Monday, July 31, 2017

Somehow July is already over and I’ve tried to find the time to write this new blog post about summer roses in London.

Here in London, our summer weather has been basically crap. We had a couple hot days in June and July, but generally the skies like to remain gray, often rainy, with temps only in the low 20s C (around 70F).

Still, I’ve found time to get around on my precious days off to explore some of London’s beautiful gardens. Did you know that London’s land includes nearly 6% of park and garden space, with eight Royal Parks, and a total of 47% of Greater London is considered green space (according to the Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC, 2015)?

The Brits seem to love their roses and I’ve found quite a few garden spots to recommend for you. Peak bloom time for roses is June and July, but I found some blooming as early as May and some still going strong in late July. With our cooler weather, I’m sure some of these rose gardens still will be blooming in August.

1. Queen Mary’s Rose Garden
Situated in the heart of Regent’s Park, the Queen Mary’s Garden is home to the largest collection of roses in London – a staggering 12,000 roses to be exact! The world-famous gardens, named after the wife of King George V (the grandson of Queen Victoria), opened in 1932. Today, they feature more than 85 single varieties – from classic to the more modern English roses, including one called the “Royal Parks” rose.

If you’re a romantic at heart, plan ahead like some of the couples I saw here and bring a picnic blanket, some nibbles, and of course, some bubbly.

2. The Rose Garden at Hyde Park
With as widespread as Hyde Park is you could easily miss The Rose Garden, located in the southeast corner of the park, south of Serpentine Road near Hyde Park Corner. Opened in 1994, the garden was designed by Colvin and Moggridge Landscape Architects in the shape of horns sounding one's arrival into Hyde Park. I’m not sure if I could figure out that design, but the summery gardens are lovely!

Here, you’ll find several different varieties of roses, especially some wild roses that smell amazing, mixed in with hollyhocks, columbines, statice and more. The mix of flowers reminded me of the gardens both my mother and my grandmothers had when I was a child growing up in the Midwest.

3. Holland Park by the Orangery
Formerly part of the grounds of Holland House, Holland Park incorporates the remains of 17th, 18th and 19th-century park and gardens, which originally covered 500 acres. Following restorations and repairs after World War II, the grounds opened as a public park in 1952 and contain several formal and informal gardens. Next to the Orangery, found in the southwest corner of the park, you’ll find wonderful wisteria blooms in the spring and bountiful rose blossoms in summer. Stop at a nearby café and bring a take-away lunch to enjoy in the gardens.

4. Hampton Court Palace
Before you even set foot into Hampton Court Palace, you’ll find a lovely walled garden complete with formal rose beds set amongst green lawns and beautiful statues. I couldn’t find any history about these gardens, but the best thing is they are free to visit! However, I highly recommend visiting the entire palace including the 60 acres of spectacular formal gardens within the palace’s walls. During the past year, I’ve visited the palace three times with visitors and once by myself.

5. Kew Gardens
I love going to Kew Gardens during any season, especially when I get to see the free-roaming peacocks! Did you know that Kew is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site?  Kew has a formal Rose Garden by the Plantation House as well as a beautiful rose-filled archway in the gardens that contain 102 separate beds of plants and flowers.

6. Morden Hall Park
Back in mid-June, I ventured to Morden Hall Park in zone 3, and I didn’t even feel like I was in London anymore. I took a quirky little tram from Wimbledon to the Phipps Bridge stop and then stepped across the tracks into a giant open field. Was I really in London?

Morden Hall Park is a National Trust park, located on the banks of the River Wandle in south London, covering more than 50 hectacres of parkland. Once home to a fancy manor house and deer park, a 2.5 acre rose garden was added around 1921. It is believed that Morden Hall rose garden represents a very unusual example of an inter-war period rose garden, featuring a design well ahead of its time with 48 irregular rectangle and circular beds of roses. The National Trust is in the process of trying to re-create that historical garden, and I simply think they’ve done a good job as the roses are spectacular!
You can easily make a whole day or at least an afternoon by strolling through the Morden park, having lunch at The Potting Shed café, which served a delicious seasonal soup, and the attached greenhouse and garden store.

Don’t forget to take time to stop and smell the roses!

My Traveling Joys

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Alan said...

Ahhh! Recently back from ten days in UK - it rained every day, sheer bliss!!!

BacktoBodrum said...

Amazing that all these photos were taken in a capital city