If you have visited Weather Hill in the last couple of weeks you may have been a little dismayed. We've been digging up the roses. But fear not. They haven’t gone forever. We're embarking on a new and exciting rose garden, the Bowes Lyon Rose Garden sponsored by Witan Investments.
Biodiversity and environmentally friendly horticulture are at the heart of the design of this new rose garden, with the aim of encouraging more beneficial insects like lacewings and lady bird larvae to control pests such as aphids.
At Wisley we strive to be at the leading edge when it comes to horticulture, and as this rose garden has had a long history we felt it needed to be rejuvenated. The main rose beds have been on Weather Hill since the 1960s, initially with hybrid teas and floribundas, and have developed over the years with climbers and standards added in the 1980s. As we redevelop this area, we are propagating and re-homing five of our roses which are no longer commercially available.
Now we will 'rest' the soil for a year, incorporate plenty of well-rotted organic matter, and then sow a crop of green manure to help add nutrients to the soil.
We will reshape the beds and replant using roses selected for their pest and disease resistance, along with herbaceous and shrubby plants to introduce a longer season of interest and increase biodiversity. We will also introduce displays of spring bulbs in the surrounding grass areas to intensify the beauty of this part of the garden.
You can still find roses at Wisley this summer, in the Jubilee Rose Garden and on the long shrub rose beds behind the model gardens, adjacent to where this work is being carried out on Weather Hill so rose lovers will not be disappointed.
We hope that when it is completed the new Rose Garden will remain on Weather Hill for another 35 or 40 years.