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Can you grow roses in Iceland?: talk by Vilhjálmur Lúðvíksson

Monday 8 May 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

This presentation describes the climatic and environmental challenges facing gardening in Iceland and will explain the opportunities provided by recently successful efforts in afforestation in providing shelter that allows the cultivation of ornamental plants like roses. Only a small fraction of roses available today can be successfully grown in Iceland. We represent a marginal market to rose producers and there is no interest in breeding roses that can survive here.

The Rose Club of the Icelandic Horticultural Society (IHS) was established in 2002. Its role will be explained, with an overview of some varieties and classes of roses now grown successfully – or unsuccessfully – in Iceland, plus where they come from. Recent efforts in rose breeding by local amateurs and semi-professionals will be described, plus the main challenges that face us as a result of extreme variability of our climate, during summers more than winters – and the importance of finding the right cultivars.

Dr Vilhjálmur Lúðvíksson is a chemical engineer, educated at the University of Wisconsin, USA. He was CEO of the Icelandic Research Council from 1978-2004, and is a former President of the Icelandic Horticultural Society (IHS) and past Chairman of the IHS Rose Club. His professional life was devoted to industrial development, the shaping and implementation of science and technology policy in Iceland from 1968 – 2010. As a member of the Nature Conservation Council Dr Lúðvíksson has been involved in the Icelandic conservation and afforestation movement seeking and testing biodiverse forestry varieties suitable for Icelandic conditions.

Married with two children, Vilhjálmur has spent over 60 years establishing a 17ha woodland garden on family land severely affected by centuries of overgrazing which destroyed vegetation and caused extensive soil erosion. Recently he has sought new opportunities in gardening provided by the shelter from growing forests. This includes ornamental trees and bushes, fruit trees, rhododendrons and roses.

This is the fourth in a series of seven online talks on the theme “Roses from the Arctic to Australia” in partnership with the Gardens Trust, with an international slant. Each talk is a live online presentation, chaired by Maeve Heneke, Hon Sec of the HRG, with tickets available at £5 each of £28 for the entire series of seven evenings. Talks start at 6pm and last approx. one hour, with an extra half hour for audience questions to the speaker.

You can buy a ticket here for the entire course of seven sessions for £28.

Or buy a ticket for this individual lecture here for £5.