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Rose Petals and Muddy Footprints - Peter Beales

As the first snowdrops bloomed, Peter Beales, 'The Old Rose Grower, died. He will not see this summer's blooms.

"Specialising in old-fashioned, rare, and historical roses in soft shades of pink, white and red, Peter Beales studied, bred, propagated and collected many varieties which might otherwise have died out. Although he started his own nursery in 1968, his love of the flower had begun when he was still in his pushchair and he caught sight of a pink rose (probably “Dorothy Perkins”, he recalled) in his grandmother’s garden".

Thanks to Peter we can plant Gardenia, an old climbing variety bred in America in 1899 which had been thought lost, Edith Cavell's rose, named after the World War One heroine, which had disappeared until Peter glimpsed "one last cluster of red flowers growing on an impoverished bush", and the new rose classic, The Queen's Jubilee Rose.

". . .Peter held 19 gold awards from the Chelsea Flower Show and was awarded more than 100 more at other horticultural shows, as well as the Lawrence Medal for the best exhibit at any Royal Horticultural Society show. He received a lifetime achievement award from the Garden Media Guild, and was appointed MBE in 2005."

Some men leave buildings. Some women leave tapestries. Peter left us roses.

And happily, his son and daughter work for the company he founded. Rose Petals and Muddy Footprints is the title of his autobiography. Peter's books on roses are, well, classics.

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