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Rose business blooms during October warm spell – but storms are now heading for Shropshire

By Rory Smith | Shifnal | Business | Published:

It was a taste of our wonderful summer – but prepare for business as usual over the next few days.

Steve Longbottom, head gardener at David Austin Roses in Albrighton, inspects the bumper batch of flowers on show

Temperatures soared to a very pleasant 23C (73F) yesterday, thanks to warm air brought up from Africa.

That was good news for staff at David Austin Roses of Albrighton, where business continues to bloom after a fantastic growing season.

There was a rush of visitors to the award-winning nursery near Albrighton this week as the sun shone – although stormy weather has now returned to the region.

Michael Marriott, technical manager and senior rosarian at David Austin Roses, said the unusually warm weather had been responsible for some of the best roses he had ever seen.

“It’s been an incredibly good season for growing our roses, as it has been throughout the whole of this year,” he said.

“They’re looking fantastic at the moment. This October sun really helps them come out and we haven’t had much rain recently so that’s a real bonus.

“The hot weather has prolonged the flowering season.

“We often get beautiful flowers into September and even October but the current weather has been perfect for them.

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“Flowering during the summer was about a week earlier than normal, the second September flush was earlier than normal and with the weather holding out, the flowering has just continued on and on.”

While the blooms looked perfect yesterday, they may become somewhat bedraggled by Atlantic storms moving in. Heavy rain and strong winds are forecast.

Perfect

The senior rosarian says now is the perfect time to appreciate all types of roses.

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“At this time of year the light is quite a bit softer than that in summer,” he added.

“Photographers often get up at dawn to get the perfect shot, but now we’re not in the harsh mid-summer sun you can get the same gentle light all throughout the day, it’s perfect.”

After a successful year, the team of 160 people who tend to the rose gardens are now starting to focus their efforts towards the colder months.

"We have just started lifting the roses from the fields so they are being graded and processed before put into storage, it is a fair job” said Mr Marriott.

“Our gardeners will continue to do this for a few weeks until we start dispatching them to customers, which will carry on until Christmas – we sell bare root roses without any soil, and more traditional roses in pots.

“This comes as it’s the ideal time to start housing them inside. Some can start looking sorry for themselves outside and once they’re in your home you can really appreciate them like never before.

"Some will continue to flower even through the harsher weather – the Roald Dahl, Dame Judi Dench and Princess Royal cope well in all conditions, but the Queen of Sweden really is a tough one, it can cope with pretty much anything.”

Head gardener Steve Longbottom at David Austin Roses

This year proved to be another successful one for Dave Austin Roses which secured its 24th gold at the Chelsea Flower Show.

The company is now encouraging visitors to come and 'put their nose in a rose’.

“Everybody who comes here should put their noses into the roses to see what delightful smells there are to find,” added Mr Marriott.

“Rose flowers are known to have the widest variety of fragrances, it’s always a delight to smell them and this weather is providing us with plenty.”

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Trainee news reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Ketley office in Telford.

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