Andrew Wilson’s design for the new Rose Garden at Savill Garden – it is fabulous!

Cantilevered platform over highly perfumed roses

Andrew’s spiral design cleverly winds multiple pathways inwards towards the central feature – a wooden walkway arching over the roses narrowing

to a steel Titanic-like prow.  The roses are  selected to become darker and more strongly scented as the centre is approached and the raised platform,

with grating underfoot, affords a perfumed panorama.

Andrew Wilson’s spiral design

The design has the look of a half open rose itself to me – overlapping petals with dark centre encouraging a nose towards the scent within – some

have compared it to a spinning planet with vapour trails, see what you come up with – but do go and see for yourself!

Rose gardens are often fairly dull and the Rose itself is not a beautiful plant - the blooms are beautiful for a few weeks but uninspiring for the rest of the year.

This design, though limited to Roses with the embellishment of flowering grasses for the autumn, will provide interest in itself for keen gardeners,

amateurs and families alike.  Pathways have different textured and coloured surfaces, the spiral is grounded by curved blocks of clipped yew which mirror

the adjacent Queen’s Jubilee garden and contain the space without enclosure.  Plenty of resting places are provided (though without backs perhaps to discourage long stay

visitors) and I sat happily beside ‘Jude the Obscure’ gazing at ‘Cornelia’.

Jude the Obscure

There are a total of 2,500 plants in the scheme but only 28 varieties ranging from white to deep burgundy red in the spiral and cream to soft

apricot near the herbaceous borders.  The varieties were chosen for their health and vigour, strong perfume and to flower all summer long

- the provenance of each rose is specified on the label in the garden with many from the David Austin nursery as identified below.  I don’t intend

to advertise for David Austin but the website is excellent and one of the world’s leading online resources of information about roses  

The key to the scheme

Some of my favourites are Sceptre’d Isle, winner of several awards in the UK and Germany, and possessing a classic English Rose scent.

Sceptre’d Isle

William Shakespeare is the richest velvety crimson with a warm Old Rose fragrance.

William Shakeaspeare

Lady Emma Hamilton has deep red buds opening to a delightful peachy tangerine and the foliage is bronzy green.

Glamis castle – pure white.

Gertrude Jekyll, voted the nations favourite by BBC viewers in 2006, is perfect!  Large rosette flowers and rich pink colour with very strong

quintessential rose perfume here en masse behind the bench.

This area of the garden has been dedicated to roses since the 1950s and normally one would not replace roses with new roses for fear of

‘rose sickness’.  Clever project management swapped the soil from the lawn areas with the soil from the rose beds so the new planting went into clean soil – enriched with tons

of compost of course and roots dipped in Rootgrow mycorrhizal gel to give them a flying start.  The success is evident

– the plants are in rude health and bursting with bloom and vigour!

Curving pathways lead to the central platform

This week Savill Garden celebrates ‘The Rose’  with an assortment of rose related events – see the website for details 

and even has a rose themed menu in the restaurant, a brass band at the weekend and opera on Friday evening – let’s hope it stays fine!

Savill Garden is always worth a visit anyway and the bog garden is looking spectacular with masses of Primula, Hemerocallis and Iris.

The bog garden

Giant Himalayan Lily already over 2m tall

Deep in the woodland is a giant in waiting -  Cardinocrinum giganteum – the unusual and giant Himalayan lily  which takes 5-7 years to produce an

enormous 6-10ft high flowering spike of scented white flowers.  I keep going to see if it is open yet…just a couple more weeks now I think!