Sunday, October 5, 2014

Mottisfont Abbey - a Rose Lover's Paradise III

As my own garden is struggling with yet another heat wave and everything seems to look more and more dried out and yellow despite my ongoing efforts to keep things watered, I find myself longing for the lush gardens of England. It occurred to me, that I promised a third part of my series about the Rose Gardens at Mottisfont Abbey a long, long time ago.

So I thought treating myself by writing another post about this extraordinary rose garden and browsing through the literally hundreds of photos that I took there at our visit, now already two years ago. I would be very glad, if this post would bring some joy to you, my dear readers, as well.

We had just entered the second walled garden, when I spotted this incredible pretty gray-leaved humongous plant, which I was completely fascinated with. I assume, it is a cardoon.
Mottisfont Abbey contains three walled rose gardens. I wrote about the first walled garden in two previous posts already. You can find the links to them at the end of this one.

Unfortunately, many roses were not labeled in this part of the garden or the label was so grown in that you couldn't see it without stepping into the border, which, of course, I didn't do. That is a pity, because in the second walled garden, there were many Old Garden Roses, which are in general not so well known by a lot of people and some of the ones, which are growing in Mottisfont Abbey, are quite rare. As a matter of fact in this whole post I could only identify one rose for sure.

I loved the combination of this yellow rose, the white peony and the 'Lady's Mantle'.

At the time when we were visiting many peonies were in bloom and I was blown away by their beauty. 

The silver-gray leaves of the surrounding plants go particularly well with the white flowers of the peony.

This is another dazzling variety, which seem to glow from within.

So lovely!

The long vistas in the garden were quite impressive...

...and the huge borders simply absolutely stunning.

The plant combinations at Mottisfont Abbey Rose Gardens are so skillfully done. It is truly outstanding! Everywhere you look you find fascinating scenes to enjoy.

Another peony variety, that I found especially charming. I also like the combination with the delicate small white flowering plant very much. Does anyone of you know it?

The layering of the plants is so well done in this border. Mottisfont really made me fall in love with catmint (blue flowering plant in the middle of the foreground), which I grow now in my own garden. It is doing very well in Southern California, too.

A lovely rose, that I don't know the name of.

The climbing roses in this part of the garden were often of extraordinary beauty. Here they are spilling into the borders with abundance.

This white flowering clematis was also exquisite!

Many peony blooms were huge and...

...the plants were flowering generously.

This was one of my favorite borders planted along the brick walls. I think the color and plant combinations of mainly roses, foxgloves and irises are just perfect. 

Isn't this scene like coming directly out of a dream?

I had never seen an iris that dark blue/purple before. It looked almost black and had a fascinating satiny sheen.

Close-up of the iris from the photo above. The color was absolutely stunning!

Bearded irises and peonies did particularly well at Mottisfont. I wonder, if they treat them in a special way. This light blue bearded iris variety in the foreground was also a total eye-catcher. 

In this photo you can see, that all the evergreens like yew columns, boxwood hedges, green shrubs give the garden a calm backdrop. They also used quite rustic climbing structures for the roses at Mottisfont, which fit perfectly with the style of this garden.

Another light pink rose beauty. I wonder what the blue flowering companion plant is in the foreground. Any ideas?

I loved this delicate white flowering companion plant. Can anyone of you, dear readers, identify it?

The light pink flowering climbing rose at the wall is 'Blairii No. 1' (middle to the right side of the image), a climbing Bourbon rose bred by Blair, (United Kingdom, 1830).

Here is a close-up of the blooms of 'Blairii No. 1'. I think, that this is an outstandingly beautiful rose and the flower form and cool light pink color has a very special charm. It is supposed to have a very strong fragrance as well, which was impossible to verify for me, because I couldn't get close enough to this rose to smell it.

With this beauty I would like to end this post, but want to let you know that I have so many more interesting and rare roses to show from Mottisfont, that I will continue to blog about this great garden hopefully in the near future.

If you are interested in reading the previous parts of this series about Mottisfont Abbey Rose Gardens, please click on the links below:

Mottisfont Abbey - a Rose Lover's Paradise I
Mottisfont Abbey - a Rose Lover's Paradise II

Thanks for stopping by!

