Keeping the CBD looking good at all times is the work of Mainstreet.
Leading the outside team, making sure the place is spick and span and the gardens are looking their best is Julie Heathcote.
Some of the flower beds carry roses, and Whanganui is home to a world-famous rose business — Matthews' Nurseries, owned by Cath and Bob Matthews. "Cath and Bob have donated roses for three of our beds," says Julie. The old roses needed replacing. Cath had seen the state of the gardens.
"I thought some of the roses are looking a bit worse for wear and they might like some new, fresh ones."
Cath and Bob donated three rose varieties to Mainstreet — My Mum, a floribunda rose in coral, apricot and pink; A Chance of Peace, a hybrid soft yellow tea rose and Powderpuff, a shrublet with lots of small, soft pink flowers.
All the roses are originals bred at the nurseries and some are exclusive to Matthews.
"I think Whanganui's Mainstreet is one of the nicest streets in New Zealand," says Cath, "We're happy to support it and keep it looking nice. If it's easy for Julie to have roses there, it's easy for us to replenish them now and again to keep it looking smart."
"We get good feedback," says Julie. "People stop and look when the roses are flowering and comment on how wonderful they look. We keep everything organic and only use organic sprays."
"Roses look lovely, they flower for a long time, easy to grow, they're the queen of flowers," says Cath.
Cath and Bob's roses are for colour, scent and floral profusion. There are 12 roses in each of three flower beds, with seven beds in total.
"The donated roses were well needed and we do appreciate it," says Julie. "We'll continue to look after them organically."
Matthews Nurseries is in its 71st year of business. Bob has been breeding roses since he was 15.
"We're happy to support the community," says Cath. "And we like to see people enjoy our roses." Bob's climber Cupcake (Mattcisa) was awarded a Silver Certificate at the 2018 International Rose Trials at The Hague, The Netherlands.