Not much was expected from the visit; it was simply to purchase a rose which bore our granddaughter’s name but it became a most enjoyable day.
Rosa ‘Olivia Rose Austin’ is what drew us to David Austin Roses near Stoke-on-Trent while we were on a garden visiting holiday in England and we expected our visit to be purely a practical one – a visit to purchase – and then we could move on quickly. We did realise there was a garden to exhibit the Austin roses but we were not prepared for its extent nor its beauty.
The entrance to the garden is through the shop and opens immediately to an area given to growing roses in pots, something I had not previously thought of doing and am unlikely to do in the future but it did demonstrate that such was possible and the method could be successfuly used by those who gardened where it provided the only option for growing a rose.
We progressed to the Long Garden which is geometric in layout, a central wide brick pathway with two narrower pathways running parallel and rose beds to either side of these pathways backed by yew hedges, and rose arches at intervals along the length of the walk. My first impression was of how wonderful a garden had been created using just one species of plant. The beds were full, the plants healthy and the colour and fragrance simply fabulous.
The Species Garden was at the far end of this first garden and lead one to the Victorian Garden, circular in design and equally packed with colour and fragrance. The Renaissance Garden featured a central canal leading to an impressive portico which provided a pleasantly shady and cool seating area from which to look backwards over the canal and rose beds. Though still only mid-morning the temperature was in the high 20sC and continued to climb to the low 30s later that day.
The Pergola Garden separated the Renaissance Garden from the Lion Garden. This latter was the only area where other plants were used in conjunction with the roses and after the splendour of the earlier sections I found this a muddle – the simplicity of the rose planting had won me over with its beauty, colour and fragrance.
The plant sales area was an example that others in the retail trade could profitable imitate as it was so tastefully laid out, perfectly clearly labelled and had knowledgeable and helpful staff on standby to assist.
We have brought home three beautiful plants of Rosa ‘Olivia Rose Austin’ which will remind us of our beautiful granddaughter and of a most enjoyable garden we visited.
Finally, a few roses which were especially beautiful on the day of our visit: