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Tag: roses

Sep 09 • 2012 • BloomBudsFlowersFragranceGardenNew Roses For 2013Wonderfulfloribundaplant



Floribunda  2ft-3ft

EBB TIDE is a wonderful floribunda to add to your garden. Deep smoky purple buds open to full old-fashioned flowers the colour of rich plum velvet. Intense spicy clove fragrance only adds to the attractiveness of this rose. This very hardy floribunda will bloom all season long well into frost.  A captivating garden focal point that keeps getting better the longer it's established. Please note that young Ebb Tide plants may bloom in shades with a pinkish or reddish cast. The blooms will darken to purple as the plant matures.

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



Sep 06 • 2012 • HybridNew Roses For 2013QualityRecommendedRoseSizeTeablooms



Hybrid Tea  3ft-5ft  1997

Plenty of blooms on this superb hybrid tea rose.

Exhibition quality blooms of cream edged with cerise throughout the season.

Selected and named on behalf of Britain's Royal National Institute For The Blind.

For sheer quality and size this one takes some beating.

 Highly Recommended.

 Wonderful Fragrance.

 Also known as 'Cindy'

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



Sep 02 • 2012 • ColourfulFlowersHealthyNew Roses For 2013Rosebloomsclimbingfoliageperfumeseason



Climbing Rose  10ft-12ft  2008 An attractive and colourful climber from the USA.

The blooms are a great combination of ivory yellow over pink on well formed flowers. Easy to grow and flowers right through the season.

A vigorous and healthy rose with a pleasant apple perfume. Glossy mid green foliage. A real eye catcher. Bred by Carruth. USA

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



Aug 29 • 2012 • ColourFlowersHybridNew Roses For 2013Rosebrightbushyshrub



Shrub Rose  2012.  3ft Produces an eyecatching display of cascading colour, this lovely Persica hybrid blooms freely with small pretty pink flowers with red and gold centres, nice easily managed bushy growth with exceptionally high disease resistance associated with the Persica’s.    Scented.

Available from November 2012

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



Aug 27 • 2012 • BoscobelEnglishFlowersNew Roses For 2013Roseshrub



English Shrub Rose.  David Austin. 2012  3ft

English Leander hybrid, ‘Boscobel’, bears rich salmon coloured flowers. “They commence as red buds which open at first to pretty cups, gradually developing into perfectly formed blooms of classic rosette formation”, says the rose breeder. The numerous small petals are of varying shades, mingling to provide a most pleasing effect. The delightful, medium-strong myrrh fragrance has a hawthorn character with hints of elderflower, pear and almond. It forms an upright shrub of medium size, with dark green, glossy foliage. All new varieties, according to David Austin Roses, are vigorous and healthy. Boscobel House, owned by English Heritage, was built in 1632. It is famous for the fact that Charles II hid there in an oak tree, whilst being pursued by Cromwell’s soldiers during the English Civil War. Available from November 2012

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




Aug 25 • 2012 • FlowersGlossyGrowingGrowthHybridLeavesNew Roses For 2013Scentedplant



Hybrid Tea Rose 3ft

The flowers of this hybrid tea are a soft peachy apricot, lightly scented and produced singly. Leaves are glossy and large and new growth is a bright copper red. Habit is upright. Rosa Always Remember Me is a medium growing plant reaching about 3 feet (100cms). Do you remember PC Bill Barker? His name is synonymous with the Cumbrian floods of 2009 when he was swept away from a collapsing bridge in Workington when ensuring the safety of others. His family and the community will never forget the courage of a people’s hero. And in years to come, a new rose called “Always Remember Me�? will blossom in memory of PC Barker’s steadfast nature. Sales of the rose will benefit the Air Rescue, an important charity nominated by PC Barker.

Available from Country Garden Roses from December 2012.

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

Over 1000 varieties to choose from.




Aug 01 • 2012 • EnglishGrowersHorticulturalRamblersRose NewsWeatherrosesseasonspecies.colin




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.



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.



Jul 29 • 2012 • ChildFalmouth.TownFootballRose Newsbirthsroses



ROSES could be planted for every child born in Falmouth under plans being studied by the town council.

The idea was put forward by Councillor David Sterratt, chairman of the council's finance and general purposes committee.

He said he had learnt of the idea during the Euro 2012 football tournament, as the Ukrainian capital Kiev had planted thousands over the years to celebrate births.

"I thought it would be nice here for each child to have an allotted rose," he said.

Cornwall Council has expressed support in principal, saying the idea could improve areas of the town where there was no planting.

However, town councillors voiced concern at the possible cost; one quote for 200 roses was £3,000.

