The International Steam Pages

A Bunch of Roses, 2012

For convenience I have now grouped lifestyle illustrated features by topic:

This page is just one of several describing aspects of our '2012 new life', for earlier and later pages use the West Gloucestershire link above.

Yuehong's love of roses is public knowledge and when I offered her a chance to visit Highnam Court which boasts a 1 acre rose garden, I didn't expect a refusal. It opens once a month under the 'National Gardens Scheme' and 1st July if fair was the best bet to see them at their best given that 2012's low temperatures had held back development of our own roses. The current owner, Roger Head has invested a huge sum of money and effort into renovating the gardens since he bought the property in 1994. He clearly enjoys sharing his pride and joy with visitors and was more than happy to spend a couple of minutes introducing me to the place. The only slight connection I can claim is the fact that the previous owner Roger Smith, who sadly passed away at a young age, was a friend of my father who ran the disco at my 21st birthday party in Cambridge many years ago.

The day was overcast with a few bright spells, we had to wait a while for this shot, the house dates back to 1658 but the gardens are Victorian in origin.

I can't walk on water and this is the original uncropped version from across one of the lakes.

To put it mildly, Yuehong was 'gobsmacked' from the moment we walked up the drive from the bus stop, I suppose not many people arrive this way but it was plain dangerous walking down the dual carriageway with no footpath for the first 200 metres till we got to the gate. If I had to sum the place up it would be along the lines that if we have one of a kind in our garden, they literally have dozens if not hundreds. This small gate leads to the east garden with four beds full of lavender and allium:

This was quite modest compared to its counterpart on the west side, the Orangery Parterre which has enclosed areas filled with traditional English roses:

Yuehong aspires to own a 'standard rose' but they are beyond our budget, yet here was a whole line of them in full bloom:

The principal rose garden is a wonder, viewed from afar or close up:

It's not as if it's all roses, there are examples of just about every perennial we've ever seen in a garden centre, ranging from those in the water feature to a Wisteria tunnel which had finished flowering.

More than a little 'over the top' is the wildflower circle in which groups are mass planted, it was a shame that we were a couple of weeks too late for the best of the poppies:

Dotted around are wooden statues on an animal theme, mostly from the remains of old trees:

Down in the lake was some real wild life, a pair of swans with no less than eight cygnets.

It's all very formal and hardly 'country cottage' style, but it is very well done of its kind and we'll certainly have to go back again, maybe in the autumn but definitely to see the Spring colours where the rose garden will have masses of interplanted bulbs.

Highnam Court itself is a Grade 1 listed building as is the nearby church described on a separate page.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson