One of Whanganui's best-kept secrets, Matthews Roses, might not be so secret anymore.
Its flowers are the centrepiece of a new book, "Rosa", by photographer Derek Henderson and florist Simone Gooch, aka Fjura.
Samantha Matthews, the third generation of family involved in the business, said the pair first came to the farm in 2018 to collaborate on a piece for British magazine Pleasure Garden.
"They visited us and had such an amazing time that it inspired Simone to come back the next year to do a book," Matthews said.
"She and Derek really got along, and we got along too. It was a rose frenzy, really."
Henderson is based in Australia, while Gooch travelled from London, England for the project.
They returned in 2019 to begin work on Rosa.
The project required around 5000 blooms from the farm's rose garden, or "library", which were then arranged by Gooch and photographed by Henderson in the Fordell Hall.
"The combination of roses in the book is really unique. There's old, brand new, and stuff that hasn't been released yet," Matthews said.
"I don't want to use the word 'arrange', because it was more like sculpture. Some of them were literally as tall as me."
Samantha's mother, Cath Matthews, said Gooch constructed 16 different pieces within four days.
"It was amazing to watch her work. She said it was all her dreams come true to do a project like that."
The book shows a different angle on what people can do with roses, Cath said, and of all the different arrangements, this was a completely new take on it.
"The possibilities are just endless. She [Gooch] actually used more spent flowers than the traditional buds coming into pristine condition. She was happy to work with things that were slightly blown over as well, for a different look."
Samantha Matthews said it was great to see their roses "through someone else's eyes".
"We do love them, but we see them all the time. When someone from outside comes to the nursery and is agog you think 'woah, it is pretty special what we have'."
Bob Matthews, Samantha's father, said it would be hard to find another rose garden like theirs anywhere in the world.
Roses have been a lifelong passion for him.
At present there are around 650 varieties in it, ranging in age from brand new to 30 years old.
This year his hybridising program required 50,000 seeds to be planted, of which 500 seedlings will be trialled for the next few years.
After that, one or two varieties will be selected for release.
"It was a fascinating experience having Derek and Simone here," he said.
"They were both amazing. Derek is one of those professional photographers who just goes 'bang', and that's the shot. It was a totally natural process.
"It was all film too, not digital. He wasn't wasting any shots."
Samantha Matthews said what made the book special was the fact that it was a personal project for Gooch.
"She wasn't making them for a client or anything, it was purely for herself.
"For us here, when you see a rose that we've grown growing in someone else's garden, it makes everything worthwhile. It's exciting."
Rosa is now available through Perimeter Books.