The rose garden
Greenwich Park

The Rose Garden

The classical beds of the Rose Garden are home to a variety of flowers, which create a vibrant, colourful display each summer.

Greenwich Park's popular Rose Garden is located on the eastern side of the park and forms the backdrop to the Ranger's House, an elegant Georgian villa which was originally the residence of the park ranger.

The house now belongs to English Heritage and houses The Wernher Collection, a remarkable collection of works of art amassed by diamond magnate Sir Julius Wernher (1850-1912).

The Rose Garden was originally planted in 1960-61. It was enlarged and replanted in 1993-4 at which time it was enclosed by a yew hedge.

The beds are laid out in a semi-circular design and planted with predominantly hybrid tea and floribunda roses.

Extremely popular with the park visitors, the Rose Garden peaks in flowering during June and July.

The Rose Garden regeneration project

Over the next few years the Rose Garden will be renovated with new mixed planting for added resilience, and a new layout which complements the work done elsewhere in the park as park of Greenwich Park Revealed.

Current issues

  • The original design was planted in 1995 and the roses are now past their prime and require replacement.
  • There are soil-borne diseases present in the soil that are impacting the replanting of the beds with roses which has meant other flowers and plants are thriving there whilst roses are not. 
  • The current design is not sustainable in the long-term as we now have a better understanding of the benefits of a diverse planting scheme system. Creating a monoculture of roses is not a sustainable system, as the pests and diseases that predate roses are already built up within the area and will impact new rose planting immediately.
Tired looking flower beds
The existing beds in the Rose Garden are in need of renovation

Proposed changes

  • The new design will take a linear approach, directing the eye towards Rangers House.
  • The planning style will reflect the beds at the top end of the Rose Garden – with roses featured, but mixed herbaceous perennials throughout the scheme.
  • Mixing planting systems, as has been done in revived rose gardens such as Mottisfont and Hyde Park, will attract more predators to the garden to help control pests such as aphids.
  • A mixed planting systems also mean that if there are occasional failures roses it will be less visually impactful. The new scheme will also elongate the flowering seasons in Spring and Autumn and provide seed head and rose hip displays in the Winter.
  • Roses will still feature heavily in the garden, but be mixed with perennials.
  • A lot of work and research has been undertaken with the Landscape Team to understand past studies and proposals to help develop the new plan.
Diagram showing renovation phases for the Rose Garden
The Rose Garden's proposed new layout, and renovation phases

Phase 1

  • Rose boundary hedge - a rose hedge will be planted inside the the perimeter yew hedge. These will be open form blooms which are excellent for pollinators, they will also go onto produce hips for an extended period of seasonal interest. This hedge will frame the seating areas and will develop into small intimate gardens.
  • The Heart of the Rose Garden - the central beds with urns will be planted traditionally as a homage to the traditional design, there will be two new benches backing onto the beds looking out onto the central garden. 
  • Mixed Herbaceous Borders - the planning style will reflect the beds at the top end of the Rose Garden. With over a hundred planted, Roses will be the main feature mixed with herbaceous perennials throughout the scheme. The colour palette will be cool and repeated with variation in herbaceous mixes throughout the borders. 
  • Beds which have already failed and are not within Phase 1’s works will be filled with perennial plants grown at Hyde Park nursery. This will regenerate the soil ready for the years ahead and give immediate relief to poor state which much of the garden is in.
An image of the Rose Garden in Greenwich Park in autumn with grass, plant beds, and a stone planting with red flowers in.
Flower beds in the Rose Garden