Queen Mary’s Rose Garden is a world-renowned garden that bears the name of King George V’s wife.
In 1932, when the garden was first opened to the public, the first superintendent planted a rose garden which was completed in 1934.
Since then, the garden has become a paradise of flora, with roses being the focal point of the garden.
The Largest Collection of Roses in London
Queen Mary’s Rose Garden is London’s largest collection of roses, boasting approximately 12,000 roses planted within the garden.
There are 85 single variety beds on display, including the famous ‘Royal Parks’ rose.
The gardens are home to examples of most rose varieties, ranging from classic to modern English roses.
Discover More Than Just Roses
The gardens are home to an array of treasures, including the Delphinium border, which has full National Collection status, and the well-established Mediterranean Borders.
The Begonia Garden, with its 9,000 begonias, is twice-yearly planted with seasonal bedding.
Additionally, strategically designed and located shrubberies add a sense of mystery and privacy to the gardens.
Key Features of Queen Mary’s Rose Garden
Apart from the vast collection of roses, the gardens offer the following key features:
- Approximately 12,000 roses are planted in 85 single-variety beds. Ordinarily, the roses in three beds are replaced with a new variety each year.
- The original circular rose garden
- The Begonia garden, on the left-hand side of the main alley by the delphiniums
- The Jungle border by the Triton fountain
- The Mediterranean garden, about halfway up the main alley, on the right-hand side – look for the palm trees
The gardens have several highlights worth exploring, such as:
The Circular Rose Bed
The original circular rose garden, located by Chester Gate, is a sight to behold. It is an iconic spot that attracts tourists, locals, and photographers alike, including those trying to organise newlyweds and their straggling parties.
The Rose Pergola
A unique feature of the circular rose garden is the pergola, where climbing roses are trained to grow along ropes. The pergola has benches where visitors can sit and enjoy the scented clusters of white and pink roses.
The Begonia Garden
The begonia garden is a complex work of art. Twice a year, it is replanted with 9,000 begonias, and the colours may change, but the overall effect remains the same. The garden is closed off with chains as replanting it is an enormous task in the gardeners’ calendar. Visitors can admire the garden from the outside.
The Delphinium Border
The Delphinium border, located just around the corner from the begonia garden, has full National Collection status. Delphiniums are the queens of the herbaceous border when they are in full bloom. Cutting down the delphinium stalks after the blooms have faded might result in a second flowering, but it’s not always a guarantee. The Royal Parks have recently gone to great lengths to restore the delphinium border, making June the best time to visit it.
The Triton Borders, Including The Jungle Border
The Triton or Jungle Border is the jewel in the Queen Mary’s Gardens crown. The border gets its name from the huge palms and ferns which miraculously reappear each year to provide a backdrop for the chorus line of bedding plants. The gardeners try to improve the design each year, making replanting the Triton Border in the autumn and spring a major undertaking.
The Sausage Border
Located on the right side of the Triton fountain, the herbaceous border shaped like a sausage is a sophisticated mix of herbaceous plants that provide interest throughout the spring and summer. The border is well-designed and maintained, and visitors can look out for the slightly reptilian-looking ornamental rhubarb spikes in spring, as well as the deep crimson peonies.
The Mediterranean Garden
The Mediterranean garden is a surprising find in Queen Mary’s Gardens. With an acacia tree, palm trees, and a collection of drought-friendly plants that love sandy soil, this garden is a true miracle. The heavy clay soil that the gardens are notorious for makes the Mediterranean garden even more impressive. Recent efforts to improve the soil and introduce new plantings have paid off, with the silver-leaved plants and purple-headed allium looking particularly magical at dusk in the early spring of 2020.
Plan Your Visit
To see the best blooms, it’s recommended to visit Queen Mary’s Rose Garden in the first two weeks of June.
During this time, the garden is a sight to behold, with the roses in full bloom and the Mediterranean garden coming to life with vibrant colours.
Queen Mary’s Rose Garden is a true gem of London, with its vast collection of roses and beautiful gardens that showcase a diverse range of flora.
The unique features of the garden, such as the circular rose bed and the rose pergola, add to the charm of the place.
With so much to see and explore, a visit to Queen Mary’s Rose Garden is an experience that should not be missed.