WFRS Regional Convention in Nanyang, China

WFRS Regional Convention in Nanyang, China
Delegates at the opening of the the new gardens at the Nanyang World Garden Expo.

Johannesburg-Singapore-Gongzho-Nanyang or Johannesburg-Beijing-Shenzhen-Nanyang, and return – the multi flight route Kate Warr and I undertook on the way to the WFRS Regional Convention in Nanyang, China.  It was certainly a relief to see representatives of the Nanyang Convention team at the airport to meet us and transport us to the Holiday Inn.

The Holiday Inn Nanyang was the Convention venue and provided accommodation to the many delegates.  Nanyang, not being on the main tourist route in China, did not offer much in the way of the English language!    Fortunately, 400 “volunteers” had been appointed to assist with the language problem – one per international delegate with a few to spare.  These young people were studying English at a college or university and my Sophia was indeed a great help to me during the 5 days in Nanyang.

The opening ceremony was at the Nanyang World Garden Rose Garden which was also celebrating its opening.  This Rose Garden consists of a north, east and west gardens.  The East Garden being the core.  A total of 5100 rose varieties and 1.4 million plants adorn the park.  Our time was spent in the East Garden as we weren’t afforded sufficient time to explore the other two sections.  Greeting teams were all over the park, seats had been reserved for us in the 2nd tier and photographers were in abundance!  The actual ceremony was beautifully choreographed and Kate and I were “in the mood” despite the cold and slight drizzle.

Delegates at WFRS Convention in Nanyang
Having fun in Nanyang at the World Garden Expo! Kate Warr and Barbara Wood at the recently held WFRS Regional Convention in Nanyang, China

Lectures commenced back at the Holiday Inn at 14h00.  The opening lecture was by Viru and Girija Viraraghavan from India.  The title of their talk was “Intrepid Roses – how roses reached Indian gardens by perilous paths, treacherous seas, from swamps and high mountains.”  Viru and Girija were one of the reasons I decided to come to Nanyang.  I have heard them talk at conventions twice before and they really are a mine of information on the rose in India.  I was also lucky enough to travel on the flight with them from Gongzho to Nanyang.  It was an interesting and informative talk and I thoroughly enjoyed their time at the podium.

Other lectures were: “The wild roses in Xinjiang and its use in breeding for cold-hardy roses” – Sui Yunji (China); “Flora fragrance of rose rugosa cultivars in rose village of Pingyin, China” – Naomi Okubo (Japan); “The different ploidy of old China roses and their use in breeding” – Ji Naizhe (China) – I am afraid I was totally lost in this “ploidy” explanation!  Ploidy is “the number of sets of homologous chromosomes in the genome of a cell or an organism…”; “The most beautiful and important rose gardens in Europe” – Bernd Weigel (Germany).  A very personal presentation and some of the delegates felt Bernd had missed some of the important European gardens. And then it was time for dinner!  A full 1st day and good reason for a sound night’s sleep.  (This was after a visit to TV station for an awards and art performance.)

Monday 29th April was a 9h00 start with the 1st lectures: “In search of eco roses” – Ping Lim (USA) and “Genetic study helps new variety breeding in roses” by Li Shubin (China).  My favourite part of the morning’s proceedings was the panel discussion on root stock uses by 6 breeders from China, USA, France and the UK.  The “general” feeling expressed was that root stock is not a popular breeder’s medium except in China.  China’s amazing standard roses or tree roses could not be produced without the use of root stock.

Tree roses
Tree roses in China

That afternoon we visited 2 rose gardens and nurseries and finally the Nanyang Rose Expo Garden.  This is the largest rose planting base in China and they supply 80% of the domestic market.  It is planted over a 200ha area, began in 2010 with a total ‘to date’ investment of 50 million Yuan.  The tree roses in the garden were absolutely amazing.  Even Kate at her height of 1.78 meters was overshadowed by these roses!

Tuesday 30th lectures started at 8h30 with “The creation of new roses as designed” – Jim Sproule (USA) another presenter I heard in Uruguay and Denmark and thoroughly enjoy; “The great David Austin’s English roses” – Michael Marriot (UK).  Michael had the most beautiful pictures of David Austin roses and gardens.  Further lectures included “Roses in the era of internet” – Jiang Zhengzhi (China) and “40 years among my roses” – Dominique Massad (France). 

