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Please scroll through the NEWS ARCHIVE section to read the articles or click an article title in the list below to go straight to the individual article:

The Journal - Autumn 2008

Historic Roses Group: Annual General Meeting and Conference 2011

The AGM & Conference 23/24 October 2010

Historic Roses Group 2009 AGM & Autumn Event

Visit to Italy May 2009

Celebrating the life and work of Graham Stuart Thomas OBE VHM DHM VMM

Historic Roses Group AGM 2008

The HRG at Chelsea 2008

Visit to Rose Gardens in the Touraine 30th May to 2nd June, 2008

Summer Garden Visit Wednesday 27th June 2007


The Journal - Autumn 2008

historic rose journal autumn 2008

The Autumn 2008 issue of the Historic Rose Journal reflects one of the great advantages of membership of the Historic Roses Group — the possibility of joining one of the Group’s carefully planned but relaxed and friendly tours of great rose gardens. There is not only a witty and informative description of last Summer’s tour of Touraine but an insider’s view of the ramblers growing in one of the gardens visited. There is also a report on a one-day visit in late June to three notable gardens in Kent. A short article introduces us to ‘Rosa Mundi’ in an unfamiliar guise — as the emblem of an Italian city. The issue is completed by two book reviews and an extract from one of the books reviewed — an explanation of what makes a Tea rose a Tea.

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Historic Roses Group: Annual General Meeting and Conference 2011

Kingston Bagpuize House, Kingston Bagpuize, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX13 5AX at 11.00am on Saturday 24th September 2011

This year the programme includes both lectures and a guided garden tour. Robert Mattock has moved his nursery to Kingston Bagpuize and is making a garden there that will illustrate his ‘Silk Road Hybrid’ roses and incorporate our collection of British-bred roses. The first batch of 100 varieties, lost to cultivation in Britain, arrived as budwood from Sangerhausen in Germany and was budded this year. He will show us how the work is progressing.

We shall also see the existing gardens at Kingston Bagpuize House, where both Nancy Lindsay and Harold Hillier advised on the plantings in the 1950s. We will be shown around by the present owner, Mrs Virginia Grant.

As for lectures, Robert will give us a synopsis of the ‘Silk Road Hybrids’ – members will recall he wrote about his work in the Autumn 2009 isssue of the HRG Journal – and Dr John Beeching from Bath University will explain how DNA samples help track the relationship between roses. This is a fascinating development and one that is very easy to follow, once explained. Finally, we will have a preview of our tour of Riviera gardens planned for next May.

The cost of the day is £45 per person, including a full lunch. Please book for the AGM through our events coordinator, Mary Hember (details below).
Bookings should be made by 14 September and accompanied by a cheque made payable to the Historic Roses Group (or card details).

For those members who would prefer to stay over night, there is an option to stay at the Highworth Hotel, Highworth for £65 per room. Please contact the hotel directly on 01793 762364 and mention Historic Roses Group Reservation for information on booking and transport to/from Kingston Bagpuize..

I do hope you will be able to come.

With all good wishes,

Brigid Quest-Ritson
Chairman, Historic Roses Group

PROGRAMME

11.00 Coffee and registration

11.30 AGM (in the library)

12.00 ‘The Silk Road Hybrids A synopsis’ (in the library). Robert Mattock

12.15 ‘Dendrograms and all that!’. (in the library). Dr. John Beeching will explain briefly how at Bath University they are examining the genetic relationship between roses by DNA profiling samples from different rose varieties and species. Dr. John Beeching is Senior Lecturer in Plant Molecular Biology in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Bath.

1.00 Lunch in the heated marquee

2.15 Tour of the work in progress at The Mattock Rose Garden at Kingston Bagpuize House, including the budded stocks which will form the basis of the HRG National Rose Collection – Robert Mattock

3.15 Tour of the Kingston Bagpuize House gardens Mrrs. Virginia Grant

4.00 Preview of next year’s visit to Riviera gardens Charles Quest-Ritson

4.45 Tea

To book, please contact:
Mary Hember, The Wool House, Codford St Peter, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 0NE.
E-mail: mary@hember.net Tel: 01985 850152

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The AGM & Conference 23/24 October 2010

The HRG AGM will take place at 11 am on Saturday 23 October 2010 at Hunton Park, Hunton Bridge, Hertfordshire WD4 8PN at the start of a weekend conference.

Hunton Park is a pretty Queen Anne house situated just inside the M25 near Abbots Langley. Residential accommodation is in a purpose-built annexe.

