How to maintain a wild rose garden

Writer Katherine Swift has made her mark on the Dower House garden at Morville Hall with a collection of wild roses. Here she gives tips on how to maintain a wild rose garden.


(Above) Rosa 'Splendent', grown on ropes and poles, forms myrrh-scented hedging at the back of the Victorian Rose Border at Morville Hall


For almost 30 years writer Katherine Swift has been creating a garden at the Dower House, Morville Hall, unearthing its fascinating history and making her own mark with a collection of wild roses.

Here she gives five tips for maintaining a wild rose garden. 

1 Plant roses quite densely in groups of at least two or three, with plenty of space between groups, to achieve an architectural effect.

2 Keep roots clear of competition for the first few years, after which they will look after themselves.

3 Allow the natural arching shape of the bushes to develop. Never shorten the stems.

4 Some old wood can be thinned out, if required, by cutting selected stems right down to the ground to stimulate new growth. However, it is a good idea to leave a framework of older wood as a corset to maintain the shape of the clump.

5 Provide other shrubs or trees for support. Roses are natural scramblers, and most wild roses can be encouraged to climb.

6 Experiment with growing some of the biggest ramblers on the flat, allowing them to mound themselves up into thickets.


You can find out more about the Dower House garden and Katherine Swift's favourite wild roses to grow in our full feature in the June 2017 issue of Gardens Illustrated (248). 


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