Death by Roses

If you HAD to choose…can you think of a more wonderful way to die than being smothered by roses? For that is the only way I can describe the collection of roses in Charlotte Wemyss’s walled garden – a smothering… and it quite literally is one of the most beautiful “smotherings” I have ever seen! The colours and aromas are intoxicating…

15 years ago when Charlotte started working in the garden, it was simply a 6-acre field surrounded by a wall.  An amazing feat of gardening later and it is now unrecognisable as that same field. It is the ultimate fairytale secret garden full of herbaceous borders, a wild garden, a formal rose garden design to die for, old apple trees and walls playing host to clematis and climbing roses and blossom cascading throughout. The feeling that you really are somewhere special is palpable.

The garden is especially celebrated for its collection of Clematis and while I missed them at their peak, at the end of May, there are areas of the garden where they continue to thrive and Charlotte points out a few beauties to me: the Clematis ‘Caroline’ with it dusky pink, lovely form; the faded lilac Clematis ‘Parisienne’ – great to plant in pots or train up an obelisk and the pale blue Clematis ‘Cezanne’ which is also great for a pot.

There is no doubt however, that at the time of my visit in July, it is the roses that were enjoying their moment of glory. The trees and walls were literally dripping in different colours, shapes and aromas – the most beautiful large white Rosa mulliganii, the palest yellow Rosa ‘Wedding Day’ and the staggering shocking pink Rosa ‘American Pillar’ with its white centre.


Allium schubertii – firework of a flower and seedhead dries in place giving structure and interest into winter

Eremurus ‘White Beauty Favorite’  – foxtail lilies, good vertical accents, keep crown of the plant in sun if possible to maximise number of flowering shoots

Echium ‘Blue Bedder’ – great annual that when happy will self-seed and fill awkward gaps.  Beautiful intense sky blue colour and great for insects also

Gorgeous plant combo: Rosa ‘Fritz Nobis’ with Astrantia major ‘Claret’, delicate astrantias contrast beautifully with scented rose cups

Tritelia ‘Queen Fabiola’ – bulb with stary blue flowers & very little foliage.  Like a large but intense blue allium

This garden has definitely been a labour of love for Charlotte who treats inside these four walls as her ‘office’ and there is a definite feeling that the garden is ever evolving and as one gap opens up where a tree has fallen is swiftly replaced with the next project.  This garden will always be overflowing with flowers, colour, character and charm.