Finance officer Ruth Thomas said the roses selected needed to "have longevity, be visually striking and have a nice scent".

Roses planted about 20 years ago around the Killigrew Monument at Grove Place were still flourishing, she said.

Vicki Marshall, known in west Cornwall as the Garden Lady, who supplied these plants, had been delighted to see them doing so well on a recent visit.

"The garden remains a delight to locals and visitors alike," she said. "All enjoy the perfumed, magical space that has been created."

She said this was the type of garden councils should be creating, moving away from the formula of bedding schemes which did not help wildlife and were costly to maintain.

The price quoted by Cornwall council contractor Cormac, including preparing the bed, worked out at £15 per rose plant.

It was agreed to investigate costs further before bringing the subject back to a future meeting.

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

Over 1000 varieties to choose from.




Jul 15 • 2012 • BlackspotContainerDeeplyFertilizerGardenMildewRose TipsWateringroses


Watering Roses

Roses Love Water

Beautiful rose bushes of varieties like Champagne and Absolutely Fabulous can easily be grown in your garden or container. All it takes is lots of sun, a little fertilizer and, of course, consistent watering. Nothing is more important for a rose bush's survival and performance than water. Roses absolutely love water. Here are a few tips to ensure you quench the thirst of the most beautiful plants in your garden:

  • In  general, soil for roses should be watered deeply, but infrequently. This  will encourage strong root growth. Even during winter, occasional watering of garden roses during dry periods will help them perform better during the next growing season.
  • Water in the morning to help prevent black spot and mildew.
  • Avoid  wetting the plant's leaves during regular watering, which can spread  disease.
  • However,  about once a week, give your rose a "shower" with a spray nozzle   hose attachment. This treatment not only adds water and humidity, it  clears leaves of dust, dirt and spider mites or other harmful insects.      Never sprinkle bushes in the afternoon or evening, which can promote  disease.
  • Container  roses will need to be watered frequently because water evaporates more      quickly from plants above ground. Initially, water the plant well to get it  firmly established.
  • Mulch (2 to 3 inches around a bush) to help retain moisture from watering and reduce future watering needs. Mulching also helps keep the soil cool and  helps control weeds.

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

Over 1000 varieties to choose from.



Jul 11 • 2012 • AustinAutumnBarerootChelseaEnglishFlowerNew Roses For 2013Pottedroses




David Austin Roses have launched five new English Roses at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. They will be available to order as bare root or potted roses from autumn 2012.                 Tranquillity ‘Tranquillity’ is an English Musk hybrid. The flowers are of a beautifully rounded shape with neatly placed petals, making up a perfect rosette. The buds are lightly tinged with yellow but as the flowers open they become pure white. There is a light apple fragrance. The growth is upright, gradually curving outwards at the top. ‘Tranquillity’ has typical light green Musk Rose foliage and is almost thornless.

Royal Jubilee ‘Royal Jubilee’, an English Alba hybrid, has been named to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. In the press release, the breeder refers to this variety as “a unique rose for a unique occasion”. The deep pink flowers are large and of a deep chalice shape; the petals are incurving so the stamens within can just be seen. The blooms have a rich fruity fragrance with hints of blackcurrant. ‘Royal Jubilee’ has very few thorns. The Lark Ascending ‘The Lark Ascending’ is again an English Musk hybrid. This variety illustrates the great diversity that is now to be found among English Roses. The flowers are cupped in shape and of a light apricot colouring. Produced from the ground upwards in heads of up to fifteen, they are medium in size, with about twenty petals in each bloom. They have a light fragrance that has been observed to vary from one flower to another. Some of them are Tea scented while others move towards the scent of myrrh. Heathcliff

David Austin says in the press release, “There are few roses as popular as those of deep crimson colouring, and none so difficult to breed”. However, their new rose, ‘Heathcliff’, an Old Rose hybrid, is a beautiful addition to English Roses of this colour. It has large, fully double flowers of a deep rosette shape. The deep crimson colour has a certain softness that reminds some of the old red Gallica Roses. It has shiny, deep green leaves and rather upright growth. Its fragrance is pleasing and rather unusual – Tea Rose with a mixture of Old Rose and just a hint of cedar wood. Boscobel

English Leander hybrid, ‘Boscobel’, bears rich salmon coloured flowers. “They commence as red buds which open at first to pretty cups, gradually developing into perfectly formed blooms of classic rosette formation”, says the rose breeder. The numerous small petals are of varying shades, mingling to provide a most pleasing effect. The delightful, medium-strong myrrh fragrance has a hawthorn character with hints of elderflower, pear and almond. It forms an upright shrub of medium size, with dark green, glossy foliage. All new varieties, according to David Austin Roses, are vigorous and healthy.

