Pauline O'Leary checks out a rose in her garden

Judges will be smelling the roses when Ashburton hosts the Rose Ranfurly show later this month.

Eight South Island rose societies will compete as groups against one another for an impressive shield donated by legendary New Zealand rose breeder the late-Dr Sam McGredy.

South Canterbury Rose Society will host the show at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre and colourful, high quality blooms are expected.

Ashburton resident and South Canterbury Rose Society member Pauline O’Leary said the themed class this year was Ranfurly Reflections and would feature roses and mirrors.

There were 12 classes to be judged for the shield, as well as a number of special classes. Each society had just one entry per class and the best of the best would be chosen on the morning of judging.

“We will have about three hours to choose and set up before the judges come in.”

Mrs O’Leary said judges were coming from the North Island and the society with the most accumulated points would be deemed the winner.

Ashburton hosted Rose Ranfurly in 2015 and the current shield holders are North Otago.

Mrs O’Leary said covid number restrictions of 100 meant that a planned public viewing afternoon had now been cancelled.

“It’s such a shame because there are a lot people out there who appreciate roses.”

She said growing roses could be a challenge.

“You are reliant on the weather and you have to keep the mildew and rust at bay, but there is nothing more satisfying that admiring a beautiful bloom.”

Rose society members will gather on February 18 for the main show the following day. While judging is taking place the visitors are encouraged to see more of the area and there are options to visit Trott’s Garden, the Ashburton Aviation Museum and musical farm At Violinos.

Other rose society competitions are still to be confirmed for the upper and lower North Island regions.

-By Mick Jensen