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Aug 11 • 2012 • BushesFlowerGardensRoseRose GardensSocietyWeatherchiswellro

ROSE NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

UK

GARDENS OF THE ROSE UNDER THREAT

THE future of the Gardens of the Rose and the society which runs it hinges on the success of a planning application for parking which is being submitted next month.

 

The rose gardens in Chiswell Green Lane have just closed after this summer’s temporary five-week opening period during which visitor numbers were down because of the poor weather.

Despite that shortfall, opening the gardens is the biggest money spinner for the Royal National Rose Society (RNRS) and raises more than income from membership.

But unless the RNRS succeeds in getting planning permission for 30 permanent parking spaces adjoining the gardens, both the society and the grounds will be forced to close.

The Gardens of the Rose have been a visitor attraction in St Albans for many years but the parking situation has been problematical since part of the RNRS land was sold for the creation of Butterfly World next door and the two were to have shared access and parking.

But the society and Butterfly World were unable to reach agreement and as a result, the RNRS has to apply for temporary parking for a short period in the summer – and unless it can reach a permanent resolution the board has already decided that closure is the only answer.

Chief executive Roz Hamilton confirmed this week: “We are putting in another planning application for 30 parking spaces just outside the gardens and if we don’t get that we can’t continue.”

The sticking point is that the site the RNRS wants to use is in the Green Belt and has already been turned down for planning permission before.

But it is throwing everything at one final attempt including a commissioned report about the number of accidents around the site – none of which have happened in the summer when the gardens are open – the site’s reclassification as a leisure facility and an offer to put in mature trees to screen the parking site from view.

The gardens were open from June 9 until July 29 this year and although visitors were down from between 8,000 and 9,000 to 6,500 because of the weather, the opening still accounts for more than 50 per cent of the RNRS income because of the success of the tea room and rose sales.

Ideally the gardens would open for four months a year so visitors could see the second flush of roses in the summer and it would have a licence to conduct weddings – which cannot happen until a permanent resolution of the parking situation is reached.

Roz said: “This planning application is critical because if it doesn’t succeed the society will fold and the garden will close.”

She added: “It is a long fight we have had here and we are eternal optimists but you have to take a realistic view of the financial situation and we can’t survive unless we take more money from our garden opening.”

Details of all our roses are available on our web site.

Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

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Aug 01 • 2012 • EnglishGrowersHorticulturalRamblersRose NewsWeatherrosesseasonspecies.colin

ROSE NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

 

WET SUMMER THREATENS ROSE WORLD

VETERAN rose grower Colin Gregory admits this summer’s wet weather has brought the horticultural industry “to a standstill” and growers could need to reassess how they grow, sell and market their product to succeed.

A turbulent summer in the UK has seen consistent rainfall and strong winds hinder rose growers across the region as many have struggled to cope with the sudden weather changes.

With more than 32 years of experience Colin believes this year has been one of the toughest on record and fears it could be a sign of things to come.

He said: “We seem to be having these challenges year in, year out. Sometimes we can have four seasons in one month. I think we have to be more adaptable and be prepared for the unexpected out of season.”

Established in 1997, Colin Gregory Roses of Weston Hills grows more than 250 varieties from specialities like this year’s rose of the year, Moment in Time, to the more traditional species such as climbers, ramblers and Old English.

However, Colin admits he could be forced to grow a smaller selection of roses as the uncertainty surrounding the weather means he can’t always guarantee sellable stock.

He continued: “I think as a director I’m going to have to sit down and reassess not just the position of how we grow, sell and market roses but also consider a lot of varieties we grow and ensure we can grow the best of the best varieties.”

This year’s selection has been heavily reliant on fungicides and insecticides to survive and if the wet weather continues more will be needed to keep the fragile stock alive in the coming weeks.

Colin hopes for a period of good weather towards the end of the summer while he still has product of sufficient quality to catch the tail end of the busy selling period.

