Peter and Madge’s rose-coloured world

Ron Smith Care Centre won a gold prize for these beautiful roses.

When love came first to earth, the Spring

Spread rose-beds to receive him.

This quote by Thomas Campbell sums up how many people feel about this exquisite flower and Peter Ronald of Elphin Lodge retirement village in Lyndhurst is no different.

He and wife Madge always had roses in their garden and both their daughter and granddaughter, Dorrie Ronald and Dominique Jacquet, have inherited their love of this ancient flower. In fact, Dorrie and her sister, who grew up in Bulawayo and went to the Dominican Convent High School, picked roses out of the family’s garden each Friday for the school’s weekly celebration of the cathedral.

“When Pete retired 13 years ago, at the age of 65, we decided that he would need a hobby to keep active. He’d always grown roses and we decided that he should develop this interest,” says Madge.

A few years’ later, Peter entered a massive rose competition at the Coca-Cola Dome. “Pete casually picked some candelabra roses and that little bunch won him first prize,” recalls Madge.

Since then, the Ronalds’ life has been rose coloured, rose scented and rose strewn with both Peter and Madge increasingly involved in local societies and active in competitions. Ludwig’s Roses became their second home.

Meanwhile, Madge says she is ‘Pete’s hands’. “He does the calculations of when to do what, and I help with spraying, etc,” she says.

On October 12, 2018, Peter, ably assisted by Madge and Dorrie, enjoyed much success at the Gold Reef Rose Society’s Rose Competition held at the Morningside Shopping Centre.

Competition rules state that entries must have been grown in your own garden and must have been planted at least six months before the show. Accredited judges judge the best blooms.

Last year a retirement village section was included in the Gold Reef Rose Society’s Rose Competition and three entries to this new section were received. This year, Madge was tasked with dropping information off at the nine retirement villages within the society’s region and this year the number of entries rose to 11.

Elphin Lodge took home bronze.

Among them were Rand Aid’s Elphin Lodge, Ron Smith Care Centre and Rand Aid itself, all of which took podium positions. Ron Smith Care Centre’s bowl of roses won first prize, Rand Aid took second place and Elphin Lodge third. Their prizes – a lavender plant and two ‘Mandela’ roses – will be planted in prime positions in the village’s garden by Servest supervisor Bennett Mahlangu and his team, who look after all Rand Aid complexes’ gardens and give much TLC to the abundance of roses that beautify the Elphin Lodge complex.

Elphin Lodge resident Anthea Steyn, a fellow flower fan, helped Madge with the arrangements of the entries.

Of course, Peter and Dorrie both fared well in the competition, with Peter winning a gold award and taking the Queen of the Show – Overall Winner award. Dorrie took the Second Princess of the Show award.

“One of the finest things we have ever done in our life is to move into Elphin Lodge; the lifestyle there sustains our interest in roses. Our fellow residents are always encouraging and keen to stop for a chat and to enjoy the smell and sight of our roses,” says Madge.

As passionate as Peter and Madge are about roses, they happily got involved in helping the Elphin Lodge Complex gardeners learn as much as possible about the care of roses and the result was blooming spectacular – as confirmed in the recent competition.

“Many gardens and flower beds in Elphin Lodge have beautiful roses grown by Peter,” says Helen Petrie, Elphin Lodge Complex’s manager.

An aerial view of the rose show held at Morningside Shopping Centre.

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