Little did I know some years ago when I discovered a Rotary rose called ‘Sunrise’ in Butchart Gardens on Victoria Island near Vancouver, Canada, that my curiosity about and research would inspire me to enter our retiring President’s ‘new ideas’ competition for a project to re-promote Rotary post-pandemic.
The Rotary rose was bred by a Gareth Fryer and launched in 2004 to commemorate the centenary of Rotary International. It also honoured his father Frank Fryer’s Paul Harris Fellowship Award to mark his 50 years’ Rotary membership with the Knutsford Rotary in Cheshire.
Rotary Rose ‘Sunrise’ is registered with the British Rose Breeders’ Association as ‘Fryglitzy’. It is a bushy hybrid tea with shiny dark green leaves and pink tinged golden yellow blooms.
The Rotary rose was bred by a Gareth Fryer and launched in 2004 to commemorate the centenary of Rotary International.”
My letter published in the August/September edition of Rotary magazine enquired of Rotarians if they had any knowledge of ‘our’ rose; it drew not a single response.
However, my other enquiries led to direct contact with Gareth Fryer who was very supportive of a revitalisation project. He told me that the only authorised wholesaler/grower was actually not far from me in Norfolk who may be ceasing to propagate further stock this season.
I won the competition by suggesting that we re-promote ‘Sunrise’ to mark the new dawn and ‘new normal’ as Rotary, Great Britain & Ireland and the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having established ‘Sunrise’ was still in existence, but likely to be withdrawn soon, I formed a small committee.
We contacted Peter Beales Roses, a prestigious rose retailer just a few miles from Watton, to ask if they would act as our retail agent and agree to a £1 per sale donation for The Rotary Foundation.
I won the competition by suggesting that we re-promote ‘Sunrise’ to mark the new dawn and ‘new normal’ as Rotary, Great Britain & Ireland and the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This had been the agreement between Fryers Garden Centre, Knutsford, and Knutsford Rotary Club 16 years ago.
Beales kindly agreed and they have immediately set about acquiring the remaining stock of sale-ready ‘Sunrises’ from the wholesaler.
They had just 13 specimens which were quickly snapped up by our club members.
Beales have placed an order for 100 ’Sunrises’ for propagation and delivery in the spring of 2021.
At this stage, we had taken orders for another 27 ‘Sunrises’ from our club members and from three other clubs in our District.
We have decided run a trial sales campaign initially within our District, before rolling it out to Rotarians in all Great Britain & Ireland Districts.
Obviously, with limits on propagation rates and weather dependent delivery windows it will be some time before we can make the rose readily available to all and sundry – but then it’s going to be a long time before the COVID-19 pandemic can be truly said to be over.
To express an interest or make a reservation, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form.
Clubs operating Zoom meetings are welcome to ask me to join one to explain the revitalisation Rotary’s very own Rose called ‘Sunrise’.