USA

THINGS ARE LOOKING ROSIER

Among gardeners, roses are known as the aging celebrities of the flower world. Instead of the chemical peels and injectable fillers that keep Hollywood stars looking like starlets, roses must be doused with fungicides and pesticides and pumped up with fertilizers. Even in nature, a rosy glow does not always come naturally.

But at the New York Botanical Garden, in the Bronx, Peter E. Kukielski is trying to change that. The curator of the botanical garden’s Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, Mr. Kukielski is in the vanguard of a national movement to identify and promote rose varieties that will thrive without chemical intervention.

Since arriving at the garden in 2006, he has led a horticultural revolution, weeding out most of the 243 rose varieties he found when he got to the Bronx and introducing more than 600 new ones. Modern roses are the product of hybridizing, in which strains are mixed to create new varieties; that effort has focused on the beauty of the roses, not their toughness.

“Roses have existed on earth for 34 million years,” said Mr. Kukielski, surrounded by some of his charges under a beating sun. “The genetics of roses are intact, but our meddling has messed them up. One of the things that got left behind was disease resistance.”

Since his campaign began, the use of fungicide, once sprayed liberally to eradicate black spot, a common disease of roses, has fallen by 86 percent.

Another payoff of his search for hardier varieties is a longer season. The Bronx garden typically had two dazzling months. There was a colorful splash in June, and a second display in September. But the garden now puts on a show seven months of the year, blooming from May to November.

The transformation of the one-acre rose garden has coincided with an increased awareness about the risks of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in general. Some local governments and school districts have stopped using them entirely, while consumers have increasingly turned to organic products.

The shift was not easy. When Mr. Kukielski first approached growers, the reception was anything but warm. “Some people slammed the door in my face and others laughed,” he recalled.

Taking a cue from the high-stakes testing now so dominant in public education, Mr. Kukielski, who with his crew cut and beefy arms, looks more drill sergeant than rosarian, uses a 10-point rating scale for his roses, compiling data points like form, color, fragrance, foliage, duration of bloom and, most important, hardiness. He evaluates every rose in the garden once a month. Twice a year, he enlists volunteers to conduct their own evaluations.

“I may give the plant an 8, but if everyone else is giving it a 5, it’s obviously not a strong plant,” he said. “I might have given it an 8 because I love it so much. This evaluation system takes all the emotion out of it.”

In 2006, only 23 percent of the roses scored a 6 or higher, Mr. Kukielski’s threshold for a rose variety to remain in the mix. Last year, 87 percent scored a 6 or above. He has achieved that while rapidly expanding the number of varieties — currently at 693 — and scaling back on chemicals. His staff sprays sparingly for pests like spider mites and rose midges, but the formulations are lighter than in the past. Fertilizers are organic, with fish emulsion a favorite.

One rose variety that will soon be shown the wrought-iron gate is a hybrid tea rose named About Face. The blossoms are lovely: golden-apricot on the inside, pink outside. But the foliage has black spot and withered leaves carpet the ground beneath the bushes. “It’s a beautiful bloom, and it has a great name, but it’s not what we need it to be,” he said.

Nearby, Mr. Kukielski is conducting an even more radical experiment, part of the National Earth-Kind Rose Research Study, which was begun by Texas A&M University’s AgriLife Extension Service to find especially vigorous rose varieties. Two years ago, he planted 32 rose varieties in a small plot, gave them some initial water and then let them fend for themselves. “We’ve used no fertilizers, no sprays, no water,” he said.

The varieties, which have names like Carefree Beauty and All the Rage, have mostly thrived.

Mr. Kukielski empathizes with home gardeners who become frustrated when the roses they plant do not match the lush photographs they see in the mail-order catalogs. He blames some hybridizers who for years have put their energy into achieving a particular hue or form without concern for how well the plant will fare in the garden. “People tell me that they can’t grow roses, and what I tell them is that it’s not your fault,” he said. “A lot of the roses out there are not meant to succeed.”

Details of all our roses are available on our web site.

Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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May 23 • 2012 • ChelseaDisplayFlowerGardenRose NewsWeatherroses

ROSE NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

UK

Chelsea Flower Show Beats The Weather.

