CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Lady Ashcombe's Roses of Sudelely Castle

PUBLISHED: 12:11 23 December 2010 | UPDATED: 15:08 20 February 2013

Queen's Garden

Queen's Garden

Lady Ashcombe's reverie of roses is rudely interrupted by another distinctive scent

The Sudeley Castle Gardens will soon explode in a firework display of roses with their subtle variety of colours, textures and fragrances and will again weave their enchantment for all to enjoy and marvel at. I love roses and I love this time of year in the garden.



The history of the rose stretches back to the dawn of civilisation and man's fascination with this glorious species has continued to the present day. I am not alone in choosing the rose as my favourite flower. However, when asked which is my favourite rose, I'm at a loss amongst the abundance of choice, except that I feel honour- bound to mention the Tudor Rose which has become Sudeley's emblem.



Twenty years ago, Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall, a reknowned authority on roses, and I embarked on an ambitious project - to recreate a Rose Garden on the original Tudor parterre which had been laid for Queen Katherine Parr when she came to live at Sudeley after marrying Sir Thomas Seymour. .The hundreds of roses which we then selected for what is now the Queen's Garden reflect every period of the Castle's history from the time when Katherine and Lady Jane Grey strolled the petal strewn paths until the present day..



Roses evoke different reactions in different people depending on which particular aspect captures their imagination. The universal attraction of the species and its history is a subject too great to tackle in this short article, but for me its greatest charm is the variety of scents, from the most subtle to the most complex and sumptuously perfumed. Fragrance, it has been said, is the 'soul' of the rose and is too elusive to pin down, as it has no tangible substance. It seems to exist in some other dimension.



While musing on this ethereal idea, I was rudely brought back from my reverie by my dog Kola, who burst into the room, full of enthusiasm and the joys of spring. It didn't take long to realise why she was so pleased with herself. Her favourite country pursuit, handed down from primitive ancestors, was painfully obvious. She had been having a good roll in some foul and undesirable substance and wanted to share the pleasure of this exotic perfume with her mistress. It must have been disappointing when without praise or congratulation she was sharply invited to leave the house and sent to be hosed down in cold water.



With this interruption my theme of scent was challengingly brought into focus, but continuing along the original lines I began some research on the secret of the rose's hidden knowledge of fragrance. There appears to be no answer to this intriguing question.



Nature is a skilled perfumier having worked its art through hundreds of years of cross breeding. The repertoire of scents it creates is unending; from the unique spicy aroma of a myrrh-scented rose such as St. Cecilia to the luxurious sweet smelling Gertrude Jekyll, or the fresh fragrance of English Roses to the sharp fruity smell of a rambler rose like Rambling Rector.



Scents have great power to move us emotionally, working on deep associations in our memory, but it is hard to find appropriate words to describe the subtle variations in smell that the nose recognises. Animals have a highly evolved sense of smell, thousands of times more powerful than our own, but even so, we too can get the most sublime pleasure from the sweet smell of a rose.



Kola is now back, looking and smelling more presentable, and all is forgiven. I see that she was just indulging in the seductive attraction of scent, very much the same as my ramblings in the last few paragraphs.



I hope readers who are as fascinated by roses as I am will visit the Sudeley Gardens this summer. I don't think you will be disappointed.



0 comments

More from Out & about

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Cotswolds are abundant with picture perfect locations ideal for a ramble. Gather loved ones, wrap up warm and blow away the cobwebs with one of these winter walks in the region

Read more
Monday, December 10, 2018

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Monday, December 10, 2018

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search