Osborne Mothers’ Day


Like last year when I went to Mottistone, I do like to treat myself to a garden visit for Mothers’ Day, and this year it was Osborne House.  Osborne House is situated in East Cowes near the central northern tip of the Isle of Wight.  The property was built in the 1840s for Queen Victoria, her husband Prince Albert and their children.  According to English Heritage, who now own the property “It was built in the Italianate style in order to fit its setting on an island whose temperate climate and panoramic views over the Solent reminded Prince Albert of the Bay of Naples”.IMG_6187

There are a number of areas of gardens, firstly the parkland area, both near the entrance and between the house and the Solent.  These areas are more informal, with many hellebores and spring bulbs:IMG_6133



and some winter flowering shrubs like this Lonicera FragrantissimaIMG_6136

Edgeworthia chrysanthaIMG_6134and this fiery Berberis Darwinii.IMG_6117

In front of the house, to the north and overlooking the Solent, are formal terraces.  Although I’m not a fan of ‘park planting’ there’s something pleasing about the crisp layout as seen in winter. IMG_6185

And the pots are gorgeous!IMG_6177



It’s hard to spot in such murky weather, but you can just see the sea in the two photos above. This is the Solent, the strip of water which separates the Isle of Wight from the south coast of England.

My favourite area of the gardens, however, is the walled garden.  There are many references to Victoria and Albert here.  Not only the V and A intertwined in the ogee arch in the first picture, but also V and A potsIMG_6166

and many plants named for them, like these two rhubarbs.

In the glasshouse are wonderfully exotic Datura

as well as Strelitzia reginaeIMG_6153

and a pair of magnificent matching pots.  I can’t think what this is.  Any clues?IMG_6158

Back outside I found this lemon, growing against a south facing wall and just protected by fleece.  I’m starting to see the Bay of Naples connection!


And to finish, something to tempt me back!  Clearly the gardeners have been marking out large areas of the beds in the walled garden for direct sowing of annuals.  They’re really big areas so it will be intriguing to see what they plant.IMG_6164


Hopefully when I return I can also visit the Swiss Cottage (near the coast) where Victoria’s children used to play.  They each had their own garden plot where they “tended fruit, vegetables and flowers using miniature tools and their own monogrammed wheelbarrows. The produce was assessed by the under-gardener, Mr Warne, and if good enough, Albert would pay market rate to the child who had grown it.”  Aaah!

13 thoughts on “Osborne Mothers’ Day

  1. Chloris

    What a lovely visit and beautiful photos. Geranium maderense is gorgeous but too tender for our part of the world. I have seen enormous ones at Tresco.

  2. Cathy

    Hurrah – I was chuffed that I identified the mystery plant correctly but only cos I saw it on another blog this week! Look at that huge area for planting annuals – what an amazing sight that will be! Will you be going back later in the year? Lovely for you to see such big clumps of hellebores – even more gorgeous when they get to that size 🙂

    1. jenhumm116 Post author

      I’m excited to go back and see the annuals too. I never direct sow, so it’ll be interesting to see their success. The soil certainly looked immaculate!

  3. The Frustrated Gardener

    Lovely account. My Geranium maderense are outside and still a few weeks away from flowering. Sadly one, I think, had had its roots nibbled by vine weevil grubs so is starting to wilt and may not make it. I have never been to Osborne House, but following your post would very much like to.

  4. Pingback: Osborne House revisited | Duver Diary

  5. Pingback: Yearly round up – 2015 | Duver Diary

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