Piecing Together The Rose Garden

More old photos are coming to light of the old rose garden which we have started to clear at the Hopwood garden. Students have been working hard to clear thirty years of weed and tree growth as we have made links with historians, archaeologists, old tenants and lovers of the hall who each have their story, and many have long forgotten images of the hall and its gardens. We'll show you the old glasshouses soon and possibly the old gardener who once tended this place. Yet, what of the rose garden? How did it come about? Was it always a rose garden?

hopwood hall, life on pig row, gardening

The answer to that is simply, 'no'. It's clear from the photos from over one hundred years ago that the rose garden has slowly changed from an ornate echo of a French parterre to a sunken garden, more in line with an Italian garden. Oh, how fashions change.

gardening, life on pig row

Then by the late Edwardian period we have moved from the Victorian to something more rural in taste. A pied a terre for weekend shooting and arts and crafts inspired rampages. Yes, those hard lines are softening and the shape of the garden we have is there. The classical stage shape, a promenade that fuses the Tudor alongside the arts and crafts beside the Renaissance style beds, the box has been ditched - they probably foresaw the blight - and there seems to be a mix of annuals in between a few roses.

arts and crafts gardening, life on pig row

Yet by the Second World War, this flyover reveals that the gardens have sunk back into something more utilitarian. It's almost militaristic in style and that's because the army are camped out at Hopwood Hall. It'll be another seventy years before we show up but even by 2009 the garden has slipped into memory.

gardening, life on pig row, hopwood hall

Here we are, 2009 and the garden and house are in dire straits - not the band - the garden has a few old tired roses in it. We can still see them today in the part of the garden beyond the fence and in the coming weeks we will work with those that own the hall to find a long term solution to the ground beyond the fence. To bring it back to life and hopefully in time, the house.

If you're interested in volunteering with us at Hopwood Hall gardens, do contact Andrew via our contact page.


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