The Lost Garden – Rose Arbour

The arches you see here are known as a Rose Arbour.

The Rose Arbour is an important feature of the pleasure grounds. During a site survey in 2016, the remains of iron arches and stranded wires were discovered half buried under gross vegetation close to the ruined glasshouse complex. This discovery indicated the probable presence of a footpath that was long lost to memory, over which these metal arches had formed a framework for growing roses. Relying on garden archaeology techniques and the historical Ordnance Survey maps it was quickly confirmed that a footpath was here and led the way down to the rock garden and onto a rustic wooden footbridge over the trout stream. Gently probing the ground the old footpath was found there almost perfectly intact, though lost to view. Careful removal of the covering of leaf litter, and weed vegetation revealed this footpath’s original dimensions. The footpath was cleaned of all the muck and vegetation and with a fresh top dressing, it is now back in use.

The original metal arches have been replaced with new ones; linear beds have been created either side of the footpath and are infilled with fresh soil in which roses can flourish and one more waft fragrance on the pleasant air. It will be a challenge in the future to keep vigorous roses happy, they will need careful pruning and training. Because the path is on a west-to-east orientation, the roses on the north-facing side of the arbour will be shaded by their companions on the south-facing side. We are not sure why Lady Clanwilliam or her Head Gardener decided to do it this way.

Imagine Lady Clanwilliam enjoying the pleasures of her grounds and gardens, delighting her friends by walking them down to see the glasshouse range, perhaps taking them via the vinery to admire the grapes, or into the display house to see the tropical plants and ferns, through the Rose Arbour towards the rock garden and beyond.


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