Despite their Asian origins, there is something so English about roses that they have become the cornerstone of many of our gardens, large and small. There are perhaps none so evocative, or heart stoppingly beautiful, as old roses. Join Victoria Nye, owner of Cadenham Manor, where over 70 varieties of old roses cascade and climb:
A closer look
This glorious four acre garden comprises a series of rooms around a listed manor and dovecote. Divided by yew hedges and moats, the garden’s rooms are furnished with specimen trees, mixed borders and stunning displays of old roses, plus fountains and statues to focus the eye. But it is the old roses that steal your heart. The garden and its roses were nurtured by the present owner’s grandmother Elizabeth Blackwell between 1945-2000. It was Elizabeth who planted over 70 varieties of old rose from the vigorous climber Scarlet Fire to the cascading, fragrant blooms of Cecile Brunner, this is a garden for anyone who loves roses – and to convert those that don’t.
Looking after your old European roses
Gallicas, Centifolias, Albas, Portlands, Bourbons, Damasks, Mosses and Hybrid Perpetuals. “We look after them very carefully as they are not only old varieties, but old specimens,” says owner Victoria Nye. “These are my top tips:
- Healthy soil, mulching with home grown compost and rose feed early in growing season, plus a second feed after flowering
- Prune gently but firmly – early spring ie. not much off the ends, but selectively taking out old branches
- Vigilant hygiene to reduce the risk of black spot and using organic sprays to reduce likelihood of insect damage
“My bible for identifying the roses has been Charles Quest-Ritson and the RHS Encyclopedia of Roses which he co-authored with his wife Brigid back in 2003. However, the unnamed rose above has eluded us all. If anyone can identify / name / prove a match for the unnamed rose do let us know.”
To find out when the garden next opens click here
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