Lectures will take place on Saturday and on Sunday morning. The conference will end on Sunday afternoon.

A topical and interesting conference programme has been arranged.

As Sotheby’s are holding a sale of important books and drawings on 7 December 2010 in London which includes about 50 of Redouté’s original drawings for Les Roses – long thought to have been lost, two of the noted rose historians among our speakers, Professor François Joyaux and Charles Quest-Ritson, will start the conference at 11.30 am with a discussion on ‘Redouté: the importance of his work’, and Charles Quest-Ritson will compare the original watercolours with the famous prints.
Press coverage is expected for this event.

Other talks will include Jennifer Potter, author of a recent biography of the Tradescants, on her new book The Rose – A True History , Charles Quest-Ritson talking about The Roses of Ninfa and John West about Rose-growing in Scotland.

The cost of the conference is £175 per person for residential delegates, which includes dinner on Saturday evening. Day rates are £85 for the two days, with dinner at £20 each. The cost for a single day is £45.
Non-members of the HRG are welcome to attend.

Please book through our events coordinator, Mary Hember, whose contact details are: The Wool House, Codford St Peter, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 0NE.
E-mail: mary@hember.net Tel: 01985 850152

Bookings should be made as soon as possible and be accompanied by a cheque made payable to the Historic Roses Group.

This promises to be an exciting event.

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Historic Roses Group 2009 AGM & Autumn Event

On Friday 23 October 2009 the Group will visit the Sir Harold Hillier Arboretum at Ampfield, near Romsey, for our autumn event and Annual General Meeting.

The meeting will be in the Cedar Room at Jermyns House at 12 noon, with tea/coffee served from 11.30am onwards. After the meeting there will be a break for lunch; as facilities at Jermyns are booked that day, lunch for us is not included, but can be purchased in the restaurant in the gardens. We then reassemble for a personal guided tour of the roses (the species collection is especially good) by Barry Clarke, who is the head propagator for the gardens. This will last approximately 1½ hours. We shall conclude with a practical discussion on how to propagate and care for roses.

The cost for the event will be £10 (excluding lunch). Please let Mary Hember know if you are coming, so that we can give your name to the staff – otherwise you may end up paying for admission to the gardens. Mary Hember’s address is: The Wool House, Codford St Peter, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 0NE. E-mail: mary@hember.net Tel: 01985 850152

Please use the Jermyns House entrance and car park.

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Visit to Italy May 2009

The Historic Roses Group is planning a five-day trip to visit rose-gardens in Tuscany and Umbria in May 2009. The dates will probably be 20 to 24 May but, if these are not convenient, we will run it one week later. The tour will be based in Orvieto or Todi, and at present the plan, subject to confirmation, is as follows:

20 May. Arrive and meet up at the hotel in the evening.

21 May. All-day trip to Prof. Fineschi’s garden at Cavriglia (refer to images below). This is the largest private collection of roses in the world (7,500 different cultivars) grown in the beautiful setting of olive orchards surrounding his Tuscan manor-house.

22 May. Visit the Marchese Parizi’s garden at Castel Giuliano near Bracciano, surrounding a 16th-century castle (best known in Italy for its annual rose festival in mid-May) and Giuppi Pietromarchi’s La Ferriera, on the borders of Lazio and Tuscany. Contessa Pietromarchi’s garden has drifts of roses grown as shrubs set in mown grass and surrounded by ancient olive trees. Both of these are stunning private gardens with spacious plantings and immense charm.

23 May. Visit Helga Brichet’s garden at San Terenziano near Todi and Vittorio Ducrot’s garden at La Corbara near Orvieto. Helga Brichet is a past president of the Conservation Committee of the World Federation of Rose Societies, and has a fascinating collection of roses, with a special interest in roses from Australia. Vittorio Ducrot is plant-hunter, with over 150 collections of wild species, mainly from Central Asia. His house, reached by a 4km drive, is beautifully situated and also has a very good collection of old roses and climbers, arranged in the English style.

24 May. Leave for home.

All our hosts speak excellent English. The tour will be led by Charles Quest-Ritson who is a fluent Italian-speaker. Participants will be expected to make their own travel arrangements to Italy. Costings should be available by mid-March. Meanwhile, please would members who might like to join in this trip contact Charles Quest-Ritson on questritson@aol.com to express their interest. The tour is also open to members of the Royal National Rose Society, other international rose societies and organisations like the Royal Horticultural Society.

