Find a WuHoo at a Timaru District Rose Garden

We love our Roses in the Timaru District landscape. They are beautiful and smell amazing. But did you know they can be the center of our customs and tradtions, symbolic, decorative and even theme wars?

Mr Griffiths a famous rose collector and nurseryman from Arowhenua Temuka, said what attracts him to growing roses is their immense history. "Roses have been on earth for 39 million years so they have a fascinating history." Originally, roses were only indigenous to northern hemisphere countries with two-thirds of them coming from China. Now Timaru can boast growing and caring for two significant rose gardens that have been nationally and internationally recognized.

When the early pioneers arrived in Timaru, the only trees were cabbage trees and most of the plants were native grasses. Fast forward 180 years and Timaru is a totally different landscape. Garden Curators, Acclimatization Societies and Beautification Society had a large role in sourcing plants and lay the foundations for our lovely community gardens that we see today. In many ways, Timaru's collection of roses is a living museum and there are some wonderful "WuHoo's" to find.

You can see them all year round at various life cycles, and flowering from November until July.

Timaru has a fine collection of Old Roses. These are a style of rose that is bred to have a shorter flatter flower, rather than the taller tapering flower of Modern Roses. This is largely as a result of the legacy of the late Trevor Griffiths, a local rosarian, who specialized in growing and writing about old roses. He has given his name to our most significant rose garden which is located at Caroline Bay adjacent to the piazza. The Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden is recognized by the World Federation of Rose Societies as a Garden of Excellence. It has also been awarded the status of Garden of National Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust. This garden is at its peak at the end of November and beginning of December.
See related information for the Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden lists of rose names by bed number and alphabetically.

The Temuka, Geraldine, Pleasant Point and Timaru urban areas all have flower carpet roses blooming in street plots for long periods of the year. In addition Timaru has a vibrant red floribunda rose called 'Trumpeter' which is named after Louis Armstrong, the renowned trumpet player.

Within the Timaru Botanic Gardens are the Species Rose Garden, the Anderson Rose Garden and other rose collections. The Species Rose Garden has examples of how roses used to grow before rose breeders began selecting for flowers at the expense of other traits. These are the early roses, from which all roses that you see today have been bred from. You will see a range of brightly coloured hips in autumn, huge thorns, expansive ramblers and roses from a large geographic range in the northern hemisphere.


Rose Conservation & Importance of Collecting. From public gardens to small back yards there can be rare plants that need saving. Sometimes when production of garden plants is commercially streamlined we can risk losing the most precious cultivars. Pests, diseases and changes of fashion mean plants can simply disappear. We may help medicinal cures or disease resistance by saving garden plants. We know and love the plants from our nation's stories, poems and paintings. The diversity in Timaru Districts Gardens help make sure future generations get to appreciate them as much as we do.

Roses to look for

Species Rose's: How many petals do they have? Species roses are wild roses that include natural species that haven’t been hybridized. Wild roses can be found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and their fossil records go back nearly 30-40 million years!

Old English Rose's: Feature the best characteristics of both Old and Modern Roses. The hundreds of varieties have heady fragrance of Old Roses with the repeat flowering capability and wider color range of Modern Roses.

Old Garden Rose's: Sometimes called heritage or historic roses, are a traditional class of roses bred before the arrival of the hybrid tea rose in 1867. Known for their strong fragrance, high petal count, bloom shape, disease resistance, and ability to withstand the cold. They generally bloom once a year during the summer.

A Modern Roses Bred after 1867: modern Roses bloom continuously. They also have a larger bloom size and longer vase life, but lack fragrance, and are less hardy and disease resistant.

Peony Rose's: A symbol of wealth, power and class in China where they're the national flower. Once grown for its medicinal qualities they are perennials and bloom for 7-10 days.

Rambling Rose's: shrubs with long flexible stems, which generally bloom once per season and are decendents of species roses. Ramblers tend to grow faster than climbers and they like to sprawl and can reach 60 feet. They are ideal for pergolas and arches.