The new Rose Garden at Lowther Castle, designed by Dan Pearson, has formally opened. Based on the profile of a rose bloom, it contains over 2,000 roses and hundreds of perennials and has taken several years to create. It was originally scheduled to be completed in 2019.
Dan Pearson, who has been garden designer-in-chief at Lowther since 2012, took inspiration from William Morris’s quartet of poems written around the Sleeping Beauty myth. Briar roses encircle the enclosure which is accessed by kissing gates, with central rose beds at the heart and a fountain at the centre.
The gardens at Lowther Castle date back to the 17th century and The Rose Garden dates back to the 19th century. According to the Gardeners’ Chronicle of 1893, it had a large rustic summerhouse at one side, a ‘marquee’ of climbing roses, bell tents of roses climbing up chains, with seats within each tent. At one point, the Edwardian version of the Rose Garden was said to comprise 500 separate rose beds with 20,000 specimens planted.
From the end of 1939, when the gardens as a whole were closed, the Rose Garden was lost to decay and neglect. When Lowther Castle & Gardens Trust was formed in 2008 to rescue the castle and gardens, it was almost entirely engulfed in woodland.
Owner Jim Lowther thanked everyone who had helped to create the garden, including 14 gardeners and dozens of volunteers.
“When we first commissioned Dan to come up with a masterplan for the gardens, we agreed that our mission should be based not on restoration per se but on adding layers of new design to existing history. The Rose Garden is a shining example of this – the Victorian fountain, its jets mimicking the stamens of a rose, remains in the centre – while the external ironwork and planting are very much of the 21st century."
Lowther Castle recently appointed a new head gardener, Andrea Brunsendorf, replacing Martin Ogle.
Read more about Dan Pearson's transformation of Lowther Castle's gardens.
Veronica Peerless is a trained horticulturalist and garden designer.
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