Elizabeth Sawday – What a lovely thing a rose is

Elizabeth Sawday grows roses on the Chichester plain in a little village called Apuldram.

Elizabeth grew up just down the road in Birdham and her first love was ponies and horses. She hated school, left early and started working from 15 years old; she graduated over the years from picking tomatoes, looking after children, waitressing and even tried a spell at college attempting to become a farm secretary. Her first proper job was at ICI plant protection group as a filing clerk.

Elizabeth fell into rose growing by accident. After leaving ICI to have her first child she began helping her Mother in Law who had started Apuldram Roses a few years earlier. When she retired in 1999 she gave the company to Elizabeth and Jonathan, her middle son. Over the years they have taken the roses to most of the big RHS shows, building displays to show off their roses to their best.

They finally got their first gold medal in 2009 at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Whilst at the shows Elizabeth have taken part in question times or given talks, the most daunting and enjoyable of which was at RHS headquarters in Vincent Square. Apuldram Roses grow 35,000 roses incorporating 200 plus varieties.

Elizabeth’s mission is to take away the mysteries of rose growing, to persuade you it’s not all hard work and to leave you feeling far more confident about planting and growing roses in your own gardens. Her father always said “find something you love to do because you’ll spend a long time doing it”, wise words.