RHS Rosemoor, a garden in winter

I’ve been to one of my favourite gardens today, looked after by the Royal Horticultural Society, Rosemoor is near Great Torrington and an hour from home. It’s a garden for all seasons and perhaps best known for its midsummer display of roses. Much as I love roses, it can be a bit busy there for me then and the rose garden is more formal than I like a garden to be.

At this time of the year its heaven, full of the earliest of spring flowers and shrubs and the trees look stunning in their nakedness. There is fragrance everywhere, most noticeably from Daphne, Viburnum and Box with the occasional waft of Eucalyptus. The most common snowdrops are coming to the end of their season but they have many varieties still looking fresh, crocuses are abundant, and the dwarf narcissi and hellebore are exquisite.

Rosemoor is divided into several sections, a winter garden, herbaceous, woodland, exotic and the original garden created by Lady Anne Palmer who gifted the 65 acres to the RHS. To reach Lady Anne’s garden you walk through a tunnel under the road towards the house which is surrounded by a more relaxed style of planting with Mediterranean area and the stone garden.

A very well planned vegetable garden produces an abundance of fresh food for the restaurant as well as seed for research. Right now the espaliered fruit trees are still dormant, but this really shows the skill involved in maintaining them. Strings of last season’s onions hang in a thatched summerhouse along with pumpkins, gourds and dried peppers and everywhere you walk there is an orchestra of birdsong.

Modern water features and ponds can be seen in the formal areas and there is a large lake stocked with Rudd and visited by ducks, and amphibians. The area around the lake has been refurbished since I was last there, smartened up and I prefer it as it was, but no doubt health and safety had to be considered, so it now has an improved path to the edge and a wooden bridge that I do like.

The icing on the cake today was a sculpture exhibition, a wonderful selection of art scattered throughout the garden, and great fun to turn a corner and find the next piece. It was all for sale and for those with a few thousand ponds to spare there were some very desirable things to choose from, my favourite was called ‘Refuge’ and of course was way beyond my reach.


I spent five hours happily wandering, it’s a very peaceful way to spend a day especially as the sun came out after lunch. Perhaps I will go back when the roses bloom or maybe when the vegetable garden reaches its zenith in August, whenever it will always be a delight!

I think I have created a pdf thingy of some of the Rosemoor sculpture photos I took, try clicking and let me know if it works!


30 thoughts on “RHS Rosemoor, a garden in winter

  1. Oh wow! Thank you for sharing. Where I live, winter is still firmly in place. We received four inches of the white stuff just this morning. How refreshing to see life blooming again.

  2. Gilly… your photos are just awesome. I would love to visit these gardens someday. I’ll put it on my bucket list! Such beauty and so well depicted by your photos. There is so much to see in a garden in late winter/early spring. Love the espaliered fruit trees, the reflections in the water, the bare fields and trees, the vines without leaves…..it all gives a sculptural feel when you see the “bare bones” in the dormant season. And then add to it the early bloomers like boxwood, and viburnum…such heavenly scents. Can you tell I’m aching for spring? 😉 Thanks for the lovely tour!

      1. Isn’t that just incredible? I want to know what happened to January and February. But also October and November! If you have the answer…let me in on it! 🙂

  3. This post is like a virtual vacation! Thank you so much. Although our winter has been excessively mild by our standards in upstate New York, we have no gardens to visit. This place looks amazing.

    The photos and your writing have taken me away, beautifully so! And the pdf was a true treat for the senses; those sculptures were beautiful.

    Thank you. I don’t comment all the time, but I always think of you as a most generous blogger and artist.

  4. Thank you so much for this guided tour – your pics and words are wonderful. I would love to visit those RHS gardens and see them in their splendour. And five hours? What a treat. I’m sure my love for gardens, stone work, walled vegetable gardens etc is genetically encoded. I must get to Chelsea one day. Thanks for a lovely post, I so enjoyed it.

  5. it feels like a walk through a carefully tended paradise … and all those bulbs and cold climate plants that i rarely see are such a treat …plus the sculpture thingy works perfectly, some moving works amongst them …especially the chickens, birds and the young girl’s face 🙂 ..yes i can imagine 5 hours slipping by in that tranquility!

  6. Gilly, what a wonderful place to visit and be surrounded by beautiful foliage! When I was living in Toronto, we had the experience of having four seasons and we were able to appreciate what every season had to offer. Gardening could be a challenge for some delicate plants but it was very rewarding as well.

    Here in northern California, it’s different. The winters are mild and the summers are warm but seldom hot. We might have a few days where it’s scorching but when the sun sets, temperatures cool down. And so, my experience with plants has been very different. Sometimes I do miss the four seasons.

  7. Wow! It’s gorgeous Gilly and your photo’s are just awesome! Your “pdf thingy” works just fine! Great photo’s! 🙂

  8. With the weather being so beautiful as it is, we may venture south on one of our Wednesday picnics to visit this wonderful place. Thank you for introducing it to me!

    1. oh i meant to say, when i viewed this on my cell phone that pdf thingy didn’t seem to work. but it was fine on my laptop. my favourite is the chicken on the box. reminds me of ‘chicken run’ 🙂

Leave a Reply to Fran Rossi Szpylczyn Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.