Click the thumbnail images below to view large images of Prof. Fineschi’s garden at Cavriglia scheduled for 21st May

Prof. Fineschi's garden at Cavriglia

Prof. Fineschi's garden at Cavriglia

Prof. Fineschi's garden at Cavriglia


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Celebrating the life and work of Graham Stuart Thomas OBE VHM DHM VMM

Founder President of the Historic Rose Group

The Garden History Society in conjunction with The National Trust is holding a centenary event to celebrate the life and work of Graham Stuart Thomas (1909-2003), nurseryman, horticultural writer, illustrator, Garden Consultant to the National Trust, creator of the Mottisfont Abbey garden of old roses, and, at the age of 83, the first President of the Historic Roses Group. A more appropriate candidate for this latter post it would be hard to conceive – Graham set a standard it has proved hard to follow.

The event will take place on Thursday 18 June 2009 and will be at two closely adjacent venues. The event will begin at the Potters Heron Hotel, Winchester Road, Ampfield, SO51 9ZF, tel: 02380 277800. Ampfield is on the A3090 between Winchester and Romsey.

Coffee & Registration is from 0900 and the programme begins at 0945. There will be five speakers, including Graham’s nephew and Brent Elliott, Librarian of the RHS Lindley Library. A buffet lunch will be provided.

After tea, delegates will travel the 5 miles (approx.) to Mottisfont Abbey where there will be a reception on the lawn accompanied by madrigals and a tour of Graham’s rose garden conducted by David Stone, Head Gardener, who helped Graham create the garden.

Cost for the day will be £60.00 per head

For further details please contact Anne Richards, 5 The Knoll, Hereford, HR1 1RU,
tel: 01432 354479

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Historic Roses Group AGM 2008

The Annual General Meeting of the Group was held on 25 October 2008 at Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire. The meeting was followed by a light lunch and two important lectures.

Peter Boyd from Shropshire, one of our members and also the Northern Europe representative on the Heritage Roses Committee of the World Federation of Roses, spoke on Scots Roses (spinosissimas) of which he has the world’s largest collection.

2009 sees the centenary of the birth of Graham Stuart Thomas, the first President of the Group. David Stone, Head Gardener at Mottisfont, gave the second talk on GST’s work and achievements in the Abbey gardens.

Click the thumbnail images below to see some of the roses at Mottisfont

a fine example of Rosa californica plena at Mottisfont

Rosa alba semi-plena is one of the oldest of cultivated roses

The distinctive rose ‘Raubritter’ overhangs the pond at the centre of the walled garden

The rambler ‘Frau Oktavia Hesse’ on a wall at Mottisfont


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The HRG at Chelsea 2008

Historic Roses Group chelsea flower show stand 2008

View of HRG stand Chelsea 2008

Once again the Group was represented in the Continuous Learning section at the Chelsea Flower Show.

We were indeed fortunate to be accepted as there were 34 applications for the 16 spaces available.

Last year for the first time the section had a unifying theme, Gardening with Climate Change to which the Group responded with an exhibit entitled Selecting Roses for Climate Change .

The Group was awarded a Bronze Medal for its display and at the regular feedback session with the Chairmen of Judges it transpired that we had been very close to Silver.

There was huge public interest in our stand and despite printing a very large number of free handouts explaining the details of the exhibit, these were exhausted before the end of the show and ever since we have been endeavouring to supply disappointed visitors from a fresh printing. These details are also reproduced on this link .

We are deeply indebted to Peter Beales Roses and Robert Mattock Roses for supplying roses of such high quality for our display.

Click the thumbnail images below to see larger versions of this years stand.

Historic Roses Group chelsea flower show stand 2008

Historic Roses Group chelsea flower show stand 2008

Historic Roses Group chelsea flower show stand 2008

Historic Roses Group chelsea flower show stand 2008


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Visit to Rose Gardens in the Touraine 30th May to 2nd June, 2008

The rose ‘Pierre de Ronsard’, also known as ‘Eden Rose 88’, grows on the wall of  the poet’s birthplace

The rose ‘Pierre de Ronsard’, also known as ‘Eden Rose 88’, grows on the wall of the poet’s birthplace

In early June this year a group of around 30 members and friends went on a highly-successful three-day tour of the rose gardens of Touraine. From a base at Azay-le-Rideau, south-west of Tours in central France, we visited seven rose-rich gardens, each one distinctly different from the others in style and atmosphere. This area has strong associations with the famed French poet Pierre de Ronsard and we visited both his birthplace and the priory where he is buried, both of which have noteworthy rose collections. We also saw a château garden which is divided into separate “rooms”, each with a distinctive theme; a garden strongly reminiscent of that at Hex in Belgium, with which it has family ties; a garden in the English style, apt in a part of France which strongly resembles parts of England; an Italianate terraced garden, where we sampled the local wine; and finally a fairytale garden where the stories of Perrault are evoked among a large selection of roses old and new. Group members were expected to make their own way to Azay-le-Rideau but the tour cost included accommodation, all meals, coach hire and garden entry charges so there were no additional costs to worry about.

