We had planned to visit the National Trust garden at Mottisfont to see its rose garden for many years so took advantage of being in Hampshire for a short break in June. Little did we know that hoards of others were planning the same visit! The car park was overflowing when we arrived but we managed to find a space. Why had we not realised that this garden is famous for roses so most people would visit in the month of roses, June?
A short wander from the car park into the garden took us over the River Test via an old stone bridge. As a fisherman seeing the River Test is an exciting thing! Peering down from the bridge we spied big Brown Trout seeking out flies and other insects right below us. These were “Brownies” that anglers dream of!
The building at Mottisfont was originally a monastery and a quick look inside soon revealed its past. We found ancient dark vaulted cellars and even a mason’s mark. Outside roses clambered over the ruins of stone buildings.
A mosaic decorated a section of wall created by the artist Boris Anrep to depict the likeness of the mistress of the house Maud Russell in the 1930’s. The style was far from modern.
We made our way towards the walled garden where Mottisfont’s collection of roses is grown. On the way we found a dipping well fed by a tiny clear stream, a diversion from the Test.
A walkway featuring cream coloured roses trained up pillars took us into the richly coloured and scented rose garden. Insects found the roses as appealing as the visitors and we enjoyed spotting all the bees and hoverflies feeding delicately on the nectar and pollen.
Luckily there were plenty of herbaceous perennials to add variety of shape and colour and give the nose a break from the scents.
Please enjoy my gallery of roses. There were so many people looking at and smelling the roses that taking these pics was a real challenge. Click on the first photo and take a tour by clicking on the arrows.
The walled garden was not only full of roses but also of people. We were not the only visitors who thought it a good time to make the journey to Mottisfont! After a while we found the volume of people just too much and left the Roses in search of other interesting things. Surely there must be more than Roses!
We decided to make our way back towards the River Test and follow the riverside walk. As we left the Rose Garden the gentle colours of this group of perennials was a relief after too many roses. This was just the first of several interesting features here beyond the Rose Garden.
Walking away from the walled garden we spotted in a large area of lawn this intriguing group of trees and to its right an old wooden trailer.
A wide circle of tall, mature trees encircled a smaller circle of dead trees inserted upside down in the earth. Some were decorated with gold leaf.
The little wooden caravan turned out to be a shepherd’s hut used during lambing time. It contained a bed, heater, stove and all the basic home comforts.
The Ice House was hiding in a group of trees whose shade added a few degrees of cooling. The storage area was much larger than we expected and as we peered inside we could feel the coolness which was used to keep food cool and to keep ice frozen for a while.
Leaving the Ice House we passed a neatly planted avenue and continued on our way towards the riverside walk.
The cool shade afforded by the trees along each bank of the Test was welcome after the heat out in the open. We wandered alongside the clear waters of the fast moving river enjoying occasional glimpses of impressively sized Brown Trout leaping for flies passing overhead. Can you spy this big old Brownie hanging in the flow of the river?
This was the home of dry fly fishing and considered by most anglers to be the best fly-fishing river in the world.
It felt like touching angling history to explore the old fisherman’s lodge. An old creel hang from the wall among other fishing memorabilia.
We found interesting objects such as these two very different but equally impressive chairs made from willow harvested from the river banks.
As much as we enjoyed the roses at Mottisfont we were delighted to find there was lots more to see and appreciate.