If Jim and Rima Samuels were alive to see 50 years of their hard work come to life they would have been “really chuffed,” says their son Brian.
Sunday marked 50 years since Broadgreen House’s first Rose Sunday and the official opening of what would later be known as the Samuels Rose Garden.
Hundreds gathered to commemorate the occasion at ‘Among the Roses 2018’, which was paired with a vintage car show.
The gardens officially opened on November 17, 1968 – the brainchild of Jim and Rima – who always maintained that Nelson grew the best roses in the world.
Jim saw an opportunity when the land was being developed and encouraged Nelson City Council to purchase the land.
He contributed 250 varieties of bud grafted rose bushes, 2056 bushes in total, to start the gardens off.
One of these is the Rima rose – a hybrid tea rose developed by Jim and named after his wife. It was the first New Zealand rose to receive a British Trial Ground Certificate – officially establishing it as a new variety.
The gardens are now home to some 500 varieties of roses, and mayor Rachel Reese, along with the youngest and eldest living members of the Samuels family, unveiled a new plaque to commemorate the 50th Anniversary on Sunday.
The plaque shares the history of the gardens, and the Samuels family’s involvement in turning the dream into a reality.
Rachel spoke to the remaining family members about the legacy and incredible gift Jim and Rima had given to the city of Nelson.
“It is regarded by visitors as one of the best rose gardens in the world,” she says.
Brian Samuels also spoke and says it’s a shame his mum and dad weren’t alive to see the gardens and the plaque because they’d be “really chuffed”.