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Scene is set for a sumptuous summer at the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens

Gardens expected to flourish after the rain with glorious displays of summer flowers

Following the recent thunderstorms, this summer is set to be a lush affair, with the late spring rainfall keeping gardens looking green and fresh and plants growing well. Clematis, dahlias, delphiniums, hydrangeas, ligularia, lilies, penstemon, phlox, sweet peas and roses are the top ten most likely flowers to flourish from well-watered roots.

Guy Barter, chief horticulturist, Royal Horticultural Society, said: “Barring an unexpected drought, we can look forward to a glorious summer for plants, especially British favourites such as roses. The rain does mean more work for gardeners – lawns get shaggy if uncut, weeds grow, herbaceous plants grow taller than expected and mildew and slime can be tiresome – but there will be less watering needed and also fewer pests. It’s also a good time to buy new plants as it helps them to get established.”

The predicted lavish summer flowering follows on from an unusually condensed spring, which led to a mass flowering of spring blossom after a wet March and April.

The four RHS Gardens will offer the chance to catch these summer flowers at their best. In particular the rose gardens at Wisley in Surrey, Rosemoor in North Devon and Hyde Hall in Essex will be full of scent and colour, and the Scented Garden at Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire will be awash with roses, lilies, wisteria and jasmine.

 

Summer Horticultural Highlights

From mid-June there will be thousands of bright candelabra primulas and delicate blue meconopsis at Harlow Carr’s Streamside, one of the longest gardens of its kind in the country. The watercourse is a haven for wildlife such as dippers, tree creepers, weasels and voles and the team has been opening up the planting to reveal the stream’s natural beauty.

Hyde Hall has teamed up with seed and plant specialists Thompson & Morgan to produce a fabulous four-month long extravaganza of thousands of colourful summer bedding plants, displayed in pots, containers and hanging baskets. In the longer term, planting is underway on the garden’s Big Sky Meadow, set to open in 2019. In time, it will be a 50-acre cultivated perennial meadow with a relaxed, naturalistic feel, meandering grass pathways and a vast array of colours, textures and wildlife.

At Rosemoor, the garden will be brimming with over 2,000 roses, one of the UK’s largest collections, and the iconic Hot Garden will dazzle with vibrant colours. Work continues to transform the Spiral Garden into the new Cool Garden to a design by RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medallist Jo Thompson. Opening in 2019, the garden will feature a pastel planting scheme in shades of blue and white in contrast with the nearby Hot Garden.

At Wisley, the Mixed Borders will be in their full glory, Battleston Hill will showcase a wonderful range of hydrangeas, and the exciting new Exotic Garden, featuring tropical and exotic looking plants with a jungle-like atmosphere, will be at its peak. The Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden will be looking its best, with a strong year predicted for roses, and by the summer the newly-landscaped Heather Garden, featuring a National Collection of Heather, will be coming into its own.

Brand new for 2018, to celebrate the centenary of the end of the First World War and in memory of those who lost their lives, all the gardens have planted a group of Rosa ‘Pax’. Latin for ‘peace’, Rosa ‘Pax’ is a hybrid musk rose developed by the rose breeder, Joseph Pemberton and launched in 1918 to commemorate the end of WW1.

 

Key Summer Events 

All four gardens are embracing a Jurassic theme this summer, exploring the plants from the Jurassic era that still grow today, from the 350 million-year-old Gingko biloba to the enormous leaves of giant rhubarb, Gunnera manicata. Activities vary at each garden but families may be able to embark on a Jurassic journey around the garden on a daily garden trail, discover habitats rich in Jurassic plants such as ferns and monkey puzzle trees, unearth ‘dinosaur skeletons’ or spot replica dinosaur eggs and huge footprints.

Each RHS garden will hold a spectacular summer flower show, kick starting with the most northerly RHS garden, Harlow Carr (22-24 June). Hyde Hall Flower Show (1-5 August) will include demonstrations by celebrity floral designer Jonathan Moseley and Rosemoor’s Flower Show (17-19 August), only in its second year, highlights the very best the South West has to offer in nurseries, atmosphere and local fare.

Roses are to the fore this summer with the five-week-long Rose Festival at Rosemoor (16 June to 22 July) celebrating the beauty of two dedicated rose gardens and a wealth of hues and perfumes. Wisley will hold a Rose Evening on 23 June with the chance to hear live music, enjoy a cocktail and a talk and tour from the garden team. All the RHS gardens are offering the chance to enjoy lazy summer evenings outdoors, with late-night openings and varied events including theatre and cinema nights.

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