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Feature - Dugald MacKenzie Rose Gardens

Dugald MacKenzie Rose Gardens

The Dugald Mackenzie Rose Gardens are located within the Victoria Esplanade Gardens in Palmerston North and are one of the Manawatu’s leading attractions.

From November through until May each year, the 5000 rose plants provide a spectacular display of colours, forms and for those who get close enough, many of the roses are beautifully scented as well. Check out the soft pink ‘Aotearoa’, the rich red ‘Lasting Love’, the purple ‘Blackberry Nip’ and the bronze ‘Matawhero Magic’ for fragrance. There are 96 formal beds arranged in a formal design radiating out from a central pond and viewing platform. Pergolas allow climbing roses to grow up them, providing vertical colour in the garden.

During the winter and spring months when the roses are not in bloom, other plants including flowering eucalyptus, magnolias, camellias and bulbs provide colour and interest.

The garden is home to the New Zealand Rose Society’s International Rose Trials which assesses new roses yet to be commercially sold in New Zealand on their performance. Awards are made each year with the overall winner receiving the Gold Star of the South Pacific at an awards ceremony in early December each year. The trials are the oldest of their type in the southern hemisphere and are one of 28 trials held around the world. Also located within the gardens is the Plant Variety Rights (PVR) trials and museum collection which contains most of the rose varieties protected under PVR, a form of intellectual property rights that can be applied to plants.

The Dugald Mackenzie Rose Gardens is one of New Zealand’s premier rose gardens and is admired by many local, national and international visitors each year. Opened in 1968, the gardens are named for a former superintendent of parks and reserves who contributed significantly to their development.

Open daily from dawn to dusk free of charge, the garden is a popular venue for weddings gatherings and events such as the annual Esplanade Day held in February where thousands gather to enjoy the wonderful setting. There is easy access for the disabled while many of the shade trees are popular picnic spots. Adjacent to the gardens is Victoria House where the public can enjoy café facilities.

In 2003 the Dugald Mackenzie Rose Garden in Palmerston North was recognised by the World Federation of Rose Societies with the presentation of the Award of Garden Excellence recognising it’s international status as a leading rose garden.

Many thanks to Hayden Foulds for this editorial.

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