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



Jul 07 • 2012 • BushCharity RosesMercyPinkPottedRosefloribundaplant



Mercy Rose

Mercy Ships UK has released a new ‘Mercy Rose’ potted plant which is now available to buy.

Proceeds from the sales of the potted plant will go towards funding the world’s largest charity hospital ship that provides free medical care and humanitarian aid to the poorest countries in Africa.

The launch of the potted plant follows the success of the initial Mercy Rose bare root plant which was launched last year in August.

These unique pale pink roses have been developed over time to provide a floribunda bush rose that blooms from June to late autumn. A cluster of up to nine buds reveal delicate shell-pink flowers with a fresh, spicy perfume. The Mercy Rose potted plant is now available from Mercy Ships and costs £11.95.

The Mercy Rose is grown by Harkness, specialist rose growers for over 130 years. Funds raised from the sale of the Mercy Rose help pay for the medical care provided on board the Africa Mercy which is currently finishing a six-month field service in Togo, West Africa.

You can acquire either the potted plant or the bare root plant direct from Mercy Ships by calling 01438 727800 or by e-mailing [email protected].

About Us

Imagine a ship crewed by doctors, nurses, water engineers and agriculturalists visiting some of the world’s poorest countries. Now imagine their life-changing services offered free of charge…

Right now dedicated volunteers from around the world are bringing hope and healing to thousands of people who could never have believed it possible. Welcome to Mercy Ships, a compassionate response to a world where many have lost hope

. What we do

Mercy Ships provides free surgery and medical care, and partners with local communities to improve health care, offering training and advice, materials and hands-on assistance.


There are lots of ways that you can support the work of Mercy Ships such as financial donations, fundraising, volunteering and much more. Your support will help Mercy Ships save lives and improve the quality of life for poor people in developing nations.

call 01438 727800 or by e-mailing [email protected].

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



Jun 25 • 2012 • BestBloom.RosesGardensHorticulturalRHS.ShowsRoseRose GardensSummer


Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden 

Royal Horticultural Society.

The Ten Best Rose Gardens. Roses are soon to be in full bloom in gardens across Britain. Here are 10 outstanding RHS Gardens and Partner Gardens where you can see roses at their very best this summer.

RHS Gardens and shows

RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey

Celebrating its first anniversary this summer, the Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden creates a memorable summer spectacle with more than 4,000 roses interplanted with 5,000 herbaceous plants. Designed to demonstrate the full range of rose types available to modern gardeners, from true old roses, English roses and floribundas (cluster-flowered) through to rose species that are rarely seen in a garden setting, this garden boasts more than 150 cultivars. The colour scheme, of hot to cool and back again, creates a visual impact that complements perfectly the impressive range of scents.

RHS Garden Rosemoor, Devon

More than 2,000 roses from nearly 200 cultivars are found within Rosemoor’s two rose gardens that make up part of the formal, hedged gardens in the 65 acre estate. The Queen Mother’s Rose Garden bursts with more than 60 modern cultivars of hybrid tea (large-flowered) and floribunda roses, with a mix of climbers to clothe the central arbour, arches and obelisks, while the Shrub Rose Garden mixes 130 old-fashioned and traditional selections. Visit Rosemoor for Rose Weekend, 23 – 24 June.

RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex

The Modern Rose Garden at Hyde Hall reaches its full glory in June when the roses erupt into a wonderful display of colour and fill the air with a heady fragrance. The area, bounded by yew and box hedges, is planted in a formal style with a range of colours from deep, velvety red through oranges and yellows to pale creams and crisp, clear whites. Obelisks add height and structure for climbing roses and late-flowering clematis.

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Surrey

From 3-8 July, the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show will bring together some of the UK’s best rose growers in the ‘Romance and Roses’ marquee. Bursting with blooms to buy at the peak of perfection, the marquee will also be home to the rose nurseries’ new roses for 2012, alongside floral interpretations of some of the great love stories of myth and literature, such as Beauty and the Beast, Romeo and Juliet, and Lancelot and Guinevere.

RHS Partner Gardens

Houghton Hall, Norfolk

The rose garden at Houghton Hall is divided into two contrasting areas: one stately and formal, the other in a looser style. The outer garden has an informal, cottage style, and the roses are interplanted with Philadelphus, rosemary, peonies and euphorbias. It is a mass of colour, perfume and variety, and a great place to see how roses can look when grown alongside many other kinds of plants.

