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How We grow roses -

At home we have two new greenhouses; one 20ft x 8ft which includes a 6ft x 8ft propagation section and another 14ft x 8ft. They are both Rhino Premiums and we're looking forward to making the most of them in the coming years!


The 20ft one does grow superb tomatoes, best we've ever had and our 10 hanging baskets grew very well too. So far, the transition from po;ycarbonate to glass hasn't been the best for the roses though. Maybe it's just a question of getting used to glass?


Up to 2011 below - all above fromnow onwards!

Malvern Spring Show - Eight days and counting!

2nd May more blooms opening - too soon m'thinks!


21st April - blooms everywhere


Friday 8th April:

New shoots . . . . . . Shiny leaves . . . . . . . . . new buds  and the promise of the first blooms in only a few weeks.  Who wouldn't be tempted to grow roses in their cold greenhouse?

Some buds are showing colour already, we'll have to fire up the fridge!

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2011 is well under way, only14 weeks until we need roses for Malvern but where are we with our preparations?

The roses for Malvern are potted up and they are in position, in the new greenhouse and ready to get growing. Here's how they look on 6th February. We've had a mixed bag of weather since mid-December. Rain, snow, fair and fine weather. Cold, colder and at the moment fairly mild. High February winds will not of course affect the roses as long as the greenhouse survives the tempest! Most importantly we have had some good levels of daylight and the roses are putting out shoots of growth. No artificial heat or light in this new greenhouse so the roses really are at the mercy of Mother Nature. I'll try to post regular pictures here to show the roses as they progress.




Sunday 6th February 2011


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Click on the link below to download a short article  on how to grow roses for the Malvern Spring Show

Growing Roses For Malvern Spring Show

Take a look at these videos from Paul Zimmerman of Ashdown Roses 

Apart from growing superb roses, Paul is also a fantastic, humourous educator!

Check out the other videos that Paul has on YouTube. He covers all aspects of rose growing. Have a look and then come back here! Paul's videos are fun, helpful and easy to follow. Enjoy. . . . 

Another new beginning . . .

Let's  consign everything that's written below to history, draw a line, start again and learn from the mistakes made!

 Having grown our roses for Malvern in two small 8' x 6' greenhouses for a number of years, we  decided to get a bigger growing house. I'm delighted to say that the new greenhouse, after nearly a year of laying on the garage floor in its original box, is now finally erected and in spite of a very trying weekend during its erection, Pauline and I are still married! A Walton's greenhouse, once erected, is a decent enough house but my advice would be to find a contractor to do the erection if only for the sake of your marriage!    Greenhouse/14x8GREENHOUSE.jpg    The staging will be built in the next couple of weeks, the roses are on order or waiting to be 'refeshed' and all will be safely in position in November. I have decided that it's easier to hold roses back if they decide to mature early than it is to force or encourage them to flower if they are late. I have ordered a few of Ian Roger's new minis and minifloras, mainly David Clemons' varieties in addition to some tried and trusted varieties that I hope will produce some good stuff for Malvern. The combination of a very late season caused, I believe by low light levels, and of course a prolonged cold spell when we were snow and ice-bound for weeks and a very busy workload which meant my being away from home during the week, meant that we took fewer blooms to Malvern than we have ever done. Things must change this year! Last year's bushes will have the top two inches and bottom two inches of compost replaced. They will then have a good wash in that garden disinfectant that cannot be named, watered and placed into the greenhouse ready to get started into growth. Pruning will be carried out in December and hopefully it will be all systems go! I hope/intend to keep a photo diary of things as they happen this coming year so pop back later and check out the progress.


Diary - 26th November 2009

It's the 26th November and not a bit of work done yet! The new greenhouse is in the garage and just four weeks until Christmas. This saturday we're off to pick up our new roses so that just leaves sunday; I feel a disaster looming. 

I have only myself to blame, not having done the preparatory work when the weather was fair we now have SNOW! The old, small greenhouses are stuffed to bursting with potted roses and if I don't get them a new home soon. they will start growing and be over-crowded. Maybe we'll find some time over the holiday to make a real start?