The display gardens for the 99th Chelsea Flower show burst into full bloom in London on press viewing day, despite one of the driest winters and wettest springs in Britain for decades and a tough economic environment sweeping Europe.

Severe drought in the southeast English region that includes London has led to the imposition of water restrictions and Chelsea designers have responded by making responsible water use one of the show's key themes.

Caroline Spelman, the British secretary of state for the Department of Rural Affairs and Food and a keen gardener, visited the Climate Calm garden, an installation that showed the effects of climate change in the water-stressed southeast.

"I feel I've learned a lesson as a gardener for this year and for all future years, which is to think carefully when I'm making choices about which plants use water sparingly, so that I too can use water wisely," she told Reuters.

The show, which takes place on the sprawling lawns between the red-bricked elegance of the Royal Hospital, a 17th century retirement home for army veterans, and the river Thames, draws in over 150,000 visitors each year.

This year, with the London 2012 Olympics fast approaching and the nationwide celebrations for Queen Elizabeth's 60th anniversary as monarch two weeks away, the show had a definite patriotic feel to it.

Union Jack flags were ubiquitous, dotted around displays, woven into patterns in the flowerbeds and even adorning the jackets, t-shirts and dresses of attendees.

To commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, a number of growers unveiled new varieties of flowers. In rose grower David Austin's installation, the pale pink Royal Jubilee romped with the fiery Fighting Temeraire and white Tranquility varieties.

CHELSEA RED

Adding a nostalgic touch, the Chelsea Pensioners, the residents of the Royal Hospital, turned out in force in their unmistakable bright red overcoats to pose with members of the British Korean Veterans Association by a garden that recreated the landscape found in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

The Great Pavilion, the central display tent, housed over 150 exhibits and thousands of flowers, where the heady scents of lilies, roses and other garden favorites vied with wafts of expensive perfume for supremacy.

Perhaps also reflecting the more sober economic backdrop, there were a greater number of visitors clutching cups of upmarket tea or coffee than the more usual champagne flutes.

The flower show attracts a varied audience, from green-thumbed television personalities, to business executives and social high-flyers, as well as the many celebrities that lend their faces to individual gardens.

Formula 1 boss Frank Williams posed with a topiary in the shape of one of his Williams team F1 cars, complete with topiary pit crew, while Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden posed in a replica Corsican garden, complete with fragrant olive trees, lavender, rosemary and stone sheepfold.

Former Beatles' drummer Ringo Starr unveiled an artisan garden sponsored by WaterAid, a charity geared towards providing clean drinking water in developing nations.

"I truly believe everybody should have clean water and I'm just doing my small part to make sure that happens," Starr, a passionate environmentalist, said.

Towering above the show was the Westland Magical Garden, a multi-storey pyramid that featured level upon level of gardens designed by award-winning gardener Diarmuid Gavin, who set out to explore the idea of making the most of precious open space, especially in urban settings.

Comedy actor Ricky Gervais, the acid-tongued former Oscar host and star of the original TV comedy series "The Office", said he was in awe of what he called "true artists at work"

"It's fantastic that they try, particularly with the installations, where they have to bring out how beautiful it is naturally. It sends a chill down my spine," Gervais said.

Chelsea Flower Show, which is organized by the Royal Horticultural Society (www.rhs.org.uk) runs from May 22-26.

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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May 19 • 2012 • ChelseaDroughtFlowerJubileeRose NewsRoyalShowWeatherWettestgardeners

Rose News From Around The World

UK

Chelsea

POOR WEATHER AT CHELSEA CAUSES PROBLEMS

The Royal Jubilee rose looks worryingly floppy and the Turk's head lilies won't open on the penultimate buildup day

It was a mild, calm day at the Chelsea flower show on Friday, which is more than could be said for the gardeners. With a bitterly cold winter followed by a hot, dry March and the wettest April on record, plus the odd slash of hail and sleet in the last weeks of the buildup, their nerves were shredded.

