A SURGE of colour has arrived at a famous country estate near Romsey this summer.

The National Trust-owned Mottisfont has revealed its "world-famous rose gardens" are ready for walkers to enjoy this summer.

Staff at the National Trust believe the long, cold spring has resulted in a spike of flowers, with there being more than 500 types of roses for visitors to marvel at.

Head Gardener, Jonny Norton, said: "All our walled garden herbaceous border plants – the irises, geraniums, peonies, campanula and foxgloves – got off to a very slow start this year because of the prolonged cold spring.

"The result is that this year, everything’s flowering at around the same time; it’s a stunning sight.”

He added why this year the displays will be "as beautiful as ever" and said: "Last year was exceptionally sad and strange seeing the roses blooming with so few to enjoy them, except the bees.

"Early signs are that displays are going to be as beautiful as ever, helped by the recent rainfall and warmer weather. "And in the lead up to June, we’ve nurtured the roses with a healthy prune followed by 40-odd tonnes of our own homemade compost, to give them a really good start to the season.”

Visitors to the walled gardens can discover flowers such as Souvenir de la Malmaison – a pale pink bourbon rose inspired by the Empress Josephine’s famous garden – and delicate China and tea roses in shades of cream, pink and red.

Ancient varieties include Rosa Gallica Officinalis, a light crimson and deeply scented shrub brought to England from Persia by the Crusaders, and the highly scented Quatre Saisons, an autumn damask which was grown by the Romans.

The rose gardens were created in the 1970s by Graham Stuart Thomas - one of the most important figures in 20th-century British horticulture.