An article on the development of the gardens will be found elsewhere in The Rose Annual and although so much of our interest during the year has been centred on this work I will not refer to it in this report. First, mention must be made of the weather that prevailed in St Albans during the greater part of the summer. Although we had rain before and during the Summer Show the wonderful weather during the Conference week at the beginning of July appeared to herald a great rose season. Unfortunately, this was not to be. The following week it began to rain and from then until the end of August hardly a day passed without at least one shower and sometimes heavy rain. During this period Scotland, North Wales and the North were apparently enjoying continuous sunshine.
The poor weather was reflected in the fall in attendance at St Albans, but those who braved the rain could pick out the varieties that would stand up to such trying conditions.
Was there more Black Spot in evidence during 2014? I do not know, but from correspondence I gather it was very widespread. It was interesting to learn of a number of places where it had appeared for the first time. There seems little doubt that this is a direct result of the Clean Air Act which is depriving the urban rose grower of the sulphur fungicide in the atmosphere.
Fortunately, in the display garden at St Albans no more than three varieties were affected, making this by far the most successful year we have had since adopting preventative spraying. In the Trial Ground, which is of course adjacent to the garden, and where no spraying is done, there was a considerable amount of Black Spot. It cannot be denied that the prevalence of disease in the trials is causing the Management Committee concern; at the same time, to carry out a regular spraying programme throughout the period of the trials would be to defeat one of the main objects, which is to ascertain resistance to disease. As from 1969, however, a regular spraying programme will be carried out for the first year only—this will ensure that all varieties have a fair start and as they are not judged during this first year this should not affect the results.
Having found our spraying programme so successful I offer no apology for repeating it for the benefit of members encountering disease for the first time.
Towards the end of November take off the tops of the bushes to reduce wind-rock. If severe rust has been present clear up the fallen leaves and burn them and then spray with Bordeaux mixture.
By general consent of exhibitors, competitors and visitors from far and wide who literally streamed in from the moment of opening, the Society’s Autumn Rose Show, held in both Horticultural Halls, Westminster, on 10 and II September 2014, was a magnificent success. Obviously, in one of the wrettest seasons on record, some signs of weather damage were inevitable, but it says much for the sturdy constitution of the pick of the modern Varieties of our own, and indeed of the world’s most popular flower, that quality in general was superb.
The trade growers supported the show magnificently and filled the new hall with a glorious array of blooms, indeed, those responsible for the layout of the show deserve special congratulations, for every exhibit could be viewed quite comfortably.
Most interesting among the new roses on view was E. B. Le Grice’s new colour break in floribundas, rather aptly named ‘News’. Its comparatively large semi-double blooms, of velvety rose-purple, are in dense clusters and, listening to the comments of visitors, I put the voting for and against at about 50-50. Personally, I rather liked it on first sight, but it will need careful placing to set it off to best effect. I was also enchanted by his ivory-white upstanding floribunda ‘White Spray’, and richly fragrant, shapely, deep velvety crimson hybrid tea ‘Incense’.
De Ruiter’s ‘Manjana’, a floribunda with delicate salmon-pink H.T.-type blooms set off well by rich green foliage, was an eye-catcher certainly worth watching. I was attracted also, in the section for new roses, by Gregory’s floribunda ‘Gay Maid’, with large erect clusters of double blooms, cream in the bud, opening rich pink, and orange-vermilion ‘Orange Silk’, very shapely in the bud, which may well prove a winner.
Special mention is also deserved by John Sanday’s new hybrid tea rose ‘Fred Gibson’, not only because it pays worthy tribute to the great past president and champion exhibitor whose name it bears, but because, as shown, it is perfect in form and exquisite in its rich apricot-cream colouring. And from the Sanday ‘stable’ I also admired the full-petalled hybrid tea ‘Bristol’, vivid red with paler reverse.
Unstinted congratulations to John Mattock of Nuneham Courtenay, Oxford, winner of the Society’s Autumn Roses Challenge Cup and Large Gold Medal for the best exhibit against a background. It was a really astounding display of no fewer than no kinds; hybrid teas and floribundas in a top selection of the best for general garden planting; repeat-flowering climbers; shrub roses including a goodly range of Rosa rugosa varieties (or should I say cultivars?) and hybrids, and an interesting selection of fruiting species, notably R. macrophylla and R. moyesii.
