This year’s rose festival at Baytree Nurseries Garden Centre at Weston is a very special one.
The festival – which runs until Sunday – also marks 40 years of rose growing and breeding by the nursery’s founder, Reinhard Biehler.
For all of those years Reinhard has been supported by his rose manager Steven Markham, who has worked at the garden centre for 44 years.
There are thousands of rose varieties and Baytree stocks 300 of them, as well as the specials that Reinhard has bred himself.
During the festival, gardeners can browse the spectacular rose display, including Rose of the Year, For Your Eyes Only, and enjoy a 20 per cent discount on all purchases in that department.
Rose lovers can also see the latest variety cultivated specially to mark the nursery owner’s 70th birthday in January. Reinhard Biehler MBE – in recognition of the award given to Reinhard in the Queen’s honours list of 1995 – is a fragrant deep claret-purple rose with large, glossy leaves.
His family, who commissioned the bloom in Reinhard’s honour, say: “It’s a truly stunning rose and a fitting tribute to a man who has dedicated much of his life to creating beautiful roses for us all to enjoy.”
Although it is being unveiled to the public during the festival, the rose won’t be available to buy until next year.
It joins the other specials produced by Reinhard, starting with the first named after his oldest daughter, Jutta Biehler, which was officially recognised by the British Association of Rose Breeders in 1975.
The flagrant orange blended with yellow flowers are still popular with gardeners today.
That was quickly followed by two other roses named after his other two daughters.
Gitta Biehler is a deep red with good fragrance, while Elke Biehler is a slightly fragrant rose with a white eye.
Reinhard has also developed the fragrant, pink Race for Life and the miniature golden yellow Moulton Mill.
Reinhard has always donated a portion of the revenue from these specials to good causes.
Reinhard admits he never thought, when he began Baytree Nurseries Garden Centre with a few cuttings, that one day he would be employing 100 full-time members of staff and growing – and selling – 10,000 roses.
He said: “The best start in my life was my apprenticeship and my knowledge. I am a grower and I had to learn quick to be a retailer as well.”
Visit Baytree not only to see the rose selections on display but to receive help from the experts. Take along a sample of a problem rose plant and staff will take a look and offer advice.