Amanda Beales’ passion for roses is evident and hereditary. Her father, Peter established the family business (Peter Beales Roses) as a result of falling in love with a rose in his Grandfathers garden as a child. “The rose is still there and has been since identified as Maiden’s Blush,” explains Amanda. “Dad was not a tremendous scholar,” she laughs. “He used to bunk off and cycle around the lanes and wander thorough fields, preferring Nature to the classroom.”
“Dad went on to be the first Horticultural Apprentice in the UK,” she continues, “ and was therefore a year late doing his National Service. He met Mum, Joan, whilst based in Llanion Barracks in Pembrokeshire, so we are all proud of our Welsh connections,” she laughs.
Amanda confesses to learning a lot more about her father after reading his Autobiography ‘Rose Petals and Muddy Footprints’. “As a young man, he established a small holding back in his hometown of Norfolk where he grew salad crops, veg and had chickens, as well as growing his own rose crop. Growing veg wasn’t a great success. Dad realised everyone had the same crops and they were being harvested at the same time, so he devoted more time to his passion, roses. He had a small stand at Chelsea in the early 70’s showing modern roses but found people were more interested in the old fashioned varieties. As he was fascinated by them too, he decided to ‘plough along that furrow’.”
“My brother, Richard, and I grew up with roses being part of the wall paper, they were like brothers and sisters.” Recalls Amanda, “I remember pleading with Dad when I was 5 years old to let me work on the Nursery but he said not until I was 7. On my 7th birthday I said, ‘Right I’m 7 now, when do I start?’. Both Richard and I have tremendous respect for all that Dad has achieved and Mum too; she has very much been the backbone of the business and the family. She typed every page of Dad’s first book on an old fashioned typewriter and had to do each one four or five times as he is such a perfectionist. Both Richard and I are very much involved with the business; we are quite high up the rose tree, top bloomers,” she laughs, adding affectionately “though Dad still has the last word on everything.”
As an established artist and author, Amanda also finds time to pursue these passions. “All of the family are talented artists, in different ways. The obvious subject for me to paint was roses and I just love every minute. It is a different way of exploring their complexity and beauty. I lose myself in it totally. I wrote the books as I had all the knowledge, so it made sense to put it on paper instead of having it all rattle around my head.” She explains, “I like to share.”
Amanda also has the difficult task of choosing names for new roses. “It can be heartbreaking,” she admits, “we have so many requests often linked to tragic circumstances and it’s so hard to say ‘no’. But we have some fun too; Paul Smith developed a perfume from his rose and the best selling rose is still MacMillan Nurse which is one of the healthiest roses I know.”
“We have four fascinating new names next year,” she teases, “some romantic names but I can’t tell you any more than that.”
And her favourite rose? “That’s so tricky” she sighs, “Alan Titchmarsh asked me that live on air at Chelsea and I couldn’t think on the spot. But it must be ‘Gardinia’, a buff coloured, highly scented rose with gorgeous dark glossy leaves.” She smiles, “The artist in me appreciates that the leaves actually provide a perfect framework, or backdrop, to show off the beautiful blooms.”
Admire Amanda’s paintings or buy her beautiful book ‘Roses’ by popping in to www.classicroses.co.uk and visiting the Online Store. Peter’s autobiography can also be bought on- line as can their roses and other gardening sundries.