Ranfurly Shield won with roses

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North Otago’s Rose Society has done what the province’s rugby team could not – win the Ranfurly Shield.

Rather than compete for the shield over 80 minutes of rugby, the Ranfurly Rose shield is awarded annually to the best rose society in the South Island.

In each of the 12 classes, three points are awarded for first place, two for second and one for third.

With 17 points, the North Otago Rose Society, the defending champion, emerged victorious at this year’s event.

The society’s president Christine Schaffer said members were “quite delighted” with the result.

The shield dates back to 1983, when it was donated by legendary rose breeder, and rugby fan, Sam McGredy.

Two other Ranfurly Rose trophies are contested by rose societies in the lower and upper North Island.

The key to a winning rose was for it to be “a good shape, healthy and fresh”, Mrs Schaffer said.

Judging for the competition took place in Greymouth on Saturday.

Members of the North Otago Rose Society had selected and picked roses to transport over to the West Coast on February 6.

The North Otago Rose Society has 34 members . The roses were selected from their gardens.

To maintain the freshness, the picked roses were packed in test tubes and polystyrene, then taken to Greymouth where they were staged and presented for judging.

Each class had different requirements.

“You always take a few spares, and then you see which ones are the best when it comes to staging them,” Mrs Schaffer said.

“We were very surprised to do as well as we did because it wasn’t such a great season.

“It was pretty dry for a long time and we had rain the day before, which can spot them and mark them.”

Being able to stage the roses was just as important as having a good rose to work with, Mrs Schaffer said.

“We had not so many roses and I didn’t think ours were that wonderful but when they were staged properly and well they looked pretty good.

“It’s not a bad activity, you just have to look out for the thorns.”

North Otago Rose Society member Alison Ludemann also won a separate prize for a depiction of a sunset over a waterfall made with flowers.