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Please check with garden owners or their website to confirm current dates open
Closed in 2010. No info as to opening dates 2011, possibly June.
members can still visit the garden Mon - Fri, 10am - 4pm
Preferable but not essential
Old prices: (Adult £5; Children under 16 free with adult; Parties of 20+ £4 pp; Season tickets, single £15, double £25 RNRS members free.)
Tea Room serving light lunches tea, coffee cakes.
St. Michael Manor, St. Albans Sopwell House
Black Lion Inn
The Gardens as currently developed, cover more than five acres. Work started in September 2005. The plans, so far, include some 8,000 roses in approximately 2,000 different varieties - a veritable 'living dictionary of roses'. Visitors arrive along the curved President's Walk, which leads from the entrance circle towards the central pergola and ponds. The roses on either side are grouped by colour, ranging from whites to strong reds. Most are popular cultivars and readily available.
The elliptical steel pergola, some 200 metres in length, is undoubtedly the most striking feature of the new gardens. It replaces the much-loved brick and timber semi-circle, dating from the 1950s, which had become unstable. There are 72 arches. Each of the arches is planted with a different pair of roses. Clematis and other flowering climbers are being added as the roses become established.
The old Queen Mother Garden is now enhanced by a long vista and a striking new brick and wood pergola adjoining The Maze. The roses planted here were favourites of H.M. the Queen Mother, Patron of the Royal National Rose Society (1965 - 2001), and grew in her own gardens. They include the blue-purple Bourbon rose 'Reine des Violettes'.
A recent legacy to the Society stipulated that it should be spent on a feature for children. The turf maze, designed by Adrian Fisher, is the result. It has the shape of a stylised Tudor rose, for many years the symbol of the RNRS.
The gardens were recently re-built by Adam Frost Landscapes. Recent re-planting was by members of the Board of Directors with the help of the garden team. The roses forming the History of the Rose Collections come from all over the world. They are a living illustration of the development of roses and rose-breeding trends, past and present. The beds trace the development of rose breeding, following along the broad grass walk, from the Albas and Gallicas by the species border through to the more modern Hybrid Teas and Floribundas by the Presidents' Walk. They include examples of rare roses, bred in Britain but lost to cultivation here, which the Historic Roses Group of the Society has recently reintroduced from abroad.