Hever Castle is famous for growing roses. It has more than 4,000 of them.
So I asked head gardener, Neil Miller for his best tips on growing roses in our own middle-sized gardens.
Hever Castle is best known as the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s fated second wife. It’s believed he first saw her in her father’s garden at Hever. There is no trace left of those gardens, however.
The current gardens were created at vast expense by ‘America’s richest man’, William Waldorf Astor, who moved to Britain and bought Hever Castle in 1903. He allegedly spent a million pounds on the gardens, which would be worth around £110 million today. This included a man-made lake, which took 800 men two years to dig out.
He built a huge orangery, with classical pillars. Today this is a rose garden, open to the elements. A pretty pink rambling rose called ‘American Pillar’ twines itself round the classical columns that once held up the glass roof.
More roses, grapevines and wisteria line walkways and colonnades, flanked by Astor’s collection of statuary. Hever Castle is now a hotel and venue, with the gardens and lake open to the public.
How to choose roses for our own gardens
Neil says that the first thing to consider is where the rose is going to go, because that will affect your decision more than anything.
Then ask yourself if that spot is shady or sunny.
And do you want a rose going up a wall or a pergola? If so, you have to decide between a climber and a rambling rose.
A climber has large single flowers on stems which you can train against a wall. Many climbers are repeat flowerers.
A rambling rose is often very vigorous, with clusters of small flowers. Check how big it’s likely to grow as some can cover huge distances. Ramblers usually only flower once, for a few weeks a year.
Do you want a hybrid tea or a floribunda?