Nigel DunneTt's rainwater-saving drought garden was built while rain was coming down in torrents. Now the rain had stopped, he had to fill the pools with tap water, and it was so dark that his swaths of Turk's head lilies would not open. "They will open," he said determinedly, "and if they don't, they look very nice as buds."

According to young David Austin, his arms full of a rose bush almost as tall as himself, this was "the worst Chelsea, no question, the worst". Old David Austin, founder of the eponymous rose-growers and still a flower show regular at 86, would be along any minute to check his work. All their show roses had to go back into heated glasshouses to persuade them to bloom in time, and some did not like the treatment at all – including Royal Jubilee, a new rose that is looking worryingly floppy before the Queen's visit on Monday evening.

"A lot of patience. A lot. But no swearing," Darren Share, head of Birmingham council's gardens, said firmly. The centrepiece of the Brum garden is an old Mini, confiscated from a colleague's wife and now planted all over with sedum. "Done her a favour. I reckon we saved somebody's life when we took the engine out of that."

If the plants all die in Tony Heywood and Alison Condie's Glamourland, it would be an artistic statement more than a disaster. Their concept garden is about the struggle between natural and artificial worlds, with a soundtrack nightmarishly mixing birdsong and computer game noises. So far nature seemed to be winning, Condie conceded, down on her knees tidying the ground-cover plants that were being pecked to pieces by birds, and breathing in a heady reek of fox pee.

Diarmuid Gavin was reclining on a sofa 12 metres (40ft) up in the air, giggling. "Anywhere you like – astonish me!" he chirped as one of his gardeners staggered past, weighed down by pots of lilies. Last year he created Chelsea's first and almost certainly last flying garden, hauled into the air by a crane. While working on that he was walking along the river past Albert bridge, which was swaddled in scaffolding while being refurbished, and had a brainwave for this year's show: the hanging gardens of Babylon, on five levels and 24 metres tall, involving 4.2 miles of scaffolding and trees sprouting out at wild angles.

The way up is by alarmingly swaying lift past the first-floor vegetable garden, second-floor bar and third-floor potting shed, to the rooftop. Down, for the brave, is by stainless steel tube slide, inspired by Carsten Höller's at the Tate. "I'm going to do something really special next year, I've got it all in my head, just you wait," Gavin said. "It'll be a surprise."

In truth, the only way he could surprise Chelsea is if he brings a neat rectangle of nicely mown lawn, with a few daisies to add excitement.

She probably would not say it too loudly in front of the gardeners, but the weather struck the deputy show manager, Sarah Easton, as pretty perfect. "No watering this year, so we're really happy," she said, "and the result of all that rain is that it all looks incredibly lush for visitors."

In the wretched weeks of April, she had a mud crew scraping the top level of soil off the show garden sites and a puddle crew on standby to pump out developing lakes. "Incredible camaraderie" developed as a result, she said.

Early visitors included Daniel Chamovitz, American author of What a Plant Knows, and a bit startled by the trench warfare of Chelsea on the penultimate buildup day: "Wow. More plywood than plants." He was charmed by a tiny Japanese-designed, moss-covered cottage. "What does moss know?" he pondered. "Moss doesn't really care. Give me water and light and let me just sit here and hang out and photosynthesise, that's what moss knows."

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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May 16 • 2012 • BudColoursHabitPetalsRoseRose of the WeekWeatherbloomsclustersfoliageshrub

ROSE OF THE WEEK

GRUSS AN AACHEN

Shrub Roses (Old Fashioned and Modern)

