A couple of weekends ago I spent several sweet hours at the annual Parnell Rose Festival, enjoying the kaleidoscopic floral display and the ambrosial perfume, a variety of entertainments and an assortment of stalls offering interesting retail therapy.
The festival is held at the Dove-Meyer Robinson Park in
Auckland’s inner-city suburb of Parnell,
though most people know the park by its former name, the . The tree-studded
area is a combination of the estates of two early Parnell Rose
Gardens residents, one belonged to Sir John
Logan Campbell and the other, Birtley, was the property of Auckland Charles Henry Street. Now, the area is an
oasis of green for all Aucklanders to enjoy.
The roses are many-splendored things, as you can see from the photos here. There are more than 5000 bushes, of both modern and heritage varieties, growing in these gardens, and the scent as you walk around the beds is simply divine. I’ve walked this way several times in recent weeks, and this is a popular stop for city tour buses, so it’s not uncommon suddenly to find yourself surrounded by foreign tourists.
The Parnell Rose Festival is held every November – prime flowering time - and this year included talks by gardening experts and rose-pruning demonstrations, performances by maypole dancers and traditional dancers of several ethnic origins, an art exhibition, and various things to keep the children amused, from bouncy castles and story-telling to wandering fairies and pixies.
The blooming roses are not to be missed so mark it in your diaries for 2014! Roses have been appreciated by some highly eloquent writers over the centuries – here are some of their words to accompany my photographs.
Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses. George Herbert
It was roses, roses, all the way. Robert Browning
You are responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose. Antoine de Saint-Exupery
But he who dares not grasp the thorn / Should never crave the rose. Anne Brontë
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. Abraham Lincoln
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, / Old Time is still a-flying: / And this same flower that smiles to-day, /
To-morrow will be dying. Robert Herrick