“Wet weather great for the roses” says Bolton Castle gardener

The roses at Bolton Castle.

This year’s roses are some of the best yet because of the wet and cold spring, the gardener at Bolton Castle has declared.

Jason has committed additional time and effort to the castle’s roses this year.

He added to the beds with heritage roses that grow well on this exposed piece of garden and fit well within the philosophy of growing specialist roses that enhance the castle’s historical atmosphere.

He also thinks the success of the roses has been helped by the wet spring weather.

Jason said: “We didn’t experience the very warm dry spell we had in April last year, but we had a lot of rain instead in 2024.

“I am convinced that because of this our roses weren’t subjected to any stress early in their growing and have been able to flourish.

“With our Green Tourism endeavours in mind, we have not used any chemicals or pesticides on the roses in the last two years so with all the elements combined, our roses are looking their very best.

“The ground and existing roses had been well managed, but with this type of exposure to the elements a few had lost their way and were looking a bit tired.

“These roses experience strong icy winds coming down the valley, so I wanted to strengthen the beds with new varieties such as English Garden and Mary which have strong stems to provide additional support to weaker varieties but also keep that traditional look, and Quatre Saisons which is believed to be one of the first repeat flowering roses which produces a cloud of pink blossoms to fill any gaps.

“We also have many traditional roses like Rosa Mundi which date all the way back to the 1600s and is also referenced in the 1200s.

“Other roses that work well here and seem to be able to survive the rabbits include one of my personal favourites La Ville de Bruxelles and Ispahan.”

The gardeners have also added a willow tunnel to join to the medieval herb gardens, which were enhanced last year.

He and the team are also planning to start work to transform the quadrant lawns into a medieval knot garden.

Mindful of all aspects of the gardens, Jason also has to consider the view from the tower around 120 metres above the gardens as well as the enjoyment of all the visitors and events that take place at Bolton Castle across the summer.

Jason’s tips include regular maintenance pruning in February which includes removing all dead, damaged and crossing branches, then remove a quarter of the plants growth, keeping its shape all the way through which will help the plant promote fresh healthy new growth.

Then he mulches around the base of the plant with a good organic matter, when the growth is starting to merge he then gives the roses a feed with an organic rose tonic and repeats when necessary.

He has the benefit of employing wildlife cameras to see where rabbits are entering the rose gardens, if at all, or just breeding within the boundaries of the rose beds.

Bolton Castle is open every day until November.