Rose Garden at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Rose Garden

Summer colour for any type of garden

"That which God said to the rose, and caused it to laugh in full-blown beauty, He said to my heart, and made it a hundred times more beautiful
Persian poet Rumi.

Visit the Rose Gardens at Auckland Botanic Gardens and admire these plants that have inspired so many poets and lovers over history with their plush flowers and delicious scent (not forgetting the extra message in their thorns!).

Roses have a reputation for being high maintenance and susceptible to pest and disease. The rose gardens here prove otherwise! Before roses become successful members of our collection they go through 3 years of trials. Only those that thrive, without chemical applications, succeed. You too can grow beautiful roses in Auckland - without as much energy or money spent as you may have thought.

We demonstrate a variety of garden designs. If you dream of the traditional and quaint, visit the heritage and rambling varieties in the Historic Garden or the Reflective Rose Garden. These are complemented by flowering perennials and annuals which are so enjoyed by the beneficial insects, birds and bees. If you just want to relax into the scented atmosphere of modern and heritage cultivars, find a quiet spot by the pond in the Reflective Garden. Be intrigued and inspired by the effectiveness of roses against the backdrop of NZ natives in the New Zealand Rose Garden.

Is there a rose in here you love? Take ideas from an array of proven performers.  Keep an eye on our events calendar for upcoming horticultural workshops or let us know if you would like more information on best practice for growing roses.

Enjoy watching our collection curator guide you through the various areas of our Rose Garden



Throughout history roses have been symbols of love, beauty and war. Garden cultivation of roses began in Asia and the Middle-East around 4 thousand years ago. In addition to their beauty, they have a classic scent commonly utilised in the perfume industry and rose-hips are very high in vitamin C when made into cordials, teas or jellies.

In 2000 we started managing our roses differently. Due to our concerns about environmental and human health (of staff and visitors), the decision was made to reduce and ultimately eliminate the use of insecticides and fungicides at the Auckland Botanic Gardens. In the Rose Garden, a 3-year trial system was established - if a rose goes into the trial beds and gets a disease, it is removed. If a rose does well, it gets promoted to the display beds.

In addition to right plant selection, we also focus on soil health to help bolster a plants resistance. We place an emphasis on building healthy soils with regular applications of compost and organic matter. The lack of chemicals, plus a diverse range of complementary plants, attracts beneficial insect and bird life which helps keep pests in check.

Through our extensive trials, we have developed our recipe for a successful Rose Garden - selecting the right plant, building soil health and attracting beneficial insect and birds.

Gardening Tips for Roses
  • Select one of the roses displayed in our gardens – they are disease-resistant and if you also apply good horticultural practices such as adding compost to your soil, companion planting and spacing roses to ensure good air circulation they should not need sprays to stay healthy
  • When planting a rose remove existing soil and replenish with compost and / or sheep pellets.
  • Apply an organic mulch or leaf mould annually to benefit soil health, moisture retention and weed suppression.
  • Keep plants strong by applying fertiliser particularly in spring e.g. natural fertilisers and potash and lime every few years.
  • Prune repeat flowering roses (such as most modern cultivars) in winter. Prune once-flowering heritage, ramblers or climbers in summer after flowering.
  • Avoid pest and disease by always pruning on a dry, sunny day.

 Curator Paula Lollback gives her tips on pruning roses

Are you planning to do some winter pruning and need advice on sharpening and cleaning your secateurs?

Read the top tips from Mark who is a curator at the Gardens.


Auckland Botanic Gardens curate roses of special significance that may potentially become unavailable commercially.


Horticulturalists at Auckland Botanic Gardens are evaluating roses for their resistance to pest and diseases, and consistent overall garden performance. For more information or recommendations please contact us.


Tarmac paths are fully accessible. Avoid the Reflective Rose Garden due to narrow areas and steps at one end.