Queen Mary's Rose Garden

London, England

A tranquil garden containing London’s biggest collection of roses, Queen Mary’s Rose Garden is a peaceful place of beauty in Regent’s Park.

Nestled within the heart of London's enchanting Regent's Park lies a floral haven that has charmed visitors for generations – Queen Mary's Rose Garden. 

This splendid garden is not only a testament to nature's beauty but also a testament to British history and culture. With its roots dating back to the early 20th century, Queen Mary's Rose Garden is a place where time slows down and visitors can appreciate the diligent care of England’s national flower, the rose. Read on to find out more…

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The History of Queen Mary’s Rose Garden

Queen Mary's Rose Garden has been a cherished oasis for Londoners and tourists alike for over a century. Established in 1932, this horticultural gem was conceived to commemorate the memory of Queen Mary, the wife of King George V. It was named in her honour as a tribute to her dedication to the British public and her diligence as Queen Consort. 

Queen Mary’s Floral Legacy

Queen Mary, born Mary of Teck in 1867, was a remarkable figure in British history. She was born at Kensington Palace, in the same room as Queen Victoria, exactly two days and 48 years apart. 

As the wife of King George V, she served as the Queen Consort from 1910 to 1936. Known for her grace, style, and dedication to royal duties, Queen Mary was a prominent member of the British royal family during a pivotal era in the nation's history: the First World War.

Queen Mary has been remembered by modern historians as a somewhat frosty monarch with a magpie-like interest in beautiful and expensive objects. Though frugal for much of her early life, the Queen harboured a secret passion for extravagance (something she famously chastised her granddaughter, Princess Margaret, for). However, in recent years, private letters have surfaced showing a softer side to the Queen. 

Aside from sparkly jewels and decadent furniture, the Queen also admired natural beauty, especially flowers. At her wedding to the future King George V, Queen Mary carried a bouquet of Provence roses, orchids and orange blossoms. She also opted for her bridesmaids to have roses woven into their hair.

In 2020, when the famous Chelsea Flower Show was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Queen Elizabeth II made a tribute to her grandmother, saying: “I am sure that my grandmother, Queen Mary, who first attended the Chelsea Flower Show in 1916, would be delighted that many people today have an enthusiasm for horticulture and that gardening remains a popular pastime in the United Kingdom.”

Queen Mary’s Rose Garden: 101 Dalmatians, 12,000 Roses and a 10 Shilling Fine

Queen Mary's Rose Garden is home to 12,000 roses - the largest collection of its kind in London. Its reputation has earnt itself a spot as one of the most beautiful gardens in London - and even inspired an iconic meeting familiar to Disney fans all over the world. 

Disney fans may recognise the garden as the idyllic setting for a memorable scene in the classic animated film "101 Dalmatians." Queen Mary’s Rose Garden serves as the backdrop for the romantic (and hilarious) meeting of Roger and Anita, the human owners of Dalmatians Pongo and Perdita, everyone’s favourite doggy couple (apart from maybe Lady and The Tramp, of course!). 

Determined to impress Perdita (and to get Roger to notice Anita), Pongo steals Roger’s hat and ultimately manages to entwine the flustered humans with his leash at the edge of a pond. The pair fall into the water, and, minutes later (it is Disney, after all) in love. 

Lastly, although Queen Mary’s Rose Garden has only been around for less than a century, it’s made quite a few newspaper headlines. In 1938, two men were fined 10 shillings each for stealing 15 roses from Queen Mary’s Rose Garden. So - lesson learnt, by all means, sit down and enjoy the beautiful garden, but don’t leave with more than you arrived!

A Feast for the Senses

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- ©Kent Wang

Today, Queen Mary's Rose Garden continues to enchant visitors with its timeless beauty and fragrant blossoms. When you step inside, you're greeted by a kaleidoscope of colours and scents that transport you to a different world. The garden is home to over 12,000 roses, comprising approximately 85 different varieties. From delicate tea roses to vibrant hybrid teas and floribundas, the garden showcases the diversity and beauty of this beloved flower.

One of the most striking features of the garden is its layout. The roses are meticulously arranged in concentric circles around a central water fountain, creating a captivating visual spectacle. As you wander through the garden, you'll discover charming archways covered in climbing roses, inviting benches where you can pause and take in the scenery, and perfectly manicured hedges that define the pathways. There are even climbing roses near the toilets!

The garden's horticultural expertise is evident in its well-maintained flowerbeds, ensuring that the roses are at their most vibrant during the summer months when they burst into full bloom. 

Visitors can also admire the skillful artistry of the garden's topiary, with bushes shaped into various forms that add an extra layer of charm to the landscape. A special mention has to be made for the gorgeous elephant topiary bush - it’s quite well hidden during certain times of the year but when found, it’s worth all the effort!

A Place of Tranquility

Beyond the visual splendour, Queen Mary's Rose Garden offers a peaceful respite from the bustling city streets of London. It's a place where you can escape the noise and chaos of urban life and immerse yourself in the serenity of nature. Whether you're a passionate gardener, a casual visitor, or simply seeking a tranquil spot to read a book or have a picnic, the garden welcomes everyone.

Throughout the year, the garden hosts a variety of events and activities, from guided tours and horticultural talks to seasonal rose exhibitions. 

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A Living Tribute to Queen Mary

Queen Mary's Rose Garden in Regent's Park is a living tribute to Queen Mary and the British public’s love of gardens. It's a place where history, culture, and nature intersect, inviting visitors to step into a world of beauty and tranquillity - completely free of charge. So, whether you're a rose enthusiast, a film buff with a love for Disney classics, or simply looking for a serene escape in the heart of London, Queen Mary's Rose Garden beckons with open arms, ready to captivate your senses and transport you to a world of timeless charm.

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