Gardens News: St Hilda's rose garden
St Hilda’s rose garden was planted first in the 1930s. Generations of College members have come here since them for quiet reflection in this private, sunny space. It was created partly to commemorate the Principalship of Winifred Moberley, 1919 - 1928, whose initials are engraved on the bird bath. More recently in 2011, more roses were added. A gift in memory of our alumna, Margaret Bliss (Biochemistry, 1951), helped us to redevelop the rose garden. The sunken area with benches is now paved but was laid to grass until about 12 years ago. The arches there are covered with rambling roses, which we admired as we enjoyed a brief history of the space from Walter Sawyer, our Gardens Consultant.
The sunken area with a raised terrace is surrounded by a beech hedge, around the back of which is a tumble-style rockery that might once have been part of an alpine garden. The hedge and nearby beech tree had been putting down roots and competing with the roses for nutrients in the soil. Last year the team cut the hedge down and back substantially and the roses have thrived as a result. Another threat to the roses comes from the muntjac deer that love to eat them. The Gardens team asks visitors to the gardens to be sure to shut the gate and keep these less welcome visitors out!
The garden has been planted with generations of roses, all of which are now Austen roses. Once known as floribunda roses, they are now known as multi-flowering roses. While hybrid tea roses can be fuller, you only get a single flower. With multi-flowering roses, we can enjoy a long season of flowers. Dead heading them means that we will enjoy another flush in 4-6 weeks time. Fillers including Ladies’ Mantle provide more interest in between flowering times.