Rose Garden

The Rose Garden stands in a historically important part of Kew where, in 1845, landscape designer William Andrews Nesfield laid out his Palm House Parterres.

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FDN Don Hort_Rose Garden

Kew's Rose Garden

Did you know?

  • Once finished, the Rose Garden will encircle three sides of the Palm House (north, south and west) and an area celebrating the history of the rose.
  • During WWII, when Britain was unable to obtain citrus fruits, Kew helped identify species, varieties and hybrids of native British roses that contained vitamin C. The hips richest in vitamin C were those produced by roses in northern England and Scotland. Between 1941 and 1945, volunteers harvested nearly 2,000 tonnes of hips. These gave rise to some 10 million bottles of National Rose-hip Syrup. 
  • In 2009, a new specially bred rose was named Rosa ‘Kew Gardens’ in celebration of the Gardens 250th anniversary. The Queen was presented with one of the roses, a thornless white-flowered English musk hybrid, when she visited the Gardens in May to celebrate the anniversary.

Historical Information

The sunken areas on the western side of the Palm House, along with the semi-circular holly hedge, are remnants of Nesfield's intricate design of beds and walkways. He originally planted the area with evergreens, including yews, euonymus and golden holly. The area was converted to a rose garden, planted with 6,000 roses in 113 beds, in 1923. 

Things to look out for

In 2009, Kew gardeners began replanting the Rose Garden according to Nesfield’s original pattern of beds. Working with David Austin Roses, they devised a planting plan featuring pergolas and climbing frames to give the garden added height. In the coming months they will be planting a variety of predominantly shrub roses. These were chosen rather than hybrid teas as they tend to last longer and can be maintained more easily. The garden is a long-term project, dependent on funding, that will take around three years to become fully established.

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