 Year: 1909

Height:  2ft

A superb rose which produces large clusters of blooms of pale orange- red plus yellow in the bud stage. As the blooms open they change to a beautiful blend of pearly pink blush and cream with an attractive silky sheen on the petals. The strength of colour is often determined by the weather and the difference in colours can be quite pronounced. The shape of the blooms can be very similar to an English David Austin rose and are often mistaken for one of that variety. A good repeat flowering habit, and in our opinion and is probably one of the most beautiful roses we have ever sold. The blooms are very weather tolerant, and the rich dark green foliage is healthy and disease free. An excellent bedding rose with the bonus of a great perfume which makes it a great rose for cutting. The perfume is a cross between the classical Tea Rose and honey. Not a very large variety so will grow in a container quite successfully. For the best results dead head regularly and only prune lightly in the spring. The roses ancestry is very complex, so rosarian’s around the world never seem too agree on how to classify it, is it a Floribunda a Hybrid Tea a Polyantha or a Bourbon shrub? One fact that is certain is that it was bred from the famous white Hybrid Perpetual ‘Frau Karl Druschki’ which was considered to be the finest white rose of its time. Frau Karl Druschki was the wife of the President of the German Rose Society. It is also believed that ‘Gruss An Aachen’ was the original rose that began the Floribunda variety. A truly remarkable rose that was bred by Philip Geduldig. The name ‘Gruss An Aachen’ means "Greetings to Aachen" in Germany which was the breeders home city. Almost thornless. Highly recommended. Also known as 'White Willow Glen'

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

 

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Oct 29 • 2011 • DisasterDriftGrassHerbicideRose NewsVictoria ParkWeatherWeeds.Windy

ROSE NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

AUSTRALIA

Weedkiller devastates city’s rose gardens. Council suspected.

GOULBURN’S widely-admired public rose gardens have been devastated by accidental council weed spraying, according to the Rose Committee and Cr Margaret O’Neill.

A count yesterday found some 600 rose bushes – including many iconic City of Goulburn blooms – have been poisoned in the past month.

Mayor Geoff Kettle has promised a full investigation. The dead and dying bushes will leave huge unsightly gaps in once-magnificent autumn displays of flowers that for 19 years have drawn many visitors to the Goulburn Rose Festival.

Goulburn Mulwaree Council workers were seen spraying weeds and grass with Round-up beside the rose gardens within the past three or four weeks. Grass and weeds where they sprayed is now dead – and so are many rose bushes that fell victim to herbicide drift in windy weather.

"I was only made aware of it this morning. I can't comment too much at this stage, because there's an investigation under way as to who, how, or why it happened,” Cr Kettle said yesterday.

"What I can say is, it's a despicable act. Whatever has happened, it has to be put right."

Rose Committee members, who organise the Rose Festival and care for the city’s public rose gardens on a volunteer basis, are appalled at the destruction.

The Goulburn Postyesterday accompanied committee member Jill Harrison as she grimly counted the dead and dying bushes.

“This is a disaster,” she said.

“How could anybody do this, let alone council workers who were seen spraying grass and weeds near the roses when it was windy?

“Round-up takes 10 days to start killing off plants, so from the look of the damage, they must have been spraying in the past month or so.

“I don’t know what the Rose Committee can do now. A great deal of work over the years has gone into making Goulburn’s rose gardens the city’s pride, and many people have donated roses, as well as time and effort, in developing some of the best displays anywhere in Australia.”

Also incensed by the destruction, Cr Margaret O’Neill, who lives opposite Victoria Park and saw the spraying there, vowed to make the Council apologise for the damage and also replace all dead roses.

“I’m just devastated by what’s happened,” she said.

“The council will have to fix it - whoever they blame. It’s happened. They’ll have to find the money for it, they’ll have to pay for it. “A lot of good people in our community have donated roses and worked for the Rose Committee, and previous Councils have been very supportive.

“The community owes them a lot.

“I was one of the Rose Committee founders, and the late Keith Cole was a chairman and patron of it.

“Now this has happened. I’m devastated. I’ll certainly be demanding at the next meeting that the council finds the money to restore these ruined gardens.”

Yesterday’s roses “death count” revealed: Victoria Park, 320 bushes; Pockley Garden, 160; Phyllis Rudd Garden, 74; Tenison Wood front garden, 19, back garden, 13; Howard Park, 10. The Rose Committee pays from $12 to upwards of $30 for new rose bushes, depending on variety.

Excluding labour and remediation costs, the bill for replacement plants would probably top $10,000

Before

After

Details of all our roses are available on our web site.

Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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