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Hever In Bloom: Feed your senses with scents and flavours of roses this summer

By Angela Cole

Feed your senses with Hever Castle and Gardens' In Bloom.

The senses is the theme with a focus on the scent and flavours of the rose garden with free garden tours, tastings, demonstrations and rose-flavoured cakes on sale.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the rose displays in the gardens and in the castle itself. Take a scented tour of the garden with one of the rose experts for a chance to take in the different scents and strengths of perfume.

The rotunda in the gardens at Hever
The rotunda in the gardens at Hever

The rose tour has been extended this year to include an optional tour of the newly-planted border beside the theatre which has damask roses grown by poet Emily Dickinson in her garden in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Hever head gardener Neil Miller said: “The damask rose (Rosa damascena) has been used for centuries to make rose-scented oils and rose water, as it is powerfully fragrant – a single flower will scent an entire room!”

"We love to take visitors around the sumptuous rose garden in June and this year we will be delivering a tasty experience - one based on the heavenly scent of the roses and the myriad of culinary possibilities.”

Ab Fab and Rhapsody in Blue roses
Ab Fab and Rhapsody in Blue roses

As the roses begin to bloom in the garden I often feel quite peckish - this could in part be be explained by the the fact that the rose is from the same family as the strawberry and both are edible! Rose petals have been used in many a dish including fruit salads, cakes, biscuits, granola and ice cream.

"With this in mind this year at we've added a culinary and sensory dimension to our rose tours at Hever Castle as we encourage visitors to try to make their own infused rose water and to bend down and really smell the roses, not just admire their gorgeous petals."

Iceberg wrapping the walls of the rose garden at Hever Castle
Iceberg wrapping the walls of the rose garden at Hever Castle

Visitors can learn the basics of distilling rose oil, enjoy a tasting of rose-inspired recipes and buy a locally sourced rose flavoured gin in the shop.

Three hundred ’Love struck’ roses have been planted in the formal rose garden - the scarlet rose was named Rose of the Year for 2018 at last year’s RHS Hampton Court. The gardening team has also planted 100 new Caron Keating roses to commemorate her life.

*Read Neil Miller's column here.


Hever in Bloom runs from Tuesday, June 26 to Sunday, July 1. To find out more about visiting the castle and gardens visit hevercastle.co.uk or call 01732 865224.

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