For the past couple of years we have not made much of an impression with our Spring roses. In 2010 we are pinning our hopes on Baby Boomer for the miniature single bloom classes  and Rainbow Magic for the cluster flowered miniatures. Hakuun is always a good standby for the cluster flowered classes and we're also trying Hannah Hauxwell.

As for HTs, we've a few un named Lionel Pole varieties budding up nicely plus a few Isn't She Lovely, a Dickson's variety that I have high hopes for s a glass house rose.

March Update:-

Snow and severe frosts are making it look unlikely that we'll have roses for Malvern. The miniatures are growing but look way behind where they should be. The HTs have been in the greenhouses since November but they too look very under-developed, Isn't She Lovely looks particularly slow and may well not be suitable for a Malvern showing. In all, things look pretty grim! The new greenhouse is still in its box in the garage, I haven't even started on the base yet!  I've realised now, more than ever, that I really need to be retired to fit in all that I/we are trying to do. Well, that's not going to happen any time soon .

 At the Malvern show, things did not go well! 

As predicted . . . . disaster it was!!  No roses taken to Malvern of any note. A few of Lionel's HTs were staged but they were all very small. The Baby Boomers look fantastic and in a few few weeks will be full of bloom, the same can be said of Rainbow Magic. The hoped for  'bloom fest' from Isn't She Lovely just did not happen I'll try the same bushes again next year but I'm not optomistic about it's potential any more.

John Anthony, Dave Weatherby and Pauline Naylor all have roses in spite of their dismal forcasts remind me never to play poker with any of them! Bill Heath brought some HTs and fine they were. I guess it's warmer in Newbury than Felixstowe! That's it then back to the drawing board.

Up at the Allotment 2010/2011  -
Drought conditions again, and lack of work carried out on the plot
We had very few roses for Badshot Lea, it came a week too early for us in truth then, all in a rush, we had roses coming out of our ears! Working away from home during show season and actually trying to orgaise the shows is not the best way to ensure that you get roses onto the show benches. Something will have to give in 2011.
One thing that will have to happen is that we have to invest in an irrigation system because when we have no rain (the normal condition for Felixstowe) the roses become stressed, we become stressed and we get fewer blooms in our first flush and even fewer in our second flush.
A couple of weeks in California at the end of the month and then back onto the plot with a vengeance! Honestly! -

Up at the Allotment 2009/10 -

OMG!!!!!   It's December tomorrow; we've heeled all the new roses in on the allotment. Some of their living quarters have been prepared (deeply manured and dug) but there is still a lot of weeding to do. After a summer without rain the gound had become dry and dusty but now the rains of November have really got into the soil and it is in great condition for planting. All we need are floodlights so  we can do a nightshift!

We've had an 8' x6' aluminium greenhouse frame on site since June and I really must get the glass in before the winter really sets in - yeah right!

Now that the winter has turned white there really is nothing likely to happen on the allotment. Now this is a pity because I've had the Howard 300 rotavator serviced and it's ready to get stuck into the preparation of the soil for Pauline's veggie patch. After her success with the spuds and the onions, look out for her parsnips in 2010!

As for the roses, we were disappointed with the flower production on our Lucky bushes in their first year but the bushes themselves have made good growth and probably deserve a second chance?  We have a bed of 30 random / mixed floribundas that includes Grace Abounding, Dancing Pink, Iceberg, Anne Harness and a few others. These will be sacrificed for the afforementioned spuds. Some will be saved and some will be 'recycled' to some of our allotment neighbours.

New roses to be planted include; Absolutely Fabulous (Rose of the Year 2010), Princess Nabuko, Mystery Girl and a few new minifloras that Ian Roger now has in his catalogue. Ian also tells me that he has an agreement to supply more  minifloras and miniatures bred by David Clemons which should include Whirlaway and Foolish Pleasure. RHS members will have seen an article featuring Whirlaway in the January edition of The Garden. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this prizewinning miniflora performs in the UK.

March Update:-

The weather has prevented much work on the plot. We still have the Absolutely Fabulous and another 10  Silver Anniversary to get into their growing position and we haven't even began to think about pruning yet. Going to have to get some done soon because the shows are all early this year and a late pruning will mean that we do't have enough blooms for the early shows.













Raytherose 2012