Cambo Gardens, Fife

Staging its Rose Festival from 22 June to 7 July, Cambo Gardens has a collection of more than 100 climbing and rambling roses, particularly in the Walled Garden and Woodland Garden. See ramblers such as Rosa ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ and R. ‘Wedding Day’ growing up trees, through shrubs and hedges, on ropes, walls, trellises and pergolas.

Hever Castle and Gardens, Kent

The four acre, walled rose garden in the grounds of Hever Castle boasts formal beds, densely planted with more than 3,000 roses. Each bed contains just one cultivar, creating impressive blocks of colour and scent. Seek out cerise Rosa Buxom Beauty (‘Korbilant’) and Rosa Champagne Cocktail (‘Horflash’).

Coughton Court, Warwickshire

The Rose Labyrinth within the historic Walled Garden at Coughton Court is undoubtedly the jewel in the garden’s crown. More than 200 different selections of shrub, climbing and rambling roses are grown, along with a wide range of herbaceous underplanting, such as geraniums, violets and achilleas. Rose cultivars include Damasks, Albas and Noisettes as well as many other old-fashioned English roses.

Millgate House, North Yorkshire

The garden at Millgate House in Richmond, North Yorkshire, shows just how versatile roses can be. There are more than 70 rose cultivars throughout the compact town garden: clambering up stone walls, trained as standards, and grown as shrubs in herbaceous beds. Especially spectacular displays come from lemon-yellow Rosa helenae and Rosa ‘Maigold’, which is draped along a cast-iron balcony, making the most of limited space.

Nymans, West Sussex

The classical rose garden at Nymans shows that it is possible to have beautiful roses without using pesticides. Each week, from leaf burst to October, the plants are sprayed with an organic solution of milk, garlic, seaweed or compost tea to keep major pest and disease populations at bay.

RHS members can visit each of these RHS Partner Gardens free in June.

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

Over 1000 varieties to choose from.



Jun 17 • 2012 • BlossomDiseaseFertiliserFragranceRose Newsbloomsroses

Rose News From Around The World



It's sunny and warm, sky's fluffy with clouds, and we're walking the 10-acre field in Chester County known as "rose hell."

Really, that's what they call it, because this is where several thousand roses are set in the ground and left alone to see which ones can take the heat — and humidity, drought, wind, frost, snow, fungus, bugs, and all else. At the end of three or four years, minimum, whatever's still standing has a shot at becoming the next big star of the rose world.

They have to survive with no irrigation, no sprays for insects or disease, no protection from extreme temperatures and conditions, no fertilizer, no pruning. Nothing, because, believe it or not, these trials are meant to simulate conditions in the average American garden — and we're pretty awful to our plants.

"If it was possible to get written up for rose abuse, we would be. They have a nasty, brutish, and short life here," says Steve Hutton, president and CEO of the Conard-Pyle Co. in West Grove, where the trials are held.

The winners must do more than survive to be chosen for the marketplace. They must emerge robust and clean, with a profusion of perfectly formed, beautifully colored blooms. And one other thing helps, something traditionalists could've told you from the get-go: fragrance. Too often in the mid-20th century, it was lost, as breeders scrambled to produce the tight buds, glamorous colors, and stiff stems that now define the perfect Valentine's Day rose.

Want to know about the importance of fragrance? Watch Hutton and his longtime friend and collaborator Alain Meilland, of Meilland International rose breeders of France, as they amble down the rows here. Hutton's tall, Meilland's short, but both dip and sway as they inch along, cupping blossoms in their hands and diving right in there to inhale.

Roses can smell like anything, and this is part of the fun — peaches, lemons, cloves, lavender, musk, chocolate, aftershave, impossible-to-describe, or nothing at all.

Both men suddenly stop to admire ‘Francis Meilland,' which was bred by Meilland, commercialized by Conard-Pyle, and named for Alain's father on the centenary of his birth. Already the winner of several awards in Europe, it's a 2013 All-America Rose Selection, which — as a kind of Academy Award for roses in this country — is an honor rose breeders crave.

Francis Meilland

About AARS

All-America Rose Selections is a non-profit association dedicated to the introduction and promotion of exceptional roses. The AARS runs the world's most challenging horticultural testing program, and consistently recognizes roses that will be easy to grow and require minimal care by today's busy homeowner.

Since 1938, the AARS testing program has encouraged the rose industry to improve the disease resistance, ease of care, and beauty of roses. Today, the AARS program is one of the most successful and highly regarded of its kind, having brought to the forefront some of the most popular roses in history, such as Peace, Knock Out and Bonica. AARS Winning Roses are labelled with the AARS red rose seal of approval to distinguish them from other plants in the nursery.

