Hawke's Bay Rose Hunters - Pratt Scholarship Report

Although the Hawke’s Bay Rose Hunting project will continue into the future we are reporting back on what was found for the year following receiving the Pratt Scholarship. We have quite a few places that still need to be visited when the roses are at their best with distance for travels, weather and timing being the limiting factors.

We had set out to find out what roses were still growing from planting in coastal and Marae areas of Hawke’s Bay but had very little response for these areas which could be due to how the weather has affected them, changing use of land and interest in gardening or quite simply that roses were not the plant of choice in these areas. So most of our finds are in town and rural gardens with some at very old stations. As we know old in the New Zealand sense of the word unlike in Europe.

Some places we visited had one or 2 modern roses with Tequila Sunrise obviously doing very well or older readily available roses like General Gallieni, Dorothy Perkins and Cecile Bruner. This report will focus on any particularly interesting stories behind the roses named or unknown, and roses that stand out as being ‘special’ and worthy of ensuring they last into the future. Some roses seen were very obviously multiflora seedlings or just another pink modern rose and not particularly healthy either.

We also had responses from other parts of New Zealand and where possible organised other groups to follow up.

The rose grower who made contact was thanked and made to feel that they had roses to enjoy into the future and we gave a lot of guidance with on going care and in some cases propagation as well.

Not all of the roses have been collected for propagation at this point but any we saw at risk of disappearing especially ones that intuitively made us feel were special have either had budwood collected and sent to D&S Nursery or suckers taken. We have also taken enough material in some cases for the families to be able to share the roses with other family members.

Some of the roses did not get a good photograph taken due mainly to weather and/or light or just not being out when we visited. Photography does not always make the colours as they actually are.

You can find out more and follow up on how we are going with our rose hunts via our Facebook page.

In many cases exact locations will not be given in this report for privacy.

Roses found in Havelock North garden:

1. Description: Cerise moss, suckers Story: From Mother’s garden in Napier (Mother born in 1898). All of the family were interested in plants/gardening. “It grows very well. I suppose it is well fed. I live behind the cemetery.”

Diane's Moss

Roses found in Haumoana gardens:

1. Description: Souvenir de la Malmaison but called “Mum’s Rose Story: Came from husband’s mother’s garden over 50 years ago from a very mature plant.

Souvenir de la Malmaison

2. Description: pink very fragrant and healthy climber that looks quite modern.

Mary's Pink Climber

Roses found in Hastings gardens

1. Description: roses here included Lavender Dream, Smooth Lady, Archiduc Joseph, Gloire de d’jon, Victorious, Frensham, Peace, Freesia, King’s Ransom, Royal Dane, Diamond Jubilee, Whisky, Uncle Walter, American Heritage, Mascarade, and a soft pink repeat flowering rose that came from another place we also visited known as “Mavis’ Rose” which was thought to have been first planted in 1929, red polyantha Story: Archiduc Joseph came from the mother’s side of the family from a garden in Arataki Road they leased in 1923 with cuttings passed around the family since then.

Liz's Red Polyantha
Archiduc Joseph

2. Description: apricot/pink rambler near left of old house (Karamu homestead), some old ramblers and possibly ‘Penelope’ or similar and single white Story: house was built in 1876 but not finished until 1878 due to the Maori wars. Property was often rented and family returned in 2001 building another home on the property.

Karamu Rambler
Karamu White Rambler

3. Description: a very old Cecile Bruner that dates before the house which is 60 years approx.

4. Description: very old Compassion, cerise/pink rose that deepens to purple with age and suckers plus gets bad rust and mildew – was in a Wellington garden until 1959 and suckers taken to current garden known as “Selena”, old rambler thought to be Mme Alice Garnier but foliage does not seem right.

Mme Alice Garnier?

Roses found in Napier/Taradale gardens

1. Description: 60+ year old Lady Hillingdon (no photo) which is a landmark rose in the area.

2. Description and story: “about 12 years ago I was walking in Ahuriri area where in about 1963 illegally built houses from the 1800s were pulled down and found a tiny once flowering white climber and dug it up and brought it home” Rose is a multiflora seedling and at this stage have not found out more info about the pulling down of these houses. I did wonder if maybe they were temporary homes put up after the Hawke’s Bay earthquake.

3. Description: Dorothy Perkins, Lady Hillingdon Story: originally from Wellington via mother-in-law’s grandparents approx 100 years ago and planted in current garden in the 1930s (no photos).

