PEOPLE strolling past the Henry Edginton Rose Garden in Queens Park were pleasantly surprised to be offered scones with jam, cucumber sandwiches and a cup of tea or coffee on Sunday as part of this year’s Parks Week.
The high tea, organised by Invercargill City Council parks staff, was to celebrate 100 years since the rose garden was completed and 120 years since the name of the park was changed from Victoria Park to Queens Park, parks asset planner Cassie Scobie said.
Serenaded by a trio of classical musicians, Southland Rose Society members were also on hand to help the public with any questions they had regarding roses.
Originally from Oxfordshire, Mr Edginton had trained at two London nurseries and was head gardener at two large gardens before arriving in New Zealand.
A leading member of the Southland Horticultural Society, Mr Edginton was also the superintendent of reserves from 1896 to 1920 and was responsible for constructing the first rose garden in the park around 1914-1917 in a classic horse-shoe shape, with fine gravel paths around the perimeter and through the centre of the garden.
Between, there were grass paths with wooden pergolas.
In 1934 a sundial was placed in the garden as a focal point and the circular bed with intersecting pathways was constructed at the same time. Brick pergolas were constructed in 1988.
The purpose of the rose garden, which contains about 1800 bush roses and 120 climbing roses, is to display a good selection of roses to demonstrate how particular cultivars grow under local conditions.
In 1992 the rose garden was formally named after Mr Edginton.
Queens Park was originally named Victoria Park when it was first surveyed. However, in 1897 the borough council decided it should be renamed Queens Park.