Gardens of the Rose site in St Albans to be put on the market

PUBLISHED: 09:17 07 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:15 08 August 2017

Gardens of the Rose

Gardens of the Rose


The five acre site of former tourist attraction the Gardens of the Rose may be sold by its administrators later this year.

Gardens of the RoseGardens of the Rose

The Royal National Rose Society, which ran the gardens in Chiswell Green Lane, was taken over by joint administrators Stephen Goderski and Peter Hart, of PKF Geoffrey Martin & Co, in May.

A spokeswoman for Geoffrey Martin & Co told the Herts Ad this week: “It is the joint administrator’s intention to market the company’s property in September, after the holiday period.”

The Green Belt land is not included in the district council’s Strategic Local Plan as a potential site for housing.

The gardens went into administration just two years after the closure of the neighbouring Butterfly World in December 2015. Butterfly World was open for six years before being shut by owners The Breheny Group due to trading losses.

The Gardens of the RoseThe Gardens of the Rose

The Royal National Rose Society was the world’s oldest specialist plant society, formed in 1876. The gardens themselves were opened more than 50 years ago by Mary, the Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, who was patron at the time.

At the time the closure of the gardens was announced, St Albans MP Anne Main described the closure as inevitable, describing the attraction as “a niche destination” which was “not terribly well-advertised”.

Members of the campaign group Save Butterfly World, which is continuing its fight to save the neighbouring attraction, also expressed their regret at the closure. The two sites shared an entrance road, with many visitors visiting both attractions. The gardens were due to reopen on June 10 before the announcement that they were going into administration.

The Rose Society’s stated aim was to create a ‘living dictionary’ of roses. The gardens covered five acres, and contained thousands of different types of rose.

The Gardens of the RoseThe Gardens of the Rose

Among those who were dismayed by the closure were Chiswell Green parish councillor John Bell, who described the gardens as a “beautiful local asset” and said it was sad for the staff, and the St Albans Visitor Partnership.

A Visitor Partnership spokesperson said: “The Royal National Rose Society Gardens had a had a stunning collection of blooms and was a real gem for visitors to enjoy.

“The gardens were a great asset to the visitor economy in St Albans district.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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