See you in the garden!



  1. Liebe Christina,
    ich liebe Pfingstrosen....lang ist es her und du weckst mit deinen Fotos Erinnerungen. Die rosa Rosen sind wunderschön. Vielen Dank für die tollen Fotos.
    Liebe Grüße von Stine

  2. Such a perfect garden ! I love those gorgeous borders. And the black iris ... a dark dream between the pink roses. Thank you, Christina ! Have a nice week, my friend !

  3. This post has convinced me that I must get back to England one of these days. Sigh ... the Roses are, of course, delicious. But also the Peonies and the Irises and the Foxgloves--wow! And the long vistas and mixed plantings are beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  4. They really do know how to put a border together don't they. Absolutely exquisite.

  5. This is another delightful post of a lovely garden!

    Thank you for taking the time to share your wonderful photos and memories of this trip to England.


  6. It's nice to be reacquainted with this garden again via a third dose from your blog. It's an exquisite English garden Christina!

  7. Thank you, Christina, for sharing your photos. A refreshing escape as the hot summer lingers on. Sorry I couldn't identify the flowers, although they do look familiar. Those peonies are really beautiful! Have a great week!

  8. Absolutely beautiful. No wonder the English garden is the golden standard for so many gardeners. Those peonies are AMAZING.

  9. Liebe Christina,

    eine herrliche Anlage, dort werden Rosenträume wahr und auch die Pfingstrosen sind schön anzusehen.

    Du hast unlängst nach der weißen Pflanze auf meinem September-Blickbild gefragt - das ist ein Herbstgras, dessen Namen ich nicht kenne (habe ein kleines Pflänzchen im Supermarkt gekauft) und es hat sich nicht so entwickelt wie ich gehofft habe. Ich wollte zarte feine Gräser - aber leider
    ist sie ganz anders und dominant geworden. Mal sehen wie es weitergeht, vielleicht darf sie dort nicht bleiben.

    Liebe Grüße,

  10. Einfach herrlich - ich mag diesen Garten. Eines deiner Bilder sieht fast exakt so aus wie eines der meinen.


  11. I want to close my eyes, just want to see again and again those beautiful roses! Such a lovely place and so interesting.
    thank you for sharing.

  12. Liebe Christina,
    was für ein herrlicher Garten wieder!
    Die Bilder sind zum Träumen schön :-)
    Die kleinen weißen Mützchen sind wirklich aus Ton.
    Da ist ein wenig Holzwolle drin - und es wohnen
    ein paar Ohrenkneifer drin :-) Sie sind nützlich und
    fressen Blattläuse und andere Schädlinge.
    Ganz viele liebe Herbstgrüße
    sendet dir die Urte :-)

  13. Dear Christina, I visited this garden last summer. It was stunning! I hope I can help you with the names. The peony pink/white is called Bowl of Beauty. It is a strong one, I grow this one for many years. The dark bearded Iris could be Night Ruler. Extra bonus, it scents like chocolate! Try to buy this one, also a very strong plant. Thanks for sharing the garden tour, it brings back memories. Groetjes from Holland,

    1. Dear Hetty, thanks for identifying the peony and the dark iris. That it smells like chocolate is an extra bonus :-)! Even though irises are a little bit iffy to grow for me, II will see if I can find that one in California. It is just to gorgeous for not at least give it a try!

  14. Wow, those gardens are amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  15. It's cold, dark, wet and windy outside - this post really did warm me up Christina. Wonderful!
    Beautiful gardens with so much going on, it's difficult not to be impressed with those borders.
    A couple of weeks ago, I moved my white peony found the back into the new white/pink/blue bed, I wish I had kept it where it was now - I could have it growing next to the newly planted R. Graham Thomas. I suppose I could always buy another.
    I have a similar peony, to the one you are trying to ID, for years thought was P. Bowl of Beauty but only this year asked my local nursery (peony specialist) for help and they seem to think it's P. Raspberry Sundae. Both are quite similar to the untrained eye - mine's that its!
    My favourite read of the day :)

  16. Thank you for the wonderful images and a reminder of a truly beautiful garden. I really meant to visit again this year at rose time, but time has passed me by again sadly. It's hard to tell from the photos but the small blue companion flowers "might" be Honesty? xx

