THERE are more opportunities to experience a stunning collection of old-fashioned roses as a National Trust property has extended its opening hours this month.

The walled garden at Mottisfont is home to the National Collection of pre-1900 old-fashioned roses, which reach their peak in early summer.

Unlike modern species, old-fashioned roses tend to flower just once a year, so their blooming season is an extraordinary annual sight, attracting thousands of visitors.

Hampshire Chronicle: Close-up of orange, yellow rose, Rosa Graham Thomas, in the rose garden in June at Mottisfont, Hampshire

The National Trust property is now open until 8pm on Mondays to Saturdays until July 2, giving more opportunities to enjoy this brief blooming season.

Senior gardener Victoria Estcourt said: "We're excited for another glorious rose season at Mottisfont.

"The walled gardens are beginning to burst into life - splashes of colour are promising a bountiful June ahead, thanks to the combination of warm weather and rainfall in May.

Hampshire Chronicle: Visitors at Mottisfont, Hampshire

"The companion planting is set to put on a spectacular show this year; peonies are poised to bloom simultaneously with the roses, creating a rich, striking display. The colour and scent of the garden will be magnificent, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with visitors. Evening visits are particularly recommended as the fragrance can be especially intoxicating at this time of day.”

Over 500 varieties of rose bloom in Mottisfont’s walled gardens, including Rosa ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ – a sumptuous 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.

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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 by Graham Stuart Thomas - one of the most important figures in 20th-century British horticulture - in the 1970s. Mottisfont’s walled gardens were chosen to house many varieties of rose that may otherwise have been lost.

Hampshire Chronicle: The Rose Garden in June at Mottisfont, Hampshire.

Mottisfont’s gardeners take great pride in looking after this world-class rose garden. To prepare for the summer show, over 40 tonnes of Mottisfont’s homemade compost is spread throughout the walled garden.

Many of the roses can also be found for sale within Mottisfont’s plant centre.

Due to limited capacity in the car park, pre-booking a parking space is required to guarantee entry if visiting before 3.30pm. Tickets can be booked via Mottisfont’s website.

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