Village News

Prettiest in show

05 April 2024

Highlands Head Gardener Jacek and the winning rose

December is a vibrant and colourful time at Highlands Village in East Auckland as the gardening team and local residents prepare for their annual Highlands Rose Show.

Showcasing some of the village’s most exquisite roses, the event also attracts visitors from other Metlifecare villages, including Dannemora Gardens, Pōhutukawa Landing and Edgewater, who arrive by the busload to take a tour of the spectacular gardens in full bloom.

This year almost 200 residents, visitors and staff members voted for their favourite rose from the 22 short-listed varieties – including climbers, carpet roses, Floribundas, and the more classical Hybrid-Tea.

But there can only be one winner, and this year, a stunning pink and yellow Hybrid-Tea rose, appropriately named ‘Glitz and Glam’ took out the 2023 title.

Head Gardener of 10 years, Jacek Andreasik, who organises the event, says has a rich and long history with roses, one that residents and staff are incredibly proud of.

“Many of the rose bushes were planted 35 years ago when the village first established. Since then, residents have brought their own roses with them to plant in the communal gardens, and we’ve grown many from cuttings. We now have more than 1,100 rose bushes here at Highlands,” says Jacek.

Jacek and his team of dedicated gardeners also give non green-fingered residents and visitors tours of the rose gardens.

“Some of our residents don’t venture far from their units, so taking them on a rose garden tour is a wonderful way for them to see parts of the village they wouldn’t normally frequent,” says Jacek.

So what is about roses that make them so very special?

Highlands’ residents Trish Downie and Jill Bayliss say roses simply “make them happy.”

“They’re a very nostalgic flower for us,” says Trish. “We all remember giving them to our mothers and grandmothers.”

Jill agrees. “They’re such a cheerful flower. We’ve all taken rose cuttings, and they grow so beautifully. There are family roses here that people have brought with them, and when they move on, they’re left to grow and bloom for others to enjoy.”

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