First rose garden Sunday a sweet-smelling success

Linnie Jones, the TA Rose Society promotions lady, was kept busy throughout the day on Sunday

The first big ‘come-back’ event by a recently-revived Te Awamutu Rose Society has been an outstanding success.

The inaugural Rose Garden Sunday was held on Sunday November 8, with a stream of visitors walking through the Te Awamutu Rose Gardens and going through indoor displays at the Burchell Pavilion.  Adding to the festive vibe was a display of cars by the Te Awamutu Rod and Custom Club, and a lunchtime performance by the Te Awamutu Brass Band.

Diana Jones and her husband Bryan spearheaded the move earlier this year to bring the Te Awamutu Rose Society out of the doldrums.  It had been in recess for at least five years, the group having fallen victim to the same plight encountered by many groups and organisations – declining membership.

The Jones’ used to farm dairy in the area. They moved away for a few years, returning to Te Awamutu about three years ago and quickly set about reinvigorating the society.

“We felt that Te Awamutu needed to have an active rose society … we are, after all, known as the Rosetown of New Zealand,” said Diana. “Now that we’re out of lockdown and our membership is growing, our plans are to reintroduce the regular events that were part of the past.”

Membership is currently at a healthy 44 and growing.  Regular events are planned from now on, including holding an annual rose show, the first of which is likely to be held around November next year.  The weekend’s Rose Garden Sunday is a new event, said Diana. “It’s intended to give people an opportunity to wander through the rose gardens, and to look at displays of roses grown by some of our members.”

Te Awamutu Rose Society members (back from left) Anne Oliedam, Suzy Hall, society president
Diana Jones, Lorraine Flynn and Elizabeth Wright, and (front from left) Laurel Smith and Shirley Lord.
The brave gent in the centre is Diana’s husband Bryan Jones, who is a long-standing member of the

A point of difference this time around were the competitions held by the society.  Visitors to the show were invited to pick their favourite rose and best perfumed rose – both in the rose gardens themselves and in the Burchell Pavilion.  There was also a special competition for children, where youngsters voted for their favourite rose in the gardens.

Five votes each went to favourite rose picks in the rose garden – Royal Dane and Moody Blues, with Solitaire and Tequila Sunset sharing top ranking for favourite rose in the Pavilion.  Memorial Day was voted the best perfumed rose in the rose garden, while Red Flame took the top slot for perfumed rose in the Pavilion.

The children’s vote went to the Reid family.

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