Trustee defends RNRS gardens following ex-staff complaints

Royal National Rose Society (RNRS) trustee John Adkins has hit back at claims made by gardener Karen Martin that the Gardens of the Rose in St Albans are in trouble.

Martin told HW last week that the reopened gardens had only one gardener left following her resignation and that there wasn't any money to buy roses and weedkiller or enough staff to prune or plant.

Adkins said: "We should be above washing our dirty linen in public. The Rose Society has its problems and has had for the past five years but we're beginning to get on top of them.

"We're planning for next year and we'll open in April at weekends and from May to September every day. We will be planting a lot more roses this winter. Twenty per cent is not fully planted but we will be planting 20 per cent more roses this autumn than we did last year.

"The glyphosate is in now, and I'm not interested in Karen's opinion. She should come to us if she's got problems. She's stirring for the sheer hell of it. When an employee complains to the press you should take it with a pinch of salt.

"Of course there are some issues as in all charitable organisations. We're struggling to get back from a huge deficit. We know we've got problems. We opened last year for the first time in five years. That in itself caused problems.

"We've had around 10,000 visitors since reopening recently. We need a lot more than that per year. Until we get up to 20,000-25,000 there will continue to be problems. But we'll solve those problems. We have no new staff at the moment but we don't need staff over the winter.

"We will have pruning and planting to do but we'll solve those problems as we go along."


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