Our antique rose garden

It wouldn’t be possible for Le Passage Mohkan Shan to call itself a luxury French country house hotel without a garden dedicated to roses.

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, European botanists travelled the world in search of new plants for elaborate gardens back home, and in China they made a singular discovery: roses that bloom year-round. Although roses have been grown in China for more than 1,000 years, the forerunner of the rose garden as we know it was planted by Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais— the first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte– in Malmaison, France, between 1799-1814.

Joséphine de Beauharnais imported both leading gardening talent and scores of roses, financing many plant collecting trips to China. At her death in 1814, her garden included more than 250 varieties of roses. It is said that her plant hunters also introduced some 200 other plants to France. Joséphine commissioned the famous illustrator Pierre-Joseph Redoute to paint the flowers from her gardens. His book “Les Roses” was published from 1817 to 1820 with 168 plates of roses, dozens of which grew at Malmaison.

The rose has been the queen of flowers through the ages, and a symbol of love and beauty in many cultures. At Le Passage Mohkan Shan, the owners have a passion for flowers and fragrances, and have planted a rose garden with more than 12,000 bushes that represent a wide array of species and varieties. Every year we add a new collection of antique rose bushes in an effort to build a rich collection of roses from around the world.

To the delight of our guests, our rose garden is in bloom from early May until the end of November– a splash of coral pinks and royal reds amid the rolling green hills of our tea plantation. Roses are picked fresh every morning to decorate our bedrooms and the common areas of the hotel, and guests are welcome to join our gardener to collect the flowers and arrange fresh bouquets.

Andrew, our Maître de Maison, will be sure that every woman who stays at Le Passage Mohkan Shan leaves the hotel with a fresh bouquet.