Otago Rose Society president Maureen Viggo with a bowl of
her flowers, including "Scentasia" roses, which won a
floral arrangement class in the society's annual show, held
in Dunedin at the weekend. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Otago Rose Society president Maureen Viggo can count on
one thing with roses - they always bring a smile to her face.
Recent unsettled weather and a slightly earlier than usual
timing of the society's latest annual show meant entries were
down on last year.
This year's show began at Forbury Park Raceway on Saturday.
But despite the weather problems, more than 200 floral
entries, with a dazzlingly wide range of colours and
perfumes, were on display. About 100 members of the public
attended the first day of the two-day show.
"I want people to come in that door and say 'Oh wow!'," she
Mrs Viggo's first memory of roses was a powerful one -
encountering as a 7-year-old a red hybrid tea rose with an
"overwhelming" perfume, she said. It was "Etoile de
Hollande", which her mother, Netta Campbell, was growing in
her rose garden.
When it comes to roses and rose society exhibitions, many
things have changed over the years. Busier lifestyles have
meant many gardeners no longer have the time they once had to
cultivate huge rose gardens and provide large bunches of up
to a dozen roses for display at the annual show.
Today's roses on display may be somewhat fewer, and be
combined more often with displays of other flowers, but roses
still have the same undeniable appeal for rose fanciers
whatever the gender, age and occupation.
For Mrs Viggo, who is also a committee member of the group
Heritage Roses Otago, part of the appeal of roses is their
fascinating history, including the intriguing stories of how
roses came to be named, and the behind-the-scenes quests and
dreams of rose breeders.
She said that even if people had a little less time for
gardening these days, growing roses was part of maintaining a
good work-home life balance.
The rose society was always looking for more members, she
"We're a warm, friendly group."