Oamaru has some of New Zealand’s finest gardens, both public and private. The Oamaru Public Gardens are regarded as one of the finest in the country, if not the southern hemisphere, with its beautifully manicured lawns, flowers from around New Zealand and around the world, and architectural features like a Japanese bridge and an aviary. Oamaru’s residents are avid gardeners, enjoying an ideal climate for growing a wide range of plants that are the envy of many across New Zealand. It’s no surprise, then, that when there is a flower show in town, it draws numerous entrants eager to show their prize blooms.
Yesterday was the opening day of the North Otago Rose Show at Oamaru’s Pipe Band Hall, and during a visit to see the flowers on display you were immediately struck by the sheer number of stunning roses, all presented beautifully and showing off the skills of their growers. As a mere amateur I cannot imagine how the judges (who are brought in from out of town for such a serious business as judging local roses) can determine which rose better exemplifies the standard, since all of them seemed like prize winners to me.
Among the notable winners was Pen-y-bryn Lodge‘s owner, James Boussy, who had never entered the competition before but who took no fewer than five prizes for the lodge’s roses, many of which date back to when the lodge was first built in 1889. Though he had visited the rose show several times, he had never considered entering until the members caught sight of some of the lodge’s hundreds of rose bushes and prompted him to enter a few in the next competition. Of the seven roses entered, all but one took a prize (and that seventh one would have won, I think, had it been entered in a different category). But you can judge for yourself, viewing the winners in the miniature gallery below.