Yesterday I was drawn to the formal rose garden in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens in search of my favourite rose: Peace. I was on an errand that took me through the Gardens starting from the wall of flowers, an ever-enlarging memorial to those who lost their lives in the unspeakably awful shootings in Christchurch last week, and my feet took me to the Rose Garden. I vaguely remembered the bed of Peace roses from visits years ago and soon found it.
There are now just two gnarled standard bushes, surrounded by lower-growing modern roses, but what glorious roses they are, reaching for the warm autumn sun. There were crimson buds and blowsy blooms fading from yellow to cream and with a pink flush edging their petals.
This rose, which acquired its name at the end of World War II, is a balm, a promise, a hope that’s still worth clinging to, a harmony of unlikely colours, resilient and still blooming. It was what I needed yesterday and what I need today.