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Wellington Botanic Garden is coming up roses

20 November 2008

Wellington Botanic Garden is coming up roses

Wellington Botanic Garden’s Rose Festival (Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 November) is the place to head to enjoy the best roses in town.

Not only will the 3000 rose bushes in the Lady Norwood Rose Garden be in full flower but the Wellington Rose Society will be holding its annual rose show in the Begonia House on Sunday 30 November from 10.30am to 4pm, where people will able to check out this season’s most perfect home-grown blooms. Jazz trio 3 to Go will be playing in the rose garden if the weather is fine.

Bolton Street Memorial Park – adjacent to the rose garden – is well worth a visit too. The historic cemetery has some of the city’s oldest and most interesting gravestones and an array of heritage plants, including more than 250 old-fashioned rambling roses, which are at their most picturesque at this time of year. A guided walk through the cemetery will leave from the Seddon Memorial at 2pm on Sunday 30 November.

For those more interested in modern roses, gardening writer and enthusiast Bethney McLennan will lead a guided ramble around the Lady Norwood Rose Garden leaving from the fountain at 11am on Saturday 29 November. Local blues musician Dave Murphy, who works at the Botanic Garden, will be performing for short periods throughout the day.

The Council’s Environment Portfolio Leader, Councillor Celia Wade-Brown, says the rose garden curator will be available on Thursday and Friday (27 and 28 November), 10am to 3pm, to provide advice on how to grow healthy roses as naturally as possible.

“Wellington Botanic Garden is a leader in natural pest control,” she says. “We began using a system known as Integrated Pest Management in our rose garden more than 10 years ago and within a couple of years it was working so well that insect spraying stopped. Instead of using toxic sprays, we concentrate instead on growing strong healthy plants and using natural predators, like ladybirds, to eat pests such as aphids.”

The Council identifies the new roses best suited to Wellington conditions by planting them in trial beds and monitoring them. The roses are pruned and watered but never sprayed. Those that perform best over three years win permanent places in the main garden and this year the apricot-orange hybrid tea rose Amber Flush has made the grade.

Roses being trialled include Scent to Remember, Nelson Girls, Orchid Melody, Star Quality and Twist and Twirl, which has orange-red striped blooms and very unusual, ferny foliage.


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