silence and secrets, often used on ceiling plasterwork, wooden panelling and other decoration in old buildings. So next time you look up and see one, you could be in a room that was used for private meetings or even plots!

She also whispered to me that her very favourite rose in the whole garden is Rosa mundi, a luscious pink and white striped variety that dates back to the 12th century, when it was named after King Henry II’s mistress, sweet Rosamund. Isn’t that lovely!


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