Rose garden at Hever Castle
As a general rule I could not be less fussed about rose gardens. I don’t have anything against roses, I just don’t like a monoculture of them. It does nothing for me – it harks back to a dated way of gardening that doesn’t seem relevant anymore, they frequently seem beset with problems, are high in maintenance and resources and I often find them hugely disappointing. Having said all that, I really enjoyed the walled rose garden at Hever Castle when I was there in mid-September. It was warm, sunny and still, the sweet aroma of the blooms accosted you as you entered, it was looking rather magnificent, abundant and healthy. It was difficult not to be charmed.
The two roses that I particularly loved were Rosa Rhapsody in Blue (‘Frantasia’) – a tall floribunda with gorgeous purple blooms that fade to blue-purple and is beautifully perfumed; and R. Super Trouper (‘Fryleyeca’) – a mid-height, eye-poppingly bright orange floribunda (I seem to be really drawn to orange at the moment for some reason!).