In the afternoon we revisited the Nanyang World Garden Rose Garden and had some retail therapy at a jade market.

In the evening it was the gala dinner and handover of the WFRS flag to India.  Impressive, precise handover and a very pleasant dinner.

May 1st was a full day tour of the Dinosaur Relics Park, Neixiang County Magistrates’ Office and the Sheqi Shan-Shaan Guildhall in Shedian Ancient Town.  Being a public holiday, there were many Chinese families visiting these sights especially the Dinosaur Park.

Presentations were made of future conventions including Kolkata, India; Adelaide, Australia and the Heritage Rose Conference planned for in Brussels, Belgium.  All very well done and informative.

May 2nd  saw me starting my return journey to South Africa.  A very interesting and enjoyable visit to Nanyang, China.

Barbara Wood

(More detailed accounts will be given in the next ROSA Annual.)

2018 National Convention – “Roses in Bloom” – by Barbara Wood

Cocktail fare. Pic Lizette Jonker

The ROSA National Convention had been in the planning stages for over a year with Joy Webb of the Western Cape Rose Society (WCRS) and her committee committing to the smooth running and preparation of the weekend.  At last the 25th October dawned and the Convention was underway.

Ruslamere Hotel and Convention Centre was very hospitable and helpful when I checked in and I was allocated a very comfortable and spacey room.  Because of the late arrival of the flight from Johannesburg, I went straight into the ROSA special meeting, which was actually just concluding, and then into the ROSA AGM.  There were not that many society members present at the AGM.  Sadly this is always the case.  However a sizeable number from Gold Reef Rose Society (GRRS), Heritage Rose Society of SA (HRSSA) and Midlands Rose Society (MRS) were present.  Having got the legal stuff dealt with, and receiving a very interesting report from the President, Gail Birss, the nominations for incoming President were shared with the delegates.  Barbara Wood (GRRS) was elected as the ROSA President 2018-2020.

 

Following the AGM, the ROSA Council met and the following positions were discussed and confirmed:

Vice President – Lizette Jonker (Pretoria Rose Society – PRS)

Secretary – Gail Birss (MRS)

Treasurer – Elizabeth Thornton-Dibb (MRS/GRRS)

Council members – Gill Wilson representing MRS, Sheenagh Harris representing Knysna Rose Society (KRS), Jackie Kalley, in her absence, will represent the HRSSA and Vivienne Black, vice president for Africa, attends council meetings but does not qualify to vote.  I would like to mention that ALL council members are also members of HRSSA.

The HRSSA AGM followed and Sheenagh Harris presented the report for the Society on behalf of Rae Gilbert.  Kim Van Niekerk from Bedford shared some recent happenings and events that have taken place.  Jackie Kalley was nominated and accepted as the incoming Chairman of HRSSA.

 

 

At 18h00 a delightful cocktail party took place in the convention room with a cash bar and plentiful snacks.  Pietman Diener from Rustenberg Manor Garden addressed us on “Heritage Roses in Old Cape Gardens and the education of a gardener.”  A humorous and interesting address.

And so the first day was completed.

Joy had warned us that we had to leave from Durbanville Rose Gardens promptly at 8h30 on Friday morning.  We dutifully turned up and the bus set off for Avondale Garden in Durbanville.  The garden belongs to Ronelle Shuttleworth but we were met by her landscaper and gardener, Chris.  An interesting tour of the garden to the orchid house, a “kopje” constructed out of the soil removed when the pool was being dug and now planted up with indigenous plants and succulents, a lovely rose garden where “Walter Sisulu” was blooming beautifully and then back to the bus for our next stop.  Babylonstoren.  Most of us knew Babylonstoren but were more than delighted to visit this amazing place again.  On approximately 8 acres it has something new and exciting to present every time you visit.  We were treated to a coffee or tea compliments of Babylonstoren.  Then it was onto lunch at “Lust” at Vrede and Lust Estate.  A light lunch of quiche and salad and for some of us, a refreshing glass of chilled wine.  We did not have much time to explore Vrede And Lust but it is nice to have something to look forward to on our next venture into the Cape.

