Minster Rose growers set sights on a golden launch at Chelsea show

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The team which cultivated the York Minster Rose is hoping for a gold medal when the iconic bloom is officially launched at the Chelsea Flower Show in May.

The flower – to help raise funds for the building – was inspired by the Minster's famous stained glass Rose window, and was planted in Dean's Park next to the cathedral in March.

Having shown itself a blooming and hardy plant, even flowering as late as early December, Harkness Roses – one of the country's leading producers of flowers – is ready to give the Minster Rose pride of place at the show, where the business has won a string of gold and silver medals.

The plant is a repeat-flowering floribunda bush with creamy full petals which are a delicate pink, echoing the centre of the Rose Window in the Minster.

Although Harkness Roses is now based in Hitchin, the specialist rose breeding family firm traces it roots back to 1879 and North Yorkshire before moving to Hertfordshire 80 years later.

The rose was chosen by members of the York Minster Fund and the Dean of York, Keith Jones, a keen gardener with a passion for roses.

The idea came from Diana Terry and Karen Powell, who both work for the Fund.

The rose will be unveiled on the first day of the Chelsea Flower Show – VIP Day – during the afternoon.

Ms Terry said: "It is a bit of coup to get a rose launched there but it was always part of our master plan.

"It should be quite a good profile raiser for us and something the ordinary person can have in their garden to remind them of York Minster and help raise funds for the Minster at the same time.

"We are very excited." The Fund brought the idea to fruition, led by Dr Richard Shephard, director of development, and Michael Benson, director of the fund.

Ms Terry added: "We hope to be in the running for a gold or silver medal. Harkness has won a number of golds in the past."

The firm was among the first to work without pesticides – which explains why the rose is so hardy, she believed.