Despite less than ideal weather conditions, the weekend of 14th and 15th November was arranged for the second phase of rose planting. 520 bare-root rose bushes needed to be planted. The Friends had already cleared and prepared five rose beds for replanting. We began work on the two beds adjacent to the central path. The roses for these two beds were red ones called 40th Ruby Wedding Anniversary. Many young volunteers came to help, especially on the Saturday. They were cubs, beavers and scouts from the 64th Birkenhead Sea Scout group, accompanied by their leader. There was also Emma Murphy, a member of the Viking Explorers, who worked solidly all morning. Another young helper, Liam Roberts-Bica, was volunteering as part of his silver Duke of Edinburgh award.
The weather was rapidly worsening, however, we still had three more beds to plant up. The Friends had set up a gazebo for shelter and served hot and cold drinks and biscuits to help keep spirits up. The next two beds were to be planted with white roses called 25th Silver Wedding Anniversary. All the roses had been purchased with money donated to the Friends Rose Appeal. They had come from a company in Buckinghamshire called Chessum Roses. Each bare-root rose had its roots immersed in a solution of Rootgrow, a mycorrhizal fungi, to help them establish quickly and create healthy root systems over the winter. Hopefully this will get them off to a flying start come next Spring.
Four beds were completed by half past one on Saturday. It was raining quite heavily at this point so we decided to call it a day and continue on the Sunday.
Luckily Sunday morning was dry. Many of us returned to the Rose Garden to plant up the remaining roses. These were also white, a strongly scented variety called Margaret Merril. We had fewer volunteers on the Sunday, but a lady from the allotments on Storeton Road came to help us, together with her daughter and granddaughters, who were a wonderful help dunking the roses and passing them to the hole diggers. With such efficiency, the fifth rose bed was completed in just over an hour and we could head off home for a well deserved rest. A huge thank you to all those who braved the cold and wet, showing great enthusiasm, to help plant all 520 new rose bushes.