 

The last garden of the day was Muldersvlei Estate.  A glass of bubbly greeted us together with the “bubbly” owner, Helen Starke.  Chris Bellingen, a WCRS member, was on hand to show us the 200 roses in pots that he has grown.  These are used for the decor at the many functions that are held at Muldersvlei.  And then an amazing tea/coffee on the lawns with smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches and freshly baked cream scones.

 

Back to Durbanville to retire home or to our respective lodgings.

 

Saturday morning we were again on the bus at 8h00 and travelling to the Jonkershoek Valley in the Stellenbosch district to visit “Lingen”.  This is home to another WCRS member, Coreen Krige and her husband.  The rose garden was established by Coreen about 15 years ago.  The roses are grouped according to colours and the “Roberto Capucci”, “Avril Elizabeth Home”, “Forever Friends” to name but a few were exquisite.  Coreen and her husband had prepared a delicious tea/coffee/juice with homemade shortbread of various flavours which was enjoyed by the Convention delegates.

 

Rustenberg Manor House was the next stop.  This garden in Stellenbosch dates from the 1700’s.  There are over 200 different varieties of heritage roses to which they are constantly adding.  The roses growing in some of the trees were delightful.  Again tea/coffee or a juice with a cream scone was available for the delegates.  This is a very large garden with different vistas opening up around every corner and one really needs a whole day to explore and see this garden.

 

Our last visit was to Languedoc Farm, Firgrove.  This proved to be a challenge to find but eventually we were met by the owners Nicky and Martin Geberts and introduced to their lovely garden.  It was an extremely hot day and the garden was desperately in need of some rain but again a lovely older, private garden.  We enjoyed a pizza at Henri’s Restaurant in Somerset West and then back to Durbanville to tidy up for the banquet later that evening.

 

Klein Joostenberg was the venue for the dinner.  There were approximately 60 people attending and Cobus Coetzee addressed us on “International Rose Industries with special emphasis on the South African Market.”  An enlightening talk.  Nan Steyn was presented with the literary award which she won for her book “ROSES The Seasonal Guide to Growing Roses in South Africa.”  This award is presented by the World Federation and was announced at the World Convention in Copenhagen in July.  Two other awards were presented:

  • The President’s Award. Decided on by the ROSA President.  This went to Sheenagh Harris.
  • The Zoë Gilbert Award. Decided on by nominations from the various rose societies and finalised by ROSA Council.  This went to Gail Birss.

The flowers, the food, the venue and the ambience were a very special way to close the ROSA National Convention – 2018.

 

I would like to express my thanks and I am sure I speak for everyone that attended this convention, to Joy Webb and her committee for all the hard work and preparation they put into this very successful weekend.  Joy, the little things that you included in the goodie bags (especially the recipes for different rose products), to the delightful cards, calendars, prints etc that were on sale and also for the lovely bags holding all this paraphernalia made by one of the WCRS members, we salute you.  Thank you for hosting us and growing our LOVE OF THE ROSE.

 

Barbara Wood

Post-tour to “A Fairytale of Roses” – By Sheenagh Harris

Text and photographs, Sheenagh Harris

After a very hectic and most enjoyable convention in Copenhagen, 9 of the 22 South African delegates, joined the post- convention tour of about 70 people to Sweden.  The Heritage Rose Society members were Monika van Heerden and her husband Colin, Claire Meyer and her husband William and Sheenagh Harris. Henny Johansson, President of the Swedish Rose Society gave us a great welcome and travelled with us for the 4 days of this well organised and most pleasurable finale to our time in Scandinavia.

From Denmark to Sweden the route took us over the Øresund Bridge which is nearly 8 Km long and includes a tunnel under the water to Skåne and on to the Rose Garden and open-air museum of Fredriksdal in Helsingborg. Lars-Ake Gustavsson, well known in the rose world, was our guide among the collection of 280-300 genotypes of the most valuable old Swedish garden roses, two of which are depicted below…sorry no names!  The formal garden with old roses tumbling over arches was particularly beautiful.

