Hot on the heels of his Rose of the Year win at the Pacific Rose Bowl Festival, Rob Somerfield was yesterday awarded a Gold Star of the South Pacific (the highest honour) at the New Zealand Trial Grounds in Palmerston North for Fireball.

Hayden Foulds of the NZ Rose Society describes it as a “striking orange floribunda with a silver centre and reverse. Masses of flowers, healthy and a compact, medium grower. To be released in New Zealand in the next couple of years.”

Hayden notes that this is Rob’s sixth Gold Star – Star Quality, Pacific Glory, Sunline, Love Heart, Christchurch Remembers and now Fireball. I believe that equals Sam McGredy’s record. Oh dearie me, no. I was very much mistaken – Sam has 16 Gold Stars although, as Hayden points out, “most of  those were gained when they presented one for best hybrid tea and best floribunda and occasionally for something else as well, so a different era”.

Certificates of Merit went to Rob (for two plants), Bob Matthews of Wanganui and Colin Dickson of Northern Ireland. Read a bit more about Rob and see a picture of Fireball here.

Compiling the items for the Events page can take some time – but it’s always lots of fun and it’s lovely to celebrate the people who come together to display plants, talk about them and get others enthused. And it’s nice to know that some groups are marking notable milestones, long may it continue.

The West Coast Gladiolus Society holds its 60th annual show in Normanby, Taranaki on January 31. As far as I can find out there is no longer a national society so this group is something special. There used to be a New Zealand Gladiolus Council but it was dissolved as an incorporated society in 2009. Read an article about the basics of growing gladis.

According to his entry in the Te Ara Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, Sid Holland (prime minister from 1949-1957) was an authority of dahlias and gladioli.

The Morrinsville Horticulture Society celebrates its centenary show on February 19. At this year’s show the society released a new daffodil, Morrinsville, to mark the milestone – and it was named champion bloom! The bulb has been developed by society members Peter and Lesley Ramsay.

The society established the town’s popular Rose Gardens in 1946 and maintained them for many years before the gardens were purchased by the former Morrinsville Borough Council (now Matamata-Piako District Council).

Read a Papers Past article, published in the Morrinsville News on September 15, 1915, about the ‘newly formed’ society.

Meanwhile, the Royal Botanic Garden of Sydney is preparing to celebrate its bicentenary with a year of special events, including fireworks on New Year’s Eve and the opening of the new Calyx horticultural display centre described by the garden’s executive director Kim Ellis as “a cathedral of plants”. Read more here.


5 thoughts on “Milestones

  1. Beautiful rose. Tauranga Fuchsia Group Best in Show was won by Lorna Baldock from Omokoroa with Derby Imp. There was a great selection of fuchsias entered and the judges had a difficult time judging.

    • Thanks so much for letting me know Pat. I meant to come yesterday but got tied up with other things and before I knew it, 5pm had rolled around! Quietly kicked myself.

  2. In the quote from Hayden Foulds he says the rose is orange, but following the link to the Manawatu Standard story, it says it’s “a pink rose”. I’m assuming that orange is correct as it’s a much more likely fireball colour?

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