A Visit to the Garden of Ninfa

These photos are for anyone who, like me, can’t visit the RHS London Rose Show this weekend. 

Curated by Rachel de Thame, the second annual show at the RHS Lawrence Hall, promises to be a “celebration of England’s favourite flower.” I’m really sorry to miss out, as Rachel tends to have an eye for all things elegant, and is well known for her knowledge and passion for roses.

Instead, I’m beavering away at work – but in my tea break, I thought I’d share my photo album of Ninfa. 


I was lucky enough to be invited on an Italian gardens tour at the beginning of May. Family commitments and work means I’ve not ventured abroad for around 10 years. I’m not complaining, I love British countryside and gardens.

But when a friend decided to celebrate her birthday with a tour of gardens, and invited 12 pals along, I couldn’t turn down the chance to go along.

We spent a week touring the gardens of Lazio near Rome. On our last day, we visited Ninfa. 

The garden planted among the ruins of the ancient town of Ninfa, is the work of generations of the Caetani family, most notably, Princess Lelia. Virtually every wall, tower and tree is draped in roses. They look as if they have grown naturally-all on their own- with no help from anyone. 

The approach to the garden is down a path with white rambling roses engulfing the boundary wall.

It was our lucky day. Our guide was the Director’s wife, Stella. Wherever there was a Sign saying no entrance, Stella lifted the rope barring our way and ushered us through. What a treat to see the secret areas of the garden, not open to the public. Such kindness is always appreciated, and never forgotten. 

The whole garden is filled with such fragrance. 
American Pillar, possibly. So beautiful against the blue/green walls. All the roses look so healthy.


Rosa Mutabilis- an old fashioned China  variety-quite often called the butterfly rose. 


We ducked down under this cloud of tiny red roses to cross the bridge.

The garden of Ninfa is open infrequently to protect its delicate environmental balance. More information from http://www.fondazionecaetani.org. We travelled on a bespoke gardens trip organised by  Success Tours  www.successtours.com accompanied by tour manager  Wendy Viney. We had the most luxurious coaches ever  and the best driver, Enrico (who saved our lives at least five times a day).Coaches by http://www.corsiepampanelli.it . We stayed at Villa Vecchia Hotel http://www.villavecchia.it   

Read more about Ninfa in RHS Lessons from Great Gardeners by Matthew Biggs, published by Mitchell Beazley.  www.rhsshop.co.uk 

Look out for next year’s RHS London Rose Show. http://www.rhs.org/shows-events/rhs-london-shows/rhs-london-rose-show. I’m determined not to miss it next time.

Have you been to any gardens that have had a big impact on you?  

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12 thoughts on “A Visit to the Garden of Ninfa

  1. What an incredibly special garden ….Lucky you to be taken around by the Director’s wife…It looks incredible. You really gave a sense of the place. Shall look for Matthew Biggs’ book to find out more. Going on the bucket list for sure : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jo. It was such a special day. The DIrector’s wife was such a kind woman- to let us in all the areas behind the ropes. We really appreciated that. I should have mentioned the birdsong. It was louder than her voice. Such a moment, when we realised there were so many birds surrounding us. Never been anywhere like it before. Thanks for your comment. X

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fabulous garden! Thanks so much for the tour – I adore roses and would not have enjoyed the garden otherwise! I particularly enjoyed the Rosa mutabilis pictures. When I saw the garden was in Lazio I thought of Christina at ‘Creating my Garden of the Hesperides’ who also gardens in the area. I see she has ‘liked’ your post but not left a comment. A pity you were not able to visit her. I blogged about a garden in the sun this week (trying to escape our awful rain!). Crarae Garden in Scotland.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know Christina’s garden was in that area. I would love to see it. It’s such a beautiful area. It was a real treat to be able to go. I feel so lucky. thanks for your comment. Will look out for your post on the Scottish garden. Mum would like to go- but travel by train. I’m just looking to see how possible that would be. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

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