After tea and coffee with delicious eats made by the Rose Society members, we boarded our comfortable bus to Gothenburg Rosarium on the West Coast of Sweden.

After a night in a comfortable hotel and a delicious dinner we were ready and eager for the 2 private gardens to be visited on Day Two.  The first garden overlooks the sea at Dramsvik, near Ljungskile.  Our generous host from the Swedish Rose Society had the tea table groaning with homemade eats including Eggoost which could have been mistaken for pudding. It is a traditional dish served in this part of Sweden.

Over another long bridge to the island of Orust for the next private garden at Lunna.  It was hot with unusually high temperatures and our host had glasses of cold elderberry cordial to quench our thirst. We were given a picnic lunch that we enjoyed with rose friends in this pretty garden.    

The afternoon was spent at the Gothenburg Botanical Gardens which were planned by the local municipality and opened in 1923.   I did’t find any roses but enjoyed the many orchids and disas in the glass  house, including plants found in South Africa.  We had a special dinner lasting 2 hours at the Gothenburg Opera Restaurant that night.

Each day in Sweden we traveled through agricultural countryside with atractive farm houses, mostly wooden, painted in pastel colours and as we hopped from island to island there was often a view of the sea.  Many fields were brown due to the lack of rain and high temperatures. Our first stop on day 3 was an 18th Century estate – Gunnabo House with a formal garden surrounding the mansion and a productive and interesting vegetable garden.

Pre-tour to “A Fairytale of Roses” by Claire Meyer

 

A FAIRYTALE OF ROSES’ – Pre-CONVENTION TOUR – July 2018.

Text and photos by Claire Meyer

On the 21st June 2018, my husband and I had the great privilege, together with 20 other South Africans to attend the World Rose Convention in Denmark.

 

There was a pre and post tour option offered before and after the rose conference.  We jumped at this ‘once in a life time’ opportunity. The tours certainly exceeded our highest expectations.  As we experienced and saw so much during this week, I can only touch on some of the highlights for this article.

 

On the 22nd June, we left Copenhagen for Torben Thim’s nursery located on Løve Mark.  The nursery was founded in 1930 by Valdemar Pedersen.  Torben Thim took over the nursery in 1979 and has since developed and refined this unique collection of roses. Thim’s nursery is truly worth a visit and not only for the roses but the entire, park-like grounds. We spent the morning enjoying Thim’s vast knowledge of plants and roses.

 

After lunch we headed for the small island of Als, where we visited Hyldebjerggård – a truly magnificent garden. Ejnar Jorgensen, the owner is meticulous with no shortage of attention to detail. Walking around this garden was a totally mesmerizing experience. All the roses were in full bloom – combinations of Hybrid Tea’s, Old Garden Roses, modern roses and climbers. This garden has 775 roses of 440 different varieties.  It was here that I realised how important heritage roses are and how they complement all the other roses.  It was amazing to see how Mr Jorgensen, in his small garden, with careful planning, had incorporated so much, especially the old roses on the outskirts.  It was truly a memorable visit. This was the first day of many beautiful outings.

 

 

As we continued our way, the gardens seem to become more and more spectacular. Another outstanding garden was ‘Rudolph’s Place’ also on the island of Als. Marianne, the owner, is living her dream of a big and luxuriant romantic garden filled with the most beautiful flowering roses, perennials, bushes, trees and annuals.  A place of harmony with

small lakes and streams.  Today she has over 700 old garden roses, ramblers, climbers, David Austin and other modern roses in all scents and colours. Here I noticed how she had grown old roses into old pear and apple trees giving a most striking visual effect.

 

Another interesting and old garden is the Geographical Garden in Kolding.  This is an educational park and botanical garden.  The gardens have thousands of roses, many being old varieties.  After spending a short time viewing the modern roses, I was drawn to the magnificent and expansive old rose collection.  All the roses have name plates which made

identification easy as many of the rose bushes had finished blooming. The number of different varieties was mind-boggling.

 

I cannot describe how marvelous this tour was.  I learnt so much, especially about old roses and how to incorporate them into garden design.  To top it all, the weather was unbelievable – very unusual and according to the Danes, the best summer in 100 years!