Monday, 20 May 2013


Hello to one and all. Last week saw us undertaking one of the last big jobs (there is one more big job that you can read about in the coming weeks)  before we really get into the swing of the rose season, this is trimming the box (Buxus) hedges that border the paths in the Central Garden. This job takes 2 people about two and a half  / three days to complete and believe me your back will not thank you for it! For this job we use battery powered hedge cutters mainly as it reduces the noise levels massively and means that we can work all day without causing too much disruption to visitors or our ears. I realise that some of you will be very sceptical about the use of battery powered tools, and to be honest with you so was I before we purchased them. However I can say that they do a fantastic job and are just as good, if not better than the petrol machines we used before (you will need several thousand Pounds if you want to buy though). The battery is worn on your back like a rucksack and is  very comfortable, all the straps are nicely padded and you soon forget you are even wearing it. The hedge trimmer unit is extremely light, nothing else can compete with it in terms of weight and that too is a great benefit. The reason for the bad back is not because of the trimmers, it's because the hedges are only a couple of feet high so you are bent over all day.

The hedges themselves were considerably reduced in size a few years ago as they had become too tall and wide. As a result of this there were a lot of holes and bare patches but now they are starting to fill in really well, and in some parts its hard to even notice what happened. Due to the slow growing nature of Buxus its still going to take a couple more years before they are perfect, but with each passing year they look a little better.

One of the most common questions at this time of year is "when do you think the roses will be at their best?" So for all of you who are thinking the same thing I believe that we are on course for a traditional mid June display. The weather has been kind to us and we've enjoyed a more classic spring this year and thus I would expect the flowering season to reflect this. Of course if we have 4 feet of snow in the mean time then my prediction will be completely wrong, but let's hope not.


  1. Hi Jonny - What a pity I never managed to visit Mottisfont, while I still was living on the Isles, it's such a beautiful place... I actually do have a question concerning the legacy of Graham Stuart Thomas. He seems to have planted or grown several varieties of rubiginosa Hybrids, one of those was Minna (Penzance, 1895), which stands out by exceptional foliage fragrance. I was wondering, as the rose doesn't seem to be available anymore anywhere, if trying to follow G. S. Thomas' footsteps in his work might lead to a place (like Mottisfont) where it still may be growing? I would be very much interested in a cutting of that rose to try using it for hybridisation. It would be fantastic, if you would have any information about the rose.

    1. Morning Britta,

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Unfortunately 'Minna' isn't a variety that Mr Thomas planted here at Mottisfont and to be honest I have only ever read about it and never seen it in real life. However I will do some research and chat to some fellow rose people to see if I can help you find it.