WORLD FAMOUS ROSE GARDEN UNDER THREAT
Legendary rose breeder Sam McGredy says a proposal to pull out “one of the
best rose gardens in the world” to save $60,000 a year is outrageous and the
rose world will “kick up hell” if Hamilton city councillors back it.
Ripping out the world-renowned Rogers Rose Garden and dismantling five of
Hamilton’s civic fountains are among the latest proposals to help get city
council budgets back into the black.
Families using the city’s parks should also get used to digging prickles out
of tender feet over summer, as spraying for onehunga weed is also among the
swathe of proposed cuts to prune $2.2 million a year from parks budgets.
“It has historical roses, and a lot of my roses, that would be lost to the
world,” Dr McGredy said of the rose garden proposal.
“I can’t believe they’re even contemplating it, when you think of the amount
of money they spend on car races and rugby stadiums.”
Councillors earlier this month demanded staff find ways to double proposed
cuts of $1.1m to the city’s parks and open spaces.
An internationally regarded rose breeder, Dr McGredy emigrated to New Zealand
in 1972 from Ireland and developed a multimillion-dollar export rose breeding
business. Among his most famous is the red climber Dublin Bay.
He retired from
rose breeding in 2007 after producing his last selection, Rose Hamilton Gardens,
ironically named in honour of the gardens which council staff now recommend
He said it was “beyond comprehension” that the council was even considering
destroying what was regarded as one of the great rose gardens of the world to
save such a small amount of money.
Some councillors are already backing away from the proposal. Dave Macpherson
described it as a “stupid suggestion” which he was confident would go nowhere
when the council considered it at a meeting today.
Martin Gallagher said he would be “absolutely opposing” every recommendation
in the report and telling councillors who asked for the cuts to be doubled that
“if you ask a nutty question, you’ll get a nutty answer”. Former city mayor
Denis Rogers and his brother, Hamilton GP Anthony Rogers, were among the major
advocates for the establishment of Waikato University and “for the city to even
contemplate cutting out an incredible rose garden named in their memory is an
act of monumental disrespect”, Mr Gallagher said.
Mr Macpherson said the fact the proposal had made it to council showed
councillors “need to take charge much more of the agenda that management are
following. There are many cutbacks we should be considering.”
Among other proposals in the parks and gardens report are demolishing the
Victorian Gardens pavilions at Hamilton Gardens, and slashing budgets for the
city’s sports parks to help save another $1.1m a year.
Details of all our roses are available on our web site.
Over 1000 varieties to choose from.