Regent’s Park Roses - June Garden of the Month
Take time to stop and smell the roses
Looking for planting inspiration to make your garden shine all year round? Every month we visit a garden which we think has nailed the best trends of the season, then report back with tips on which plants to use and how to recreate the look.
This month everything’s coming up roses, and where better to see them than in Regent’s Park? At the heart of this urban oasis you’ll find Queen Mary’s Garden, which is known as the finest display of roses in London, with over 12,000 roses of more than 85 varieties. Created between 1932 and 1934, the aim of the garden is to showcase as many different roses as possible, from timeless classics to the newest English rose varieties. They even have their own rose variety, the Royal Parks rose. It’s the perfect place for tired tourists and weary workers alike to stop and smell the roses - we took a tour with assistant park manager and resident expert Pawel.
The Regent formally known as Prince
Regent’s Park as we know it was designed in the 1640s by the architect John Nash and was originally intended as the site of a summer palace for the future George IV. Luckily for Londoners, that didn’t work out and the gardens were kept open to the public. The rose garden at the centre of the park is named after the wife of George V and is a perfect example of a formal garden design, laid out in a circle with single species beds and mixed variety plantings surrounded by trellised arches that show off the garden’s collection of climbing roses to their best advantage.
Single species rose beds
Planting a single rose variety in each bed is very much in the formal garden style and you can spot as many as eighty five varieties here at any given time. Pawel tells us that each year three to five of the beds are replanted with different varieties, ensuring that the roses are not only in peak condition, but that there’s always something new to see.
Our favourite roses
With over eighty kinds to choose from this is no mean feat, but these are our favourite picks amongst the Regents’ park roses right now. These shrub roses are ideal for planting in a border or a large container and will bloom right through the summer until the first frosts of autumn.
- Absolutely Fabulous' Floribunda Rose - Multi award winner.
- 'Champagne Moment' Floribunda Rose - Plenty to celebrate.
- 'Diamond Jubilee' Hybrid Tea Rose - A sparkling classic.
- 'Nostalgia' Hybrid Tea Rose - Old fashioned charm.
The delphinium border
It’s not just about the roses - the park’s delphiniums are in full bloom at this time of year and will be looking their best throughout July too. The Regent’s Park delphinium border is mainly planted with RHS award winning Delphinium elatum hybrids and has full National Collection status, so it’s well worth a detour. We particularly loved the vivid blues of the Langdon’s Pandora flowers.
Get the look
Formal gardens are typically something you’ll see in royal parks or stately homes, but with a little planning, you can successfully grow one in any space. The key is keeping it simple with one variety of plants or a limited colour palette. Formal design is all about balance, symmetry and geometric shapes and the end result is a garden that’s calm, peaceful and a little bit of order in a sometimes chaotic world. Find out more with our formal garden design guide.
If you prefer a more informal, wilder look, climbing roses are the perfect choice. Keep it classic with roses around the front door or create a scented nook in your garden with roses scrambling up an arch, pergola or arbour. These fast growing, repeat flowering plants fit perfectly with the cottage garden look coming back into style this year and unlike most shrub roses, they’ll thrive in a slightly shadier spot.
The clever planting at Queen Mary’s garden ensures that you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of flowers whenever you visit - London’s rose season starts in late May and according to Pawel, a few of the roses are still going right up to October. You can replicate this in your own garden by choosing flowers that bloom in sequence - for example planting spring flowering aquilegia, erysimum and pulmonaria, summer flowering roses, salvia and dianthus and winter flowering hellebores, jasmine and honeysuckle - for colour all year round.
Pawel’s top tips for growing roses
Always eager to pass on expert knowledge, we picked up a few useful tips from our guide. Imagine doing this for 12,000 roses!
- Get more flowers by deadheading your roses - this means snipping off the flower heads as soon as they finish, encouraging the plant to produce more.
- For the best results, plant your roses in the sunniest part of your garden - the exception to this is climbing roses, which can deal with a little more shade.
- Feed your roses every two weeks throughout the summer with a high nitrogen fertiliser
- Water your roses every day when the weather’s hot and dry to prevent diseases like powdery mildew.
- Always prune your climbing roses as soon as they’ve finished flowering - most roses are pruned in winter but these are the exception!