Archive | roses

Clogs in the blog

My first blog for many months… I did have very good intentions but they got swept away by the demand for our flowers which seemed to take up every waking hour. Not that I'm complaining….

Anyway, the season has drawn to a close so I am now able to waffle on all winter about….well, flowers. If I'm not working with them I have time to talk about them and all the lessons learnt this season, and maybe squeeze in some ideas for 2012. 

I found lots of inspiration in Holland last week when we visited the Hortifair, an annual get together of amongst other things, cut flower breeders and growers from all round the world. I made some useful contacts with a few Dutch nurseries, who specialise in growing plants for cutting. It was sad to see the UK only represented by one grower (David Austin's roses); the fair was dominated by the Ecuadorian and Kenyan growers with Ethiopia being the new kid on the block. I presume these countries are favoured because the climate allows flowers to be grown year round and natural resources and labour are cheap. A conversation with an Israeli plant breeder was eye-opening, he was genuinely shocked when I asked him about the flowering period for Solidago (Golden Rod) – "don't you want to grow it year round under lights?". When I told him that my selling point was seasonal he looked bemused, obviously something he had never heard a grower say before!

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There was not a great deal of variety at the fair, with roses being the main flower of the show. These were the kind of rose that has sacrificed all trace of scent for stem length, head size, vase life and productivity. Inevitably it is profit that comes first, which has taken flower breeding away from fundamental characteristics that we value like scent and seasonality. I suppose I knew all of this but the show just helped to reinforce my belief in what we are doing.

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I have returned with a very long wish list and to 1000 new perennial plants which arrived whilst I was away. We are expanding into a new 3 acre field which is already planted up with a few thousand scented narcissi, tulips and dutch iris bulbs. Once all the planting is done (which is slow going in this dank, gloomy weather) I will get on with lifting the dahlias from the spanish tunnel (like a polytunnel but with a just a top cover in the summer months). I have learnt that they do much better outside with good air circulation and plenty of moisture to keep the dreaded red spider mite at bay. They will be replaced by another bed of roses, this time lots of soft pinks, apricots and blush/nude tones for weddings.


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Rachel Siegfried


Our (very wet) Open Day

Many thanks to all who came to our Open Day on the 12th June. We were so thrilled with how many of you donned your anoraks and braved the weather. The Great British public (at least the gardening section of it) proved they aren’t put off a day trip by a bit of bad weather. Many thanks to Peter and Clare for doing the catering in such difficult conditions.

“Good for the garden!” we all cheerfully exchanged as we ordered another slice of cake!





 Rachel had the brainwave of ‘pick your own’ sweet peas from the polytunnel, which was a great success. It was lovely to see people walking off with huge armfuls of joyfully coloured and scented blooms on such a gloomy overcast day. 

I had fun creating rose corsages for some beautifully crafted hats, made by a fabulous milliner in Harris Arcade Reading called Adrienne Henry






I couldn’t resist showing you this photo as well, not very flattering of me, but it makes me laugh!



 We have another Open Garden Day on 10th July 1pm – 5pm which is part of the NGS yellow book . Although we’re always pleased to see a bit of rain, maybe it could come on another day please? 

Hopefully see you all on the 10th July!

Jo Wise




A winning combination

After another long day of picking for weddings and planting out tray after tray of half hardy annuals, I took a quiet moment to wander through the garden and picked my first bowl of strawberries and even better some David Austin roses, 'Port Sunlight' and 'Crown Princess Margareta'.


May 21st weddings, funeral, stocks 084 

What a joy, lots more to say but I think I am going to add some cream to those strawbs and watch Chelsea.