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Creating a sensory garden, David Austin Roses

David Austin have very kindly sent us this piece about ‘Creating a sensory garden’ with supporting imagery. This year, they anticipate the height of their garden’s first flush of flowering to be around 20th June. Well worth a visit if you want to see their roses at their peak.

Article and photos by kind courtesy and copyright David Austin Roses


A garden that looks breathtakingly beautiful is, naturally, a wonderful sight. A garden that’s full of fragrance from the sweetness of honeysuckle to those roses with the greatest depth (Princess Anne being a case in point) is one that you will never want to walk away from. A garden that’s filled with pollinators to provide the contented background humming of breakfasting bees is a joy to behold. But a garden that stirs all five senses is one that will never

be forgotten.

It is no great secret that being surrounded by nature, both flora and fauna, is good for the soul. Stress levels drop in its company, allowing for a safe space for mindfulness and even meditation in whatever form that might take. Forming a sensory garden only heightens wellbeing benefits, and can be achieved in almost all garden contexts, be that a terrace, a balcony or something sprawling.

When building yours, gather together plants that vary in colour, size, shape and pattern so that your eye is always entertained. Place them in a mixture of pots and containers in a smaller garden, strategically next to a bench where you can sit and appreciate them in all their glory. With scented roses in particular, pairing them with lavender brings out each other’s fragrance notes so that you can enjoy double the impact. Aside from contented bees, bring in other elements of sound to your space through a waterfall or other water feature whose steady trickle will lower your shoulders in an instant. Encourage touch with contrasting surfaces. Textured leaves, petals that change from one plant to the next, and the softness of a rose set against a garden wall will always tempt you to reach out and caress. As for taste, remember that ruby-toned rose hips are there to be foraged. We turn ours into jellies to layer into sandwich cakes and syrups for cocktails and cordials.

Susan William Ellis

A delightful, unassuming rose of typical Old Rose beauty. It is a pure white sport of the pink English Rose, ‘The Mayflower’. The remarkable thing about these two roses is that, in so far as we are aware, they are completely free from disease. The medium-strong fragrance is perfectly Old Rose in character. It is extremely winter hardy, with upright, bushy, twiggy growth. Named for the founder of Portmeirion Pottery, who was a great enthusiast of the English Roses. Credit David Austin Roses


At first sight, this is a very similar rose to ‘Roseraie de l’Hay’, but the flowers are fully double and bright silky magenta in colour. They have a lovely Old Rose fragrance. It produces a good crop of hips in the autumn, extending the season of colour in the garden. Credit David Austin Roses

Kew Gardens

Small, single flowers held in very large heads, rather like a hydrangea, produced almost continuously from early summer into autumn. Soft apricot buds open to pure white, with a hint of soft lemon behind the stamens. It is extremely healthy and almost thornless. The growth is bushy and rather upright. David Austin, 2009. Credit Jonathan Buckley/David Austin Roses

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