  17. Es un hermoso jardín, me encanta. Feliz semana.

  18. The white daisy is Kallimeris pinnatifida, also known as False Aster and Double Japanese Aster.

    1. Ps also wanted to add that I think the pink and white peony may be Raspberry Sundae. I have that one and the flowers look like RS to me. I can't stop looking at this post! lol :)

    2. sweetbay, thank you so much for trying to identify some plants from the post for me! I have to research if I could grow the False Aster in Southern California. I just love that plant. I would be so delighted to be able to grow peonies, but know I simply can't. It is just too warm in the winter here. I sooo... envy you that you have Raspberry Sunday in our own garden.
      So sweet of you that you to came back to look at my post again, it makes me so happy!

  19. hallo Christina,

    was für herrliche Bilder. Ich bin im Moment dabei, viele kleine Ableger vom Fingerhut zwischen die Rosen zu pflanzen. Du zeigst ja ein Foto von dieser Kombination, ich finde sie wunderschön.

    Liebe Grüße

  20. There's pretty much nothing left in my autumn garden at the moment, so this was a real treat for my eyes :)

  21. English gardens are indeed the stuff that dreams are built on, Christina. That's the vision I always had for my garden but, with our drought intent on hanging on, I'm trying to adapt by replacing the water-hogs with beautiful but drought tolerant alternatives. Have you tried the Itoh peonies? Monrovia contended that it could handle conditions in SoCal and I planted one last year but it didn't re-bloom for me this year. With my restricted watering this year, I'm afraid it may be a goner but I'm still holding out a shred of hope that it could return next year.

    1. Hi Kris, welcome to my blog and thanks for leaving a comment! I am afraid that, like you, I am also forced by the ongoing drought to change my garden vision and actively look for more drought tolerant plants. But from reading through your blog, you seemed to be far more ahead in this process than I am, so I hope I can learn from your experiences a thing or two.
      I have heard about Itoh peonies, but since these guys are so expensive I have shied away to buy one, yet. Hope yours will bloom for you next year.

  22. Hello - I'm really enjoying your blog! I'm new to growing roses and my wife and I growing almost all Old Garden Roses. Curious to know if you grow Yolande d'Aragon? If so - what's been your experience, any photos to share?


  23. Cole, I am glad that you like reading my blog! Great that you are growing predominantely Old Garden Roses, many of them are so incredible beautiful, but get often overlooked, because most "normal" nurseries don't sell them anymore.
    To answer your questions: Yes, I do grow Yolande d'Aragon in my garden. I think it is a particular lovely rose with an absolutely wonderful and strong fragrance. In my garden I get a very floriferous spring flush, but after that hardly any re-bloom for the rest of the year. The foliage suffers in the summer heat that we are having. Maybe if I would fertilizer more regularly the rose would repeat better. Altogether I do think it is a wonderful rose to grow, if you can tolerate that it is mainly a once blooming rose, at least in my garden. I don't know in which climate zone you live, but keep in mind that under different climate conditions the rose could behave very different.
    Regarding photos: Just type in Yolande d'Aragon in the search function window on the right side of my blog bar and four posts with photos of Yolande should come up. Hope this helps!

    1. Thanks so much! I found the photos and I'm really enjoying your blog and photo essays - please keep sharing! It's very helpful and encouraging to freshman rosarians like myself. Have a great week!

    2. Cole, I am glad you found the photos of Yolande d'Aragon! Thanks again for your very kind words about my blog. It makes me really happy to read that you think it is helpful to you. Good luck with growing your roses, it is such a rewarding hobby and can bring so much joy and beauty into our lives!

  24. Christina, that garden is just perfection. It is the peak of all that is wonderful about roses and gardens. I love that velvety, purple iris too, as well as the stunning roses. Shame they weren't named, as , for me, that is a large part of the pleasure, as I love to know what they are, so that I can source them and buy them for my own garden, if I really love them.

  25. Liebe Christina,
    von diesem Garten kann man nicht genug bekommen. Kann mir vorstellen, dass du dort einige Bilder geschossen hast - hätte ich auch. Also jederzeit gerne mehr davon! Diese dunklen Bartiris sind äußerst attraktiv. Und alles andere ohnehin!
    Oh, ja bei uns wird es langsam Herbst, obwohl die Temperaturen derzeit fast wie Sommer sind. Traumhaft. Wir essen auf der Terrasse und ein wenig ist es wie Kalifornien!!! :)!
    Hab eine wundervolle Zeit und danke für deinen reizenden Besuch

  26. Il est évident que la visite de ce jardin me comble et parcourir les allées fleuries est un ravissement La vue de cette pivoine en fleur est magique, et toutes ces roses si bien accompagnées sont sublimes. La dernière plante que tu cherches à identifier est, il me semble une sorte de tanacétum ou camomille. Une plante légère idéale pour accompagner les rosiers, éphémère mais se ressemant abondamment.
    Belle soirée Jocelyne

  27. Was für ein traumhaft schöner Garten!! Ich habe schon richtig gelesen, dass die Blütezeit jetzt ist? Denn viel Blumen, gerade die Päonien blühen hier ja im Hrühling bzw Frühsommer. Das würde mir auch gefallen, das ganze Jahr so eine Blüte! ;)) Weiße muss ich mir auch noch unbedingt in meinen Garten holen!! Diese ganz dunklen Iris, hab ich auch, die waren aber schon drin, als wir das Haus gekauft und vor 5 Monaten eingezogen sind. Die rosa Rosen erinneren mich ein wenig an Constance Spry?
    Liebe Grüße über den Teich

    1. Christel, thanks for your comment and becoming a follower of my blog! I just want to let you know that, no the peonies don't bloom right now. We visited the garden in June, so they do bloom in spring there as well.

  28. So much beauty to see Christina. I hope I can see it with my own eyes some day. I am waiting for your next post about this garden.
    Have a wonderful day.

  29. I'll have to add this Abbey to my list of places to visit next year! Such beautiful blooms!! Take care x

  30. Un giardino bellissimo e foto favolose! *-*
    La pianta che vuoi identificare è il Tanacetum

    1. Titty, thanks for identifying the plant! That is very nice of you!

  31. Oh, roses always brings me joy Christina, thank you for the tour, it cheered me up on a day 10 in a row of rain here in London! I also love peonies and the combination of border planting is something done so well in English gardens I think.
    If I ever move from this house, one of the requirements for the new house will be to have a tall wall in the garden so I can grow climbing roses on it. One day I hope to do that.
    Take care, Helene.

  32. Wonderfull images you share with us from a most gorgeous garden! I really hope to see that garden with my own eyes one day!
    I love the old brick wall with roses and with iris and foxgloves in front! Your right! It looks indeed as out of a beautifull dream!

    I´m quite sure that the blue flowering plant i foreground is a Polemonium, they are very common in gardens in the northern part of europe. There are many varieties of polemonium, so I wont surgest a specific, since I have no idea what the name are of the once beeing common here, but its called: Jacobstige here in Denmark.
    I hope you will find the right one by googling the names! :)

    I wish you a wonderfull weekend! :)
    Take care, Alice

  33. A beautiful garden by far, lovely images, thank you for sharing these.

  34. These gardens never end - and thank goodness for that because of their beauty. I wonder how many people are needed to tend it. Beautiful pictures.

  35. What a stunning garden and beautiful photos! Everything looks so wonderfully tended and planned out. I can't believe it would only be a drive for me to get there and I've never actually heard of it! I think I will have to cajole hubby into taking me there next year.

  36. Hi Christina,

    Lovely photos! I don't know if you still need help ID-ing the two white flower plants that you asked about in your post. I believe that these plants are: Crambe cordifolia (the first one). It is broadly used in English Gardens. It is lovely how it spills into other plants. The second plant is feverfew.

    1. Maggie, welcome to my blog! I, of course, did read your comment way earlier, but I forgot to thank you for trying to identify the two white flowering plants in this post. Sorry for that! Well, better late than never!

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  38. WOW! I wish i could go over there and see and smell all those flowers! The lovely unknown pink climbing rose seems to me, Madame Gregoire Staechelin. Bye, Claudia