4. Description: purple mauve rose known as “Cabbage Rose” Story: Possibly linked to great grandfather who arrived from Scotland where he was a gardener/nurseryman at a large castle. Hugh Ross is his name and he began work in Dunedin then moved to Waihau/Te Aroha area and began his nursery which was established in 1880. A 92 year old great aunt remembers the rose well and that is was called “Cabbage Rose”. After my first contact with family they looked up more family history from a stored collection and I looked up Hugh Ross on the internet where we found out more about his nursery and that he propagated roses as well as other plants.

5. Description: intoxicating perfume, thorny, many petalled, once flowering, lighter green foliage, magenta/purple colouring with a little striping and possibly HP (Gregg Lowery suggested Rose Magenta) Story; Original plant was in Simla Cres, Khandallah, Wellington after a house was built in the 1940s the rose was planted. Cuttings grown from there about 30 years ago. 87 year old mother remembers her father would pick the rose for his wife’s birthday in Mid-November. Simla Cres was surrounded by older homes and family moved there from an older farmhouse in Johnsonville

6. Description: light pink rambler with buds starting with slight yellow tinge Story: cuttings taken about 34 years ago from a hedge at Waiau, North Canterbury and could have come originally from Ashburton Gorge (no photo yet).

7. Description: 2 types red polyantha, old tea similar to General Schablikine, soft yolk yellow tea with big hips and very large foliage, others not in flower still and going back Story: house on Napier Hill and was a farmhouse built in 1928 by Sandtman family but now completely surrounded by homes. First changed hands in 1940s.

Langbroek red Polyantha 1
Langbroek red Polyantha 2
Langbroek yellow tea
Langbroek pink tea

8. Description: “Ben Lomand 1” – cream with blush tonings with curly inside petals, repeats, perfumed and looks like an old tea climber, “Ben Lomand 2” almosts looks like a poppy, single rosy pink and very big bloom, also a climber Story: Stems of roses were like tree trunks and probably planted about 1910. The roses were very high up and I had to get on the top of a ladder on tippy-toes to get any bud wood material I could reach. The property known as Ben Lomand has been subdivided but was originally a Buxton garden with old photos found on the internet from the Turnball Library. These photos show the rose archway that lead from the summerhouse to the tennis court. The original homeowner was John Archibald MacFarlane.

Base of "Ben Lomand 1"
"Ben Lomand 1"
"Ben Lomand 2"

9. Description: lots of roses that appear to be mainly from about the 1950s and 60s and a very old Bloomfield Abundance. All plants over 50 years old – was Father’s home and as a Doctor his practice for 60 years. Will go back to see repeat flowerers.

Marg's Red

10. Description: “ Granny Reid” a very old tea/china with similar colouring to Comtesse de Cayla was from mother-in-law’s mother’s garden so late 1800s, “Mavis’ Rose”, “Nellie’s Rose” over 50 years in this garden and came from farm in Patoka, soft pink mini clusters, soft perfume and gets mildew, “Mrs Poulton” from Ed Poulton’s mother’s garden could be up to 100 years old, very low perpetual clusters of dark pink semi double flowers that fade, a rose similar to Rosy Cushion but rambled and Paul’s Lemon Pillar.

Granny Reid
Nellie's Rose
Mrs Poulton
Leanora's Climber

Roses from Waimarama gardens

1. Description: Full mauve rose, suckers. Cuttings from a nurse in Wairoa over 20 years ago.

2. Description: R Eglantine growing with a flax at a very old Maori owned property and the remains of what was once a very full rose garden that has not been there for many years. This last rose was treasured but actually was seen growing wild in other places out there.

Roses from Rural Hawke’s Bay gardens

1. Description: Olrig Station 150 years old with current home built in the early 1900s. A Buxton Garden originally with some of the ‘bones’ still visible. Most roses planted in the 1980s but 3 very old roses. Timing and weather has meant that even with 2 visits have not seen all of the roses in flower but family want to preserve them all. A mix of ramblers and bush roses including possibly Devoniensis, Meg, Pink and White Sparrieshoop, Greensleeves, Francois Juranville, Mutablis, Louise Odier, Devoniensis possibly, Abraham Derby, Seafoam, Queen Elizabeth, Grusse en Archen, Crimson Glory possibly, Red Coat, Penelope, Frances E Lester, Paul’s Scarlet. Photos are all of roses we are not 100% sure of identity yet.


2. Description: Waipukurau Farm garden “Woburn Abby” pale pink, and fades to almost white with buds that are dark lipstick pink, very cupped and balls, lovely perfume. No real thorns but back of leaves have gripping ability, rambler, mildew (possibly Ayrshire rose). Original cutting from friend down the road over 20 years prior and this friend said father took cuttings from a rose that said was from Woburn Abby in England. But our research thinks it could be Woburn Station down the road. Also a pinkie purple rose with light foliage that suckers. Need to go back for suckers and cuttings.

