A rose garden to delight the senses
Debut Ellerslie International Flower Show exhibitor Ben Pratt promises a rose garden at next month’s show which will delight the senses of all visitors. In a cottage gardening setting, Tasman Bay Roses will present a colourful display of rose varieties, from modern hybrid tea, floribunda and David Austin roses to climbing and old-fashioned roses.
Ben, who has worked in the rose growing business for more than 30 years, says the garden will have “lots and lots of roses and colour”. Tasman Bay Roses grows more than 1000 varieties of roses and will provide visitors to Ellerslie with a real “delightful” garden.
While Ben is making his debut at Ellerslie, in the late 1980s/early 1990s he worked in the United Kingdom for two leading growers Peter Beales and Blooms of Bressingham during which time he was involved in working on exhibition gardens at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court, as well as throughout Europe.
While no stranger to garden exhibits, having exhibited for many years at shows in the Nelson-Marlborough region, Ben admits to being a bit nervous about his Ellerslie debut. “I am entering a different league but I’m confident we are up to the challenge and our garden will be well received.”
He says being involved in the Chelsea Flower Show was one of the highlights of his career, being surrounded by the cream of Britain and the world’s garden designers and growers. “It was a wonderful opportunity and I learnt so much which will enable me to compete with confidence at Ellerslie." Ben says his Ellerslie garden will be a simple design as “roses tend to display themselves”. “All you need are the right blooms and a good structure then the roses will look amazing without much work.”
Preparations for Ellerslie began in November with the pruning of hundreds of roses to ensure there will be plenty of the best-looking blooms available for the show. “The garden will have lots and lots of roses and colour. All I really want to do is show off the roses we grow and what is suitable for planting throughout New Zealand. “The garden will feature a number of new varieties available in New Zealand which are guaranteed to generate a lot of interest.” All the roses will be for sale at the show.
Even after four decades involved in the industry, Ben admits he is still finds roses “so beautiful and fragrant” and really has no favourites – “I just love them all”.
Roses grown by Tasman Bay Roses will also be displayed on the exhibit by the Heritage Roses New Zealand in the City Care Hort Galore Marquee.
o Ellerslie International Flower Show, North Hagley Park, 7 to 11 March 2012. For more information www.ellerslieflowershow.co.nz