Anna Bradbury and South Pacific Roses

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By Lloyd Chapman

South Pacific Roses have been on State Highway 1 near Penray for around 20 years. Their headquarters are in Prebbleton, near Christchurch. They set up the Otaki operation to supply the North Island market.

Gardening goes through many cycles but roses, one of the world’s most favoured garden plants tend to endure. NZ enjoys a pre-eminent reputation in the gardening world as having a great climate for roses.

Anna Bradbury has been managing the Otaki operation for over three years, and under her stewardship it’s blossomed! She grew up in Levin, in a family of fanatical gardeners. For the past 30 years she’s lived in Lupin Road, with 250 roses on a quarter-acre sand hill. Husband Warren, commutes to Wellington as a builder, and 16 yr old son Sam completes the family. Anna would visit the Otaki Horticultural Spring show that showcased roses and got hooked. “I’ve got ones at home just as good” was the catch-cry, and once infected, she began exhibiting her roses. Anna joined the Levin Rose Society over a decade ago, was soon elected to the committee, and for four years served as President. Now Anna is in her first year on the National Council of the NZ Rose Society, unable to turn down a challenge, she’s also a National Judge. It takes seven years to qualify, and the standards are high. If that’s not hard enough, she has to judge at a National Rose show every year, and re-sit her exams every five years to retain her credentials.

Anna was surprised to discover that New Zealand’s standards are exceedingly high. At the 2013 World Rose conference in Palmerston North, visiting foreign judges were amazed at our criteria for judging. Anna was impressed and flattered.

Here in Otaki, with Jan and part-timer Rachael, Anna sells over 300 varieties of roses, from old-fashioned shrubs, climbers & ramblers to modern Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, groundcovers, minis & standard roses. Customers are from the Lower North Island, from Hawkes Bay across to Taranaki, from the Manawatu to Wellington. South Pacific, with the demise of a number of national rose nurseries are a significant supplier nationwide, and Anna’s sights are on penetrating the upper North Island.

Fashion has changed: whereas garden centres once sold roses bare-rooted in early Spring, today roses are sold year-round. Anna reckons her business is equally split between wholesale and retail, and her roses are delivered to many supermarkets and garden centres. Sales from the website are playing a significant role year round, too.

In the Winter Anna and her team go into production.Their roses are grown in the South Island, shipped bare-rooted to Otaki where they are cool-stored awaiting potting.

Potting mix is a trade secret. Rather than use conventional mixes, they import several containers from the South Island. If I revealed the secret ingredients, I’m told I would die!

Anna’s sales this year will exceed ten thousand roses. What’s the secret? “Good old-fashioned customer service”

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Anna Bradbury and Royden, a NZ-bred Hybrid Tea

South Pacific’s Biggest sellers

Margaret Merril

Deep Secret

Blackberry Nip

Auckland Metro

Aoteaoroa

Friesia

Red Hybrid Teas (what men like!)

 

Favourite Climbers & Ramblers

Crimson Cascade (deep red, lasts for weeks on the bush)

Red Corsair

Crepuscule

City of York

Ghislaine de Feligonde

Compassion

 

Anna’s favourites

Miniature standards (easy-care, easy to grow, easy to exhibit)

Royden

Raspberry Ice

Hamilton Gardens

Anything with good fragrance