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Scents of summer

Posted: 24th May 2016

Image: Mottisfont Rose Garden (Photo courtesy of National Trust Images, Marianne Majerus)

Eye-popping colours, scented displays, brilliant borders, brimming kitchen gardens, and relaxing open spaces with far-reaching views. National Trust gardens are at their peak during the summer months, and here in Hampshire we are truly blessed to have so many special places and spaces on our doorstep…


For a truly memorable English summer garden experience, step into Mottisfont’s large walled garden in June and you’ll be met with unsurpassed fragrance and colour, from thousands of roses.

Mottisfont is home to one of the most famous rose gardens in the world, featuring the National Collection of old-fashioned roses.

The roses grow above big herbaceous borders which provide changing displays from June to September. The borders are packed with plants chosen for their structure, scent and wide colour palette. The centres of the borders are a mass of soft blues, pinks and whites, whilst stronger yellows, oranges and dark pinks draw your eye along the length of the border.

Many of the roses growing at Mottisfont are available for sale, so that everyone who visits Mottisfont has the chance to take away a little of its scented magic.

For those of us who can’t get along to Mottisfont during the working day, the property is staying open late on some evenings in June.

Mottisfont, Oakley Rd, Romsey SO51 0LP. 01794 340757, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont

Hinton Ampner

A horticultural jewel in the National Trust’s Hampshire crown, Hinton Ampner is bursting with floral scent and colour from June. In early summer swathes of elegant irises in cool blues, whites, reds and purples fill the south border, with more on show in the pretty walled kitchen garden.

From August, you’ll find around 20 different varieties of exotic-looking dahlia, creating dramatic impact throughout the gardens, from rich tangerines and fiery reds, to deep pinks, yellows and creamy whites.

Roses are another summer highlight at Hinton, with over 90 varieties on show. The collection is well-known for its repeat flowering, giving delicious fragrance and colour from June well into August.

Highlights include 100 highly-scented ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ tea rose shrubs in pale pink beside the pond.

Hinton Ampner also has its own cut flower border, in summer filled with delphiniums, alstroemeria and richly scented sweetpeas, so that staff can continue the tradition of providing floral displays for the house, for visitors to enjoy.

Hinton Ampner, Alresford, Hampshire SO24 0LA, 01962 771305,www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hinton-ampner

The Vyne

In summer, the perfumed herbaceous borders of this former Tudor ‘power house’ are packed with eye-catching shape and colour. Look out for deep magenta and royal blue geraniums, elegant foxtail lilies and peonies in shades of cream, pink and burgundy. Don’t forget to take a peek inside the unusual 17th-century circular summerhouse, and the walled kitchen garden, which is full of fruit and vegetables.

Whilst in the kitchen garden look out for the bee pen, which contains pots full of pollinator-friendly plants. This part of the garden is a hive of activity in summer, as honey bees forage for food. It’s a great place to seek inspiration for bee-loving plants you can grow in your own garden too.

From June, the summerhouse garden is filled with orange pelargonium, dark chocolate plectranthus and white salvias – shades that reflect and compliment the brickwork of the building in this formal garden. 

From August, a nod to The Vyne’s past bursts into bloom. The garden’s magnificent dahlia border, which has a backdrop of cordon, espallier and palmette fruit trees features a gorgeous array of colours, from soft pastel shades to vibrant oranges, hot pinks and magenta blooms. Dahlias were an important part of horticultural life at The Vyne in the 19th-century, when head gardener Mr Broomfield regularly won prizes for his blooms at local shows.

The Vyne, Vyne Road, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG24 9HL. 01256 883858, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-vyne