Woburn Abbey
Woburn Abbey
Helen's Gallica

3. Description: Waipukurau lifestyle block garden – father Ted Biddy connected to biddy family from Rose St Waipawa where 2 other roses collected a couple of years ago. Ted was interested in local history and rose research went alongside research into Onga Onga properties ‘Fairfield’ and ‘Forest Gate’ in 1940s. Alison told by father that roses were first to arrive in Central Hawke’s Bay. Include an old China not too dissimilar to Old Blush China, and called “Karemea”. A lilac full well perfumed rose, possibly a centifolia “Carter 1” (not a good photo)

Carter 1

4. Description; Wakarara property Onga Onga, dark magenta rose that suckers that originally came from Puhoi area and thought to have come to New Zealand via the Dalmatian gumdiggers.

5. Description: Puketapu lifestyle property garden owned by family since late 1800s with the family travelling from England to Australia then to New Zealand. Both have noisette qualities.

Kitty 1
Kitty 2

6. Description: Turamoe Station, Raukawa, house built over 100 years ago but original house damaged in 1931 earthquake and house was rebuilt to a smaller scale with the foundation outline of original house still visible. Whole hillside had once been gardens and covered with roses and rose arches. Current family bought property in 1923. Roses still growing include Sunburst – single red, Mrs R M Finch, General Galliene, Paul’s Scarlet, Mermaid, Cecile Brunner, Bloomfield Abundance, very old red HT/china, red polyantha, very pale pink moss with light green foliage, possibly Wolly Dodd’s rose, a very old very healthy tea which also had a section that had sported “Turamoe 4”. “Turamoe 5” once flowering and could be a Boursault. 3 very old HTs and took budwood from to ensure they are not lost and to study further

Turamoe red HT/china
Turamoe red Polyantha
Wolly Dodd?
Turamoe 4
Turamoe 5

And to finish a very interesting family rose story that has not been completely followed up as yet and not in Hawke’s Bay

A local teacher shared this story about a rose known as “Te Mete”.

“A very old rose that grows on the shores of Lake Rotoiti near Rotorua was planted by my great grandfather Thomas Henry smith in the 1860s. Smith was an immigrant from England and on his journey to New Zealand spent 6 hours or more a day studying the Maori language. After his arrival in New Zealand he became a magistrate and later Judge of Native Land Court and official Government translator. His main ‘claim to fame’ was writing the Maori version of the New Zealand National Anthem “E ihowa”.

The rose still grows wild on the site of Smith’s house behind the Mahinapua springs and pools. It is known as “Te Mete” (a transliteration of Smith).”

He later wrote to correct the springs name to Manupirau and to say they were only accessible by boat and provided this information: “My great grandfather Thomas Henry Smith built a house beside a hot spring in the Rotoiti area in 1848. His biography ‘Te Mete’ says it was located at Manupirau but also states that a rose that he planted in his garden went wild and can be found in the bush to this day.

I have contacted the Manupirau pools who have been extremely helpful but no one there knows of the existence of any wild rose. I believe there is a rose growing in the bush at the Waitangi Soda Springs and was wondering if this was the location of Smith’s house and not Manupirau.”

He also contacted locals one of which responded: “When we first arrived in this district to live (or it may have been even earlier, when the Miller family had a holiday place at Pukeitoi, about 2 km west of the Hot Pools, we used to go to the pools a great deal and often noticed a smallish-flowered double soft pink rose growing (I think) behind the ‘spout’ pool. This, we were informed by someone (maybe Jim, the pools’ caretaker of the time, or maybe Paddy Dunlop of Te Akau Road) was known as “Te Mita” (note similarity to “Te Mete”). I seem to recall that, once we were living here, we established a plant of this rose, grown from a cutting, but it did not do well in the spot we chose to grow it in, and we eventually lost it. So yes, there was a rose at the pools and it was known as “Te Mita/Te Mete”. From memory it may well have been a double flowered form of R multiflora. I have a notion is was thornless or nearly so, but cannot be certain on that. It was pretty rather than spectacular, but was probably a great delight to the early caretakers there. I wonder if it still exists there, or nearby – we hardly ever go to the pools these days – not what they used to be… I would probably recognise the variety if I saw one. We’ll keep an eye out for it along the shoreline. I rather think I may have written about it in some gardening notes published in the old ‘West Rotoiti News’ of which I was one of the editors. That would be in the 1980s.”

The quest to find this rose is still on but one thought was that maybe the area was cleared of all non native plants when the Department of Conservation began work in the area.