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



May 23 • 2012 • ChelseaDisplayFlowerGardenRose NewsWeatherroses



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.


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 ( runs from May 22-26.

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



May 21 • 2012 • BajieBloomingFlowersKunmingRose NewsScentedroses




Journey outside Kunming to visit Bajie, a sleepy little rural enclave in the county of Anning where the flowers are edible, and heady fields of scented roses signal a blooming industry. Pauline D. Loh and Cang Lide get a close sniff at the changes afoot.

We could smell the roses before we saw any, the perfume rising above the dust our multi-purpose vehicle stirred up as it sped along the Anning countryside. We were on our way to visit the rose plantations at Bajie, home of the fresh flower pastries that are fast becoming a tourist must-buy from Yunnan. Bajie is a township in Anning, in the western suburbs of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province in Southwest China. In recent decades, Bajie had developed into a thriving greenhouse for high quality vegetables that are exported all over the country and to Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore.

The famous cabbage hearts or wa-wa cai is a signature product, as are mushrooms of all sorts, including black truffles in the right season.

Planting roses is a recent industry by comparison. About 30 years ago, families working and staying at the Kunming Steel Plant in Bajie decided to plant roses to beautify the stark environment.

They discovered that the native species they had planted were intensely aromatic and had thick petals that were ideal for eating.

They started experimenting, and soon, petals were picked before the Mid-Autumn Festival to be used as filling for traditional moon cakes. That was just the start.

A Taiwan chef started experimenting with the roses and made them into a filling for a flaky pastry.

Paired with some smart marketing moves, the little fragrant pies soon became popular as souvenirs from Kunming, which is, after all, known as the City of Spring, and known for its flower exports.

The roses soon became a lucrative cash crop as local farmers found a growing demand from the food processing industry. Now, the annual harvest comes from nearly 2,400 mu or about 1,600 hectares.

Other factors helped the rise of rose cultivation. One was the growing numbers of young people leaving the farms for the bright city lights.

With the loss of the able-bodied, older farmers left on the land had to choose less labor-intensive crops. Roses were ideal in that sense.

Once the rose cuttings are properly rooted and planted, they basically need very little care except an occasional eye on serious pest infestations and weekly watering if the weather got too dry.

Harvesting could be done half the year, given the clement weather in the Kunming-Anning hinterland.

That is why many farmers are now turning to a floral harvest, compared to traditional crops such as tobacco, grains or vegetables that need much more daily attention.

Profitability is another push. While a harvest of tobacco leaves may fetch about 2,000 yuan for every mu, roses can bring in as much as 10,000 yuan in a good year.

Yet another reason is the dedicated support from local government agencies here. At Bajie, there are three cooperatives helping the farmers.

At the Xinrun Flower Professionals Cooperative of Anning, the co-op provides farmers with technical support such as research and development and the proper use of pesticides, especially since the petals are used as food.

According to general manager Li Zhenghai, the co-ops play an important role in quality control, and food safety.

They also ensure the rose farmers are protected against volatile market fluctuations, to the extent of buying the harvest at a guaranteed price.

Li says his co-op, set up in 2010, helps rose farmers with over 230 mu of planted land.

Harvesting goes on from April to October each year, with each mu yielding about 600 kilogram of petals.

On an average, each year may yield a total harvest of 200 metric tons of fresh petals, most of which are processed immediately into rose jam. This is then sent to food producers in Kunming.

Many visitors make the excursion to Bajie to visit the rose plantations when the blooms are at their best.

In spring and summer, the air is refreshingly perfumed, and the eyes are rested by the sight of rows of roses, each studded with little gems of deep, dark red.

They can also stop by the pastry factories, where the petals are carefully washed, dried and preserved in sugar to make rose jam, or processed into rose syrup and many other products including rose water, moisturizers and bath salts.

However, the most popular souvenir from Bajie must be the freshly baked rose pastries, the famous fresh flower puffs that are now sold as a Kunming souvenir.

At a little factory that is yet meticulously clean, we saw how the petals were made into jam, weighed in and then covered in flaky pastry.

These little pies were then baked, cooled and packed into individual bags.

Our first bite produced appreciative sighs. The pastry was incredibly light and the filling of rose jam was just sweet enough without being too cloying. Bottles of rose syrup are also available for sale, and they make refreshing drinks.

As China's rural demographics evolve, many more changes will happen. Perhaps the rest of the country can learn from the Bajie farmers' willingness to innovate, and also from the way the local authorities come out in support. They turned what was a losing proposition into a winner, and that's the true scent of success.

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





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