Click the thumbnails below to see larger versions of the gardens.

The rose ‘Pierre de Ronsard’, also known as ‘Eden Rose 88’, grows on the wall of  the poet’s birthplace

Part of the English-style garden at Château du Lude


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Summer Garden Visit Wednesday 27th June 2007

We arranged some delightful private visits for our members to three gardens in Gloucestershire, in the Cirencester area. They had much to interest rose devotees, especially the National Collection of Rambler Roses held at Moor Wood.

Morning visit was to Rodmarton Manor – Mr. & Mrs. Simon Biddulph Situated between Cirencester and Tetbury Off A433.

This is a highly original garden, with many different areas within it. The roses are planted within the kitchen garden and form a relatively new collection of old and scented roses. There are many interesting plants; alpines in the trough garden and sumptious double herbaceous borders.

Lunch was either taken at the recommended Bathurst Arms not far from the gardens or members brought a picnic.

The afternoon visit was to Cotswold Farm , Mrs. Mark Birchall, (where a home-made tea was available) with its lovely setting, Norman Jewson terrace, mixed borders and a good selection of shrub roses.

Our final visit was to Moor Wood, Woodmancote, where Mr. and Mrs. Henry Robinson hold the National Collection of rambler roses. The entrance charge is to be donated to a cancer charity.

The charges for attending were £15 per person for the three visits including a small admin charge for the HRG but excluding lunch and tea where available.

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Historic Roses Group at Chelsea 2007

historic roses group chelsea flower show stand 2007

Chelsea Flower Show stand 2007

Once again, The Historic Roses Group mounted a display in the “Lifelong Learning” section of the Show, located in the Grand Pavilion.

This year ‘s theme was based on ongoing research on the plant mechanisms controlling repeat-flowering in roses undertaken by Professor Andy Roberts (Scientific Advisor to the Royal National Rose Society) and others.

Primarily, Prof. Roberts has investigated the role of the plant hormones, ‘Gibberellins’ in regulating repeat-flowering in roses with genes inherited from China roses, imported into Europe from the 18th century onwards.

Some of these China roses were naturally occurring ‘sports’ (genetic mutants) which because of their “damaged” genetic make-up could not regulate the production of the Gibberellins necessary to control flowering.

To demonstrate this effect Prof. Roberts used the climbing Sempervirens x Noisette (containing ‘Old Blush China’ genes) hybrid ‘Félicité-Perpétue’ (F-P) bred by Antoine Jacques, gardener to the Duc d’ Orleans, in 1827 and its bush “‘sport’ ‘Little White Pet’ (LWP), discovered in a New York nursery in 1879.

Put simply, after flower bud initiation early in the year (March in the UK) in next month F-P produces very high levels of the Gibberellin GA3 which inhibits further flower initiation. The mutant LWP on the other hand does not possess the genetic structure necessary to activate similar high levels of GA3 production. The result is that F-P flowers only once in the season while LWP repeats its flowering continuously. A further result is that as F-P produces vegetative rather than flowering shoots following initial flower production it forms the structure of a climbing rose while LWP is unable to form such a structure since its vegetative growth is continually terminated by the production of further flowers.

A further aspect of Prof. Robert ‘s work concerns the relationship between bush roses possessing China genes and their climbing ‘sports’ .

The Group demonstrated both aspects of this work on its stand, using plants of ‘Félicité-Perpétue’ and ‘Little White Pet’, and also bushes of ‘Lady Sylvia’, ‘Iceberg’, ‘Cécile Brunner’ and ‘Lady Hillingdon’ and their related climbing forms – all supported by explanatory text.

* Click the thumbnail images below to see a larger versions of the stand *

historic roses group chelsea flower show stand 2007

historic roses group chelsea flower show stand 2007

historic roses group chelsea flower show stand 2007

historic roses group chelsea flower show stand 2007


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