Garden roses bloom again after long fall from grace

14 May 2012

Roses, perhaps the best known of all garden flowers, are back in major demand across the UK nearly 50 years after they fell out of fashion.

Roses, perhaps the best known of all garden flowers, are back in major demand across the UK nearly 50 years after they fell out of fashion.

For centuries roses were considered the prize bloom of any British garden and demand reached its peak in the mid-1960s with annual sales of 50 million plants.

But their decline began in the late 60s as more exotic plants, particularly bedding and palm varieties became more easily available to gardeners. Sales dropped to their lowest point 10 years ago with an estimated nine million sales a year.

According to the Royal National Rose Society annual sales have now grown to 12 million a year thanks to a new tradition of giving potted roses as gifts for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays and other anniversaries.

Last year Tesco began selling garden roses for the first time and sales were so strong that it is again selling them this year.

Tesco horticulture technical manager David Fryer said: “It’s wonderful to see people appreciating this beautiful and very British flower again. In the mid-20th century roses were found in just about every British garden.

“But a younger generation of gardeners wanted something new and exotic which to impress the neighbours and roses fell out of favour. They were also seen as high maintenance as they needed more pruning than regular garden plants.

“But over the last few years rose growers have created new hybrids that don’t require so much attention and this is driving a new surge in popularity. It’s also now possible to buy them in pots, which makes them popular as gifts.”

More and more ‘special occasion’ varieties known as Celebration Roses are coming onto the market and since 2006 sales have grown by an estimated 200 per cent.

Sales of another relatively new rose variety, Patio Standard, have risen by an estimated 100 per cent in the same time period.

Another key factor in the revival is that roses are now far easier to manage than they were 10 years ago with breeders creating varieties that are more resistant to disease such as black spot.

Recent market research conducted by the Horticultural Trades Association reveals that 49 per cent of British adults with a garden have roses.

The most popular colours for garden roses are in order of preference: pink (30 per cent of all sales); pastel/novelty (20 per cent); red (15 per cent); white (15 per cent); yellow (10 per cent) and orange (10 per cent).

 

ENDS

 

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