Pride of Palmy

Rose shows are beginning to fall like dominoes in the face of Covid-19 but New Zealand Rose Society president Hayden Foulds has been in touch with news of a rose named by public competition.

Rob Somerfield at Glenavon Roses created the plant which has been named to mark the golden jubilee of the International Rose Trial Grounds in Palmerston North – coincidentally around the same time the city is marking its 150th birthday (the trial grounds’ birthday was actually last year, but the celebration was a Covid casualty, while the city’s sesquicentennial is this year).

The name chosen for the golden-flowered rose was Pride of Palmy, which wouldn’t have been my first choice for this beautiful plant, but it’s good we’re all different, eh? Six people submitted the name with Ann Cryer of Pukekohe drawn as the recipient of six rose plants including Pride of Palmy. Annette Nixon and Catherine Thompson (Palmerston North), Tessa Curd and Joanne Lockwood (Auckland) and Ellen Phillips-Collis (Christchurch) each received a Pride of Palmy rose plant.

Pride of Palmy is early to flower in spring and has a good repeat. It’s compact, growing to 1.1m high, and has deep green, glossy foliage. Image: Glenavon Roses

November is the month when roses are at their best across much of New Zealand and normally the month when many rose shows occur, although this year the early ones are falling victim to Covid, including the Pacific Rosebowl Festival in Hamilton. It’s also the month when results are announced from the prestigious – and exacting – trials in Palmerston North.

So far, the event, which this year is combined with the National Rose Show and Convention, is on track to take place. Fingers crossed and touch wood, as I’m sure the organisers are as they watch, no doubt with dismay, as the Delta variant takes a toe-hold in Christchurch.

Pride of Palmy plants will be available at the national show at the Palmerston North Conference and Function Centre on November 27 and 28 and will be more widely available in winter 2022. 

Things that make me go ‘ah’

We’ve been sticking to our neighbourhood walks most evenings, the route we’ve been treading regularly since last year’s first big lockdown. And just as the evenings become lighter with daylight saving, in comes the blossom and my walk takes a bit longer as I stop to admire this or that.

Blossom seems to be what I’m needing just now, helping lift my spirits. Hope you enjoy these images.

The first couple of times I tried to photograph this small Leucospermum tree, the sky was grey. Finally, I got a blue sky to offset the vivid orange flowers. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Leucospermum, or pincushion plants, are native to South Africa. Photo: Sandra Simpson
A few steps further along the same street is this eye-catching crabapple on a property boundary. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Applause for the homeowners who have planted this weeping white blossom tree in the council berm. Give it a few more years and it will look magnificent. Photo: Sandra Simpson
The elderly kowhai street trees along one block have been putting on a good show this year – and generally where there’s kowhai, there’s tui. This young bird was singing its heart out. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The postscript to the photo above is that we talked about whether the seed-grown kowhai we’ve had for some years had finally come into flower this year. ‘No,’ said the Vege Grower. Only to be prove he needs to get to SpecSavers as the next day when I was in that corner of the garden there were the distinctive bunches of yellow flowers. Hurrah!

Pink Ribbon rose

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and what better rose to feature than the newly released Pink Ribbon, a stunning free-flowering rose with masses of soft-pink cupped blooms covering the compact, bushy growing plant.

Pink Ribbon looks stunning planted in groups. Photo: Samantha Matthews/Matthews Nurseries Ltd

Bred by Bob Matthews of Matthews Nurseries in Whanganui, the rose will benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation in New Zealand with $2 from the sale of each plant being donated. 

The New Zealand Rose Society has recently launched the New Zealand Rose Experts Guide which provides information on growing roses to those joining rose societies around New Zealand.

“Since 1964, the New Zealand Rose Society has provided a free publication about all aspects of growing roses to new members,” says Hayden Foulds, president of the New Zealand Rose Society and editor of the publication.

The New Zealand Rose Experts Guide has been written by some of New Zealand’s leading rose experts in chapter including types of roses, planting, pruning, general care and maintenance, using roses in your garden, pests and diseases, propagation and hybridising, exhibiting, and a rose care calendar.

Over time, further resources to supplement The New Zealand Rose Experts Guide will be placed in the member’s only area at the Rose Society website. Copies are available only by joining the New Zealand Rose Society online.

The New Zealand Rose Society acknowledges the support of a grant from Pub Charity towards the cost of printing this publication. 

The Gertrude Jekyll Lindisfarne garden

As spring starts to unfurl, our thoughts turn back to gardening and how we might extend or enhance our plot for year-round effect. Back in 2018 I visited a small walled garden on the island of Lindisfarne, just off the coast of Northumberland in northeast England, that was designed simply to be a summer garden.

Renowned English garden designer Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) was a friend of the equally-renowned architect Edwin Lutyens (he called her ‘Bumps’) and designed this small garden at his invitation, creating it in an area used in previous centuries by soldiers stationed at Lindisfarne Castle – the building Lutyens was renovating for its owner, Edward Hudson, then owner and publisher of Country Life magazine. As Hudson intended to use the property primarily as a summer retreat, the garden was intended to be ‘seen’ only at that time.

The view from the garden towards Lindisfarne Castle (the back of the castle was covered in scaffolding). Photo: Sandra Simpson

Gertrude’s first visit was in 1906 and by 1911 the garden was planted with bright flowers and the stone wall facing the castle lowered, so anyone using the rooms on the landward side of the building could easily see the garden. However, given the distance involved, while it can be said that the castle is a feature of the garden, the garden isn’t really part of the castle, which was built in 1570, and sits like a colourful island amid grassy pastures.

The stone wall is a must in helping plants get away before they get buffeted by the salty winds and the site was chosen by the garrison’s soldiers because it’s out of the building’s shadow and is on a gentle south-facing slope.

Some detail from one of the flower borders. It was a windy day! Photo: Sandra Simpson

Hudson, who spent most of his time in London, sold the castle in 1920 and the garden later fell into disuse. In 2003 the garden was restored to Gertrude Jekyll’s original design by the National Trust which, because of the visitor numbers the roughly 7 square metre garden attracts, has extended the garden’s season by including spring bulbs and early-flowering plants. The original design incorporated culinary herbs, vegetables and fruit trees and these are still, a small, part of the planting.

Apparently Jekyll also planted the crag on which the castle stands. How? By firing seeds at the rock face from a large fowling gun and lowering Harry Walker, a local 7-year-old, in a basket from the Upper Battery to access the difficult ledges!

Diagnosed with myopia, a degenerative eye condition, in 1891 Jekyll saw colours as blurs and it’s said she approached her designs like a painting. The garden at Lindisfarne includes large herbaceous beds with drifts of flowers with plants including sweetpeas, hollyhocks, phlox, roses (including ‘Gertrude Jekyll’), fuchsias, helianthus, sea buckthorn, poppies, larkspur and scabiosa. A sign in the garden says the planting plan follows Jekyll’s ‘very closely, but is not exact’.

Gertrude Jekyll portrait by William Nicholson in 1920. Commissioned by Edwin Lutyens. Image: Wikimedia

Jekyll was the first woman to be awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour of the Royal Horticultural Society, the highest award for British horticulturists, in 1897. Her tombstone was designed by Lutyens.

Lindisfarne Island, also known as Holy Island, is accessible only twice every 24 hours at low tide.

A memorial stone in the Lindisfarne garden. Photo: Sandra Simpson