Peter Beales Roses Ltd was first formed in 1968 by the late Peter Beales (MBE). We have our famous rose gardens, garden centre and Tea Room on the outskirts of the market town of Attleborough in Norfolk with two acres being devoted to a maintained rose garden filled with roses of all families and sizes from the smallest bush rose up to the largest rambler. It was very much a family business with daughter Amanda and son Richard, being involved in the daily runnings and sister Rosie in charge of the Buck Brigg North Norfolk Branch and Gardens in Alby, near Cromer which has now closed.
Our first Gold Medal was at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 1989, with an innovative stand designed by Richard, whereby the visitors could walk through it and enjoy the scent of the roses close up. At the current time of writing (July 2015), we have won 22 RHS Gold Medals at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show and over 100 more at other flower shows. We have also been fortunate in recent years to have been awarded The Lawrence Medal for the best exhibit at any RHS show and awarded the President’s award for his chosen best exhibit at Chelsea Flower Show and Peter Beales had also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Garden Media Guild for his writing on and devotion to the world of roses.
We hybridise and create our own style of 'Classic Rose', introducing them at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show or the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, as well as holding the largest collection of commercially available roses in the UK. We grow and sell over 1,100 varieties with 300 being unique to us in this country. Bare root roses are sold throughout the winter months (November to March) when the roses are dormant and can easily be handled and transported in this form. Container roses which are now becoming much more popular are sold from January throughout the whole year, when the roses are growing and flowering and when the roots should not ideally be touched. We also sell other shrubs, climbers and perennials throughout the year in various forms: all our companion plants on this website are carefully selected to be ideal partners to roses.
You can buy roses from the website www.classicroses.co.uk at internet prices or by telephone on 01953 454707 as per the paper catalogue prices.
Following the unfortunate deaths of Peter, Joan and daughter Amanda in quick succession, in 2012 and 2013, the company was taken over by Peters’ friends and ex-President of the Canadian Rose Society, Rachel and Ken Flood. Richard has since left the company and set up his own of garden design and consultancy. We wish him all the very best in his venture.
About Peter Beales MBE
Peters’ love of roses began when he was a child, at the age of four his grandfather showed him ‘Maidens Blush’ a beautiful old fashioned rose, that in Peters’ words, “overwhelmed him” and remained a firm favourite throughout his life.
Peters’ love for roses and horticulture grew throughout his childhood and as a young adult he apprenticed at LeGrice Nurseries in North Walsham, Norfolk. After his National Service, he worked at Hilling’s Nursery, Chobham in Surrey as rose foreman under the guidance of rosarian Graham Stuart Thomas.
In 1968, Peter started his nursery in Swardeston, Norwich in Norfolk initially raising bedding plants before his rose breeding programme was started. Within three years of starting, Peter won a silver medal at the Royal National Rose Society’s show at Westminster before collecting the gold medal two years later. This was the start of many accolades and medals he and the company would receive. The company moved to the eleven acre site, just off the A11 on the outskirts of Attleborough during 1980 and slowly built up the business into what it is today.
Peter with his proverbial straw hat regarded old roses in particular with a loving, countryman’s eye and he saved many from extinction. Recognised by the Royal Horticultural Society as owning the most comprehensive collection of wild ‘species’ roses in Britain, Peter was particularly proud in the early 1990’s to be named Holder of the National Collection of Rosa Species, of which a selection can be seen in our two acre gardens.
As well as writing several books, Peter travelled around the world given lectures to other rose lovers and enthusiasts. Serving as President of the Royal National Rose Society, Peter was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Garden Media Guild and was appointed MBE in 2005.
Although sadly missed, Peters’ memory lives on through the many roses he helped to bring to prominence both here in the UK and overseas.
Ian Limmer – the knowledge continues
Our Nursery Manager, Ian Limmer started working for Peter Beales Roses as a Saturday boy in 1977 and it wasn’t long before Peter saw the potential within Ian, asking him to become part of the show build up team at the Chelsea Flower Show, gaining the experience needed to create an award winning colour coordinated display.
Ian studied part-time at Burlingham Horticultural College and Easton Agricultural College. After which, he progressed on to do a three year apprenticeship at the nursery, working alongside Peter gaining further horticultural experience, whilst at the same time being passed on Peters' passion for old fashioned roses.
As Ian’s knowledge grew, Peter encouraged him to visit customer’s gardens, to give advice and help plan smaller gardens. Today, with Ian’s breadth of knowledge, he is more than happy to undertake any garden design project.
As Peter grew older and wasn’t able to travel as much, he would send Ian all over the world to visit many impressive gardens or to give lectures around Europe and lecturing as far away as Japan.
And though, being here just a few years, in 1985, Ian was appointed Nursery Manager and his skill and knowledge is now recognised throughout the rose world.
In Ian’s words, “I feel Peter has passed on some of his passion and skill on a very practical level. Skills and knowledge that you cannot learn at a college. So, after 37 years I am beginning to feel that I am getting the hang of it, but nature will always have the upper hand. No matter how knowledgeable I become, I appreciate that there will always be more to learn and that’s what makes it so exciting.”