THE cream of the nation’s rose growers will be heading to Pickering this summer when the town hosts a new rose festival.

It will give the town’s economy a major boost and celebrate the centenary of one of the country’s best known growers, R V Roger Ltd.

Organised by the British Isles Rose Society, the Ryedale Rose Festival will focus exclusively on one of the country’s favourite flowers.

Among the highlights will be the launching of two new varieties of roses.

Martyn Cooper, head of business development at R V Roger’s nurseries in Malton Road, where the festival will be centred, said all the exhibitors would be individual growers, showing hundreds of the estimated 1,500 to 2,000 different varieties which are grown in the UK.

The company, which has 20 staff, sends out thousands of rose bushes of 500 varieties grown in Pickering. Last year, Rogers launched a new variety, Red Four, to commemorate the Red Arrows who lost two members of its team last year, and which is now exclusively grown by the Pickering nursery.

Two new varieties will be launched at the Ryedale Rose Festival, which is being held on July 13 and 14. One, a white rose, named The Yorkshire Regiment, a new regiment formed from the Duke of Wellington’s, The Prince of Wales’ Own and The Green Howards, and the other will be in celebration of Yorkshire wheelchair athlete Hannah Cockcroft, a double gold medalist at the London Paralympics.

The festival will see the crowning of the new national rose growing champion.

Also featured will be children’s activities, talks on rose growing and a scheme involving several local schools in projects.

Meanwhile, Rogers are planning their centenary events, which will include the restoration of an 80-year-old greenhouse which will be used for exhibitions, both this year and in the future.

David Wilce, chairman of the British Isles Rose Society, and vice-chairman and show manager of the Amateur Rose Breeders’ Association, said: “We are all amateurs and our interest and promotion of roses is simply our hobby.

“We plan for it to evolve into the largest and most prestigious rose show in the country.”

The main part of the festival, which will have free admission, will be a rose show with more than 50 classes, and which will include the final of the British Isles Rose Exhibiting Championship, and Britain’s miniature rose championship.

The event is likely to include a fly-past by The Red Arrows, the RAF display team, and among the guests will be the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Lord Crathorne.

Businesses are being asked to support the show and Pickering Town Council has agreed to give £100 towards the running costs.