Human ashes damaging roses

2010-04-21 16:03

Wellington - The public rose gardens in New Zealand's capital are suffering as growing numbers of people scatter the cremated remains of loved ones over the plants, officials said on Monday.

The rose gardens in Wellington's Botanic Gardens are a popular attraction for locals and tourists and it seems people are increasingly choosing the colourful flower beds as their last resting place.

But the high concentration of phosphate in the ashes is damaging the health of some plants and staff are upset by constantly having to remove bone fragments and ash from the beds, he said.

"We understand people are only trying to carry out the wishes of their deceased loved ones by scattering their ashes," gardens manager Paul Andrews said. "However, the rose garden is not the right place to do it."

Some rose beds are being doused in ashes up to three times a week.

Some rose varieties are more popular targets than others, with "Remember Me" and "Lasting Love" proving particularly attractive.