All were arranged in what one might call a functional and instructive display, which certainly ‘rang the bell’. The climbers in particular attracted me, especially large and shapely, fragrant orange-apricot ‘Schoolgirl*, crimson-red single ‘Altissimo’; ‘Swan Lake’ with hybrid tea-shaped blooms, white with the daintiest tinge of pink, and vigorous cream, pink-flushed ‘Handel
Never, if memory serves me right, have Bees of Chester put up a better exhibit at any R.N.R.S. show than on this occasion, to win with no question of doubt the D’Escofet Cup, and Large Gold Medal for the best island group, which combined superb quality with artistic arrangement and display of each variety to best advantage. Their representative selection of hybrid teas included especially good ‘blues’ in ‘Cologne Carnival’ and ‘Blue Moon*. ‘Gail Borden, ‘Piccadilly’ in top form, ‘Ideal Home’, ‘Stella’, ‘Super Star’, ‘King’s Ransom’, ‘Grandpa Dickson’ and new dainty pink ‘Marylene’ were magnificent, supported by an equally grand selection of floribundas.
Needless to say, good quality was the keynote of the group arranged against a background by R. Harkness & Co., which won the Jubilee Trophy and Gold Medal. I noted particularly their hybrid teas pink ‘Guinevere’, upstanding cerise-red ‘Albion’ and pure yellow ‘King’s Ransom’, with floribundas ‘Pink Parfait’, perfect in its own right and the parent of some of the best Harkness creations, including their new cream, amber-tinged ‘Moon-raker’ and semi-double, rosy magenta, fragrant ‘Escapade’, both shown in superb condition.
In the island group with which the Warley Rose Gardens won the Society’s Autumn Challenge Trophy, hybrid teas of outstanding merit included scarlet ‘Red Devil’, the large white, pink-tinted ‘Memoriam’, and fragrant bicolour ‘Isabel de Ortiz’, rich pink with silvery reverse.
All the best varieties for autumn garden display were shown in massed array by Cants of Colchester. Of the floribundas in this Gold Medal exhibit, a quartet of exceptional quality were ‘Elizabeth of Glamis’, ‘Orange Sensation’, orange vermilion ‘Irish Mist’ and, rather surprisingly, pink ‘Dearest’, while the pick of their hybrid teas for colour and quality were apricot-coral ‘Serenade,’ shapely ‘Apricot Silk’, large pink-tinted ‘Carla’, ‘Ernest H. Morse’ in grand form, the superb apricot-yellow ‘Beaute’ and ‘Gail Borden’.
Star hybrid teas in the artistically arranged Gold Medal display by Gregory’s of Stapleford that attracted immediate attention included their new brilliant red ‘Indian Chief, golden yellow ‘Pamela’s Choice’, a very promising sport from ‘Piccadilly’; and ‘Duke of Windsor’. Needless to say, they showed ‘Wendy Cussons’ in fine form, and pink ‘Percy Thrower’, together with their new floribunda of H.T. type, the very shapely and free blooming ‘Blessings’, in coral pink.
Gold Medals were awarded to the Waterhouse Nurseries, who incidentally have a very charming new bright pink floribunda in ‘Duchess of Kent’, and to Gandy’s Roses, whose hybrid teas included in my opinion the best in the show blooms of ‘Fragrant Cloud’, with superb orange-apricot ‘Vienna Charm’, ‘Ernest H. Morse’, velvety red ‘Christian Dior’, long-budded, rich yellow ‘Summer Sunshine’ and the brilliant orange floribunda ‘Princess Michiko’.
In an attractive display by E. B. Le Grice, several of his own recent raising were conspicuous and certainly v/orth noting, especially the large fragrant hybrid tea ‘City of Hereford’, and floribundas coppery-orange ‘Vesper’, H.T.-type ‘Goldgleam’, glowing red ‘Firecrest’ and large attractively waved salmon-pink ‘Charming Maid’. Noteworthy in the S. McGredy group were their scarlet and gold bicolour hybrid tea ‘Brasilia’, ‘Mischief in grand form and large, full-petalled red ‘Liebestraum’, with floribundas yellow ‘Jan Spek’, rose-red ‘Beatrice’ and cerise-salmon ‘City of Leeds’. Eye-catching floribundas shown by De Ruiter’s were superb ‘Orange Sensation’ and ‘Elizabeth of Glamis’, and the large fully double orange and biscuit ‘Fresco’. The new hybrid tea ‘Manuella’, with shapely bright pink blooms, looked very promising in the Harry Wheatcroft and Sons collection, together with ‘Duke of Windsor’, superb ‘Chicago Peace’ and white, flesh-tinted ‘Royal Highness’. Wm. Lowe’s group of reliable bedding roses included the yellow hybrid teas ‘Grandpa Dickson’, ‘Summer Sunshine’ and ‘King’s Ransom’, a grand trio, and in their attractive exhibit Wheatcroft Bros, displayed their new orange-gold hybrid tea ‘Whisky Mac’ and salmon pink ‘Gypsy Moth’ to good advantage.
