Rose lovers fight flax plan

01:43, Jan 31 2009
WAR OF ROSES: President of the Levin Garden Club, Mary Buck, is angry that the council wants to get rid of roses in the area and replace them with low maintenance native grasses and colourless plants.

Levin is facing its own war of the roses over a council decision to ditch 300 bushes in favour of flaxes and grasses.

The Horowhenua Rose Society and Levin Garden Society are vowing to be a thorn in the Horowhenua District Council's side over its move toward easy-care plants - which the council says will help save $400,000 on garden maintenance - by organising a petition and lobbying councillors.

Rose Society president Peter Lucksteadt said the clearout of Levin's central public rose garden alongside the Bath St roundabout would leave the town with no colour.

"Levin has always been a strong rose-growing area. Some summers we can get three flushes. People used to have their wedding photos taken in the gardens. It is disappointing, a real loss."

In recent years, maintenance had slipped, with shelter belt trees and hedges removed.

Other public gardens, such as the Levin Municipal Garden, opposite the rose gardens, were also sorry examples of poor maintenance, he said.

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"There is a changing, money-driven culture to make everything green."

The Rose Society was supporting a Levin Garden Society petition expressing concern about the removal of the roses.

Garden society president Mary Buck, who had lived in Levin for 61 years, said some of the roses had special significance.

"The council does not know which roses were planted in memory of somebody. New stone work and council chambers are lovely but all you can see is green or brown, there is no colour."

Council chief David Ward said the reduction in garden maintenance throughout the district would save the council $400,000 a year.

The Dominion Post