Ceme­tery flow­ers in new sta­tus

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

From Alba Semi Plena to Wil­liam Lobb – the her­itage roses are bloom­ing mar­vel­lous at the Pau­ata­hanui burial ground.

The site, be­low St Al­ban’s Church, is a burial ground that con­tains a who’s who of the area’s his­toric fam­i­lies.

But this time of year it’s what’s hap­pen­ing above ground that holds promi­nence.

The roses are in full colour, and the col­lec­tion of about 125 va­ri­eties – from cut­tings brought by set­tlers to those planted by vol­un­teers since 1991 – has been of­fi­cially recog­nised as ‘‘na­tion­ally sig­nif­i­cant’’ by Her­itage Roses New Zealand.

The project to clear the over­grown and ne­glected burial ground has been co-or­di­nated for 23 years by Rose­mary Pat­ter­son.

She said a group of ded­i­cated peo­ple comes to­gether about eight times a year to tend the roses.

She praised Porirua City Coun­cil parks staff, who keep the burial ground mown and largely weed-free.

The coun­cil legally took over the run­ning of the burial ground in 2007.

‘‘We used to mow it our­selves, so not to have to do that, and just look after th­ese won­der­ful roses, has been ter­rific,’’ Pat­ter­son said.

‘‘The coun­cil have been very sup­port­ive.’’

She said the orig­i­nal group of vol­un­teers in 1991 was in­spired by the old roses at Bolton St Memo­rial Park in Wellington.

She said she was de­lighted to re­ceive the of­fi­cial recog­ni­tion after the ef­forts of so many vol­un­teers. ‘‘It is a peace­ful place for peo­ple to come, to sit or wan­der around.

‘‘It’s been such a lovely project to be a part of.’’

Pat­ter­son said

the

burial ground is open to the el­e­ments but the roses are hardy, like the first set­tlers.

Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said the her­itage rose col­lec­tion site was one Porirua should be im­mensely proud of.

The burial ground is open to the pub­lic ev­ery day, free of charge.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Cut­ting:

Rose­mary Pat­ter­son says the roses at the burial ground need con­stant cut­ting and tend­ing.

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