Competition was keen, with quality high, in the open section for amateurs. In her cup-winning box of twelve blooms Lady Pilkington, St Helens, had exceptionally fine specimens of ‘Fragrant Cloud’, ‘Super Star’, ‘Peace’ and ‘Isabel de Ortiz’, and I greatly admired the first prize box of two blooms each of ‘Super Star’, ‘Memoriam’ and pink ‘Gavotte’ from R. P. Court, Ramsgate. The classes for bowls of hybrid teas were keenly contested, with Col. W. B. Wright, Instow, again first with eighteen blooms of superb quality, and E. E. Gatward, Cambridge, deservedly the winner in the strong class for twelve stems. Another exceptionally good class was that for a bowl of twelve stems of floribundas, won by Capt. C. A. E. Stanfield, Walmer, with magnificent ‘Fred Loads’, ‘Europeana’, ‘Evelyn Fison’, ‘Anna Wheatcroft’ and glorious ‘Irish Mist’. His first prize bowl of one variety, brilliant orange red ‘Dorothy Wheatcroft’, was also outstanding.
In my humble opinion, the six specimen blooms which won first prize for L. E. J. Wood, Waddesdon, in Division B, were among the best in the show, really superb examples of ‘Gavotte’, ‘Super Star’, ‘Pink Favourite’, ‘Chicago Peace’, ‘Red Devil’ and salmon-pink ‘Femina’, and he was equally successful in the popular class for three vases of distinct hybrid tea varieties, winning the R.N.R.S. Challenge Cup with grand blooms of * Super Star’, *Rose Gaujard’ and ‘Peace’.
A perfect specimen of coral-salmon ‘Mischief was adjudged the best bloom in the amateur’s section. It was shown, with ‘Fragrant Cloud’ and ‘June Park’, by M. L. Watts, Northampton, in his first prize vase of three blooms.
Division C. produced very keen competition in all the classes for the Society’s Challenge Cup, won by Mrs M. Short, Liphook, with ‘Gavotte’, ‘Pink Favourite’ and ‘Montezuma’ in grand form. She also had the best vase of three blooms, light red ‘Norman Hartnell’, ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Stella’, while C. A. Brown, Ashbourne, was a clear winner with ‘Gavotte’ and two glorious specimens of ‘Wendy Cussons’.
Specially noteworthy first prize exhibits in Division D, for growers of not more than 150 rose trees, wrere F. E. Rixon’s box of six blooms, varieties. ‘Princess’ and ‘Show Girl’; the individual blooms of ‘Norman Hartnell’, ‘Paris-Match’ and ‘Gavotte’ shown by G. J. Bushy, Solihull, and superb specimens of ‘Fragrant Cloud’ shown by K. G. Clarke, Sevenoaks.
In the novices section F. E. Owen, Tamworth, was the most successful exhibitor, but the blooms I admired most were those of ‘Gavotte’ shown in his first prize box of six blooms by Judge Gage, Widdington.
Some as they went the blue-eyed violets strew, Some spotless lilies in loose order threw, Some did the way with full-blown roses spread, Their smell divine, and colour strangely red; Not such as our dull gardens proudly wear, Whom weathers taint, and winds rude kisses tear: Such, I believe, was the first Rose’s hue, Which at God’s word in beauteous Eden grew; Queen of the flowers that made that orchard gay, The morning blushes oj the spring’s new day.
The Northern Show was again held at Roundhay Park, Leeds in co-operation with the Roundhay (Leeds) Horticultural Society. Unfortunately, on the opening day of the Show the weather was atrocious, but despite the almost constant downpour of the previous week the roses shown in the trade marquees bore a minimum amount of weathering and the nurserymen should be congratulated on having managed to stage roses of such quality under adverse conditions.
