30 November 2013

Parnell Rose Festival

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 Parnell Rose Gardens. The tree-studded area is a combination of the estates of two early Auckland residents, one belonged to Sir John Logan Campbell and the other, Birtley, was the property of 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.

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. Dale Carnegie

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

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