Greenways & Cycleroutes met Bristol City Council Parks staff in late 2017 and proposed a group of volunteers take on the care of the roses and much of the maintenance of the garden. Agreement has led to some useful collaborative working between BCC Parks team and Greenways volunteers.
The first year, 2017-18 saw the Council deliver 20 tonnes of horse manure to the path adjacent to the Rose Garden. Work started in earnest on the day after Boxing Day with volunteers spreading manure over hungry rose beds.
Work was interrupted at times by snow and freezing temperatures, whilst other volunteers took on the enormous task of pruning hundreds of roses of assorted shapes and sizes.
The Rose Garden looked stunning this summer. Flowering from early May and continuing throughout the summer months and into Autumn the roses have been glorious. Local people, regular walkers and visitors have all commented very favourably on the sight and smell of the garden at its best.
Ashton Court Rose Garden was laid out in 2005 to commemorate Alan Barber who was Deputy and then Park Manager for 21 years.
The original roses were laid out in colour blocks of individual beds of reds, pinks, whites, yellows and orange and were all David Austin roses. The detailed planting plan from 2005 names every one of the many hundreds of different roses and notes their colour as well as growth and flowering habit.
The railings around the site were a slightly later addition and provide a sense of peaceful enclosure whilst at the same time offering a strong but elegant support for the roses themselves to drape and clothe the gates and rails.
Bristol City Council’s Parks Team have maintained and cared for the Rose Garden since it’s creation. In recent years due to financial constraints the staff numbers required to care for the roses has reduced significantly. The impact on the Rose Garden has led to weeds proliferating and the roses themselves to deteriorate in vigour and bloom.
The Future For the Rose Garden to continue as we feel it could and should we need people to help us. This might be in practical ways, joining us for muck spreading mornings in Autumn and Winter or pruning in Winter and early Spring, edging grass paths around the rose beds or deadheading roses in the Summertime.
For those unable to join in practical ways we need to raise funding for replacement roses. We will be renovating tired rose beds this Autumn and have ordered 50 new David Austin roses to plant. Donations can be made to buy new roses for many different reasons. Perhaps to commemorate a particular family member or friend, or in some cases a special pet, or maybe just because you have enjoyed walking in the Rose Garden and have nowhere to grow roses yourself.