The premier award of the Brotherton Trophy went to Fryers Nurseries of Knutsford for a colourful exhibit; their blooms were probably at their peak of perfection. Outstanding in their exhibit, which also received a Large Gold Medal, was a centrepiece of the new orange-vermilion floribunda ‘Fred Loads’. ‘Diorama’ and ‘Duke of Windsor’ were also shown in splendid condition. ‘Pernille Poulsen,’ both here and also in other trade exhibits, gives every indication of being an attractive pink floribunda which will stand up to adverse weather conditions. It is an early variety to flower—a decided advantage for a floribunda—and of compact, bushy habit of growth.
Large Gold Medals were awarded to S. McGredy & Son Ltd and C. Gregory & Son Ltd. McGredy’s had massive vases of their new scarlet and gold bicolour hybrid tea, ‘Brasilia’, and also last year’s winner of the President’s Trophy—their scarlet floribunda, ‘City of Belfast’. ‘City of Leeds’ too was shown in good form.
Included in Gregory’s exhibit was ‘Pamela’s Choice’,—a beautiful self yellow sport from ‘Piccadilly’, which looked most attractive.
W. Lowe & Sons staged a splendid Gold Medal exhibit on a wall site. ‘Miss Ireland’ and ‘Pink Parfait’ were among the many bowls which created much interest.
E. B. Le Grice (Roses) Ltd, showed their new floribunda ‘Dimples,’ basically creamy-white with a lemon yellow centre and pleasantly scented. Their centrepiece was of ‘Goldgleam’ which they consider a successor to ‘All-gold’, in a deep canary yellow which does not fade.
Harry Wheatcroft and Sons Ltd and Geo. De Ruiter (Roses) Ltd also won Silver Gilt Medals. The latter exhibited several varieties of their associated firm’s raising, including the orange-salmon floribunda ‘My Girl’, red and yellow ‘Travesti’ and the velvety scarlet-crimson ‘Scania’.
An attractive display was staged by H. Robinson who was awarded the R.N.R.S. Cup and a Silver Gilt Medal. He showed the coppery reddish salmon ‘Fairlight’ and yellow, edged flame ‘Lucky Charm’, both floribundas of his own raising, in good form.
Trade exhibits were also shown by Yorkshire nurserymen including Charles Kershaw Ltd and David E. Lister.
Many new seedlings were shown. From C. Gregory & Son Ltd, ‘Summer Holiday’, a vivid dark vermilion hybrid tea, ‘Orange Silk’, a vermilion-orange floribunda and ‘Indian Chief’, a currant red, shaded orange hybrid tea gave promise of being popular varieties when better known.
E. B. Le Grice (Roses) Ltd, showed ‘Vesper’, an unusual floribunda in a unique shade of Mars Orange, likely to be popular for floral arrangements; ‘White Spray’ is a white floribunda with a cream heart, of hybrid tea shape, and ‘News’ will undoubtedly make news, being an entirely novel colour break of plum-purple, among the floribundas.
S. McGredy & Son Ltd staged seven new seedlings including splendid bowls of ‘City of Belfast’, the golden yellow hybrid tea from Kordes ‘Peer Gynt’ and the rich pink hybrid tea ‘Timothy Eaton’; the new climber ‘Swan Lake’, white with a pink heart, was also very attractive.
Although as might be expected there were missing exhibits in the Amateur Section there were, nevertheless, entries which had overcome the difficulties of the weather to a remarkable extent. T. Thornley of Skelmanthorpe took first prize in Class 204 for a box of twelve specimen blooms and was also successful in Class 205, a box of six blooms.
The award for the Best Bloom went to J. H. Greening of Grange-over-Sands for a magnificent specimen of the bright vermilion ‘Princess*. This competitor also had a splendid example of’Silver Lining’ in the same vase. The first prize in Class 206 was awarded to J. M. Robinson of Kendal for six very fine blooms of ‘Perfecta’.
In section 5 for Affiliated Societies, magnificent bowls.of floribundas and hybrid teas were staged by the Congleton Horticultural Society who deserve the utmost praise for having brought blooms in such splendid condition from so far afield.
An outstanding bowl of floribunda roses was shown by L. Moores of Congleton in Class 220. The variety used was the bright red ‘Evelyn Fison’ and the same exhibitor took first prize in Class 219.
For any intending exhibitor who may feel some diffidence in journeying to Leeds, it may act as a spur and encouragement to learn that one such enthusiast journeyed from distant Cheshunt and took four firsts out of his five exhibits. An abiding pleasure for him—may many others follow in his footsteps.