Today I was pleased to join the invited judges in the Rogers Rose Garden for the final day of voting in the Pacific Rosebowl Festival, the 18th held since the festival moved from Auckland to Hamilton.
At the awards presentation festival trustee and MC Pippa Mahood paid tribute to Hamilton Gardens’ director Peter Sergel, her fellow festival trustees, head gardener Alice Gwilliam (the rose gardens were a credit to her and her team), the NZ Rose Society (which was holding its national show in the next-door hall), festival co-ordinator Emma Reynolds and her understudy Maddy Reed.
And, of course, she got us a bit misty-eyed with mention of the late, great rose breeder Sam McGredy, who passed away just a few months ago and helped initiate the Rosebowl Festival in Auckland then assisted the move to Hamilton, always attending the annual awards. “The Auckland Botanic Gardens said having the festival move was the best thing that ever happened to their garden, and the sentiment was the same for us,” Peter Sergel said. “Sam’s mana and presence were an immeasurable part of its success here.”
The McGredy family was represented by Sam’s three daughters – Katherine, Maria and Clodagh – and several ‘grandies’, with news shared of Sam’s newest great-granddaughter, Molly, just a few days old.
New Zealand Rose of the Year, Best NZ-raised Rose & Best Shrub Rose: Everlasting Hope, bred by Rob Somerfield (Te Puna, near Tauranga) and named for the Canterbury branch of the Post-natal Depression Trust. It was released last year. Click here to visit Rob’s website.
Best Hybrid Tea Rose: Diamond Design, bred by Rob Somerfield. Released in 2012.
Best Floribunda Rose & Most Fragrant Rose: Skyla Rose bred by Rob Somerfield. Released this year, the rose was named for 7-year-old Skyla Rose Keating who died of a rare form of brain cancer in 2017.
Best Climbing Rose: Woollerton Old Hall, bred by David Austin and released in Britain in 2011. It’s named for a magnificent garden in the UK, developed by its owners and open to the public.
Children’s Choice Award: Midsummer, bred by Tantau (Germany) and released in 2008.