Just back from an afternoon in Hamilton, helping judge the Pacific Rosebowl entries in the Rogers Rose Garden, and then attending the afternoon tea and prizegiving – and would like to thank those I sat with for making feel so welcome.
Best Hybrid Tea: Sunline, bred by Rob Somerfield (Glenavon Roses, NZ). Sunline (1995-2009) was the world’s highest-earning racing mare of her time. She retired from racing in 2002 and was put down in 2009 after suffering a debilitating hoof disease. Some months later, Rob said, her owner phoned asking if it would be possible to have a rose named for the horse.
Best climber: Indigo Knights, bred by Chris Warner (UK). Accepting the prize was Ben Pratt of Tasman Bay Roses, the New Zealand agent for Warner-bred plants. Tasman Bay Roses was started by Ben’s parents, Nigel and Judy, in 1966.
Most Fragrant: Double Fragrance, selected by Rob Somerfield (a climbing sport of Deep Secret).
And then came …
Best Floribunda, Children’s Choice, Best NZ-Raised Rose & NZ Rose of the Year: Christchurch Remembers, bred by Rob Somerfield.
Rob wanted to name a rose for the city but didn’t want to do it too soon after the fatalities in the 2011 earthquake. He also sought – and was given – permission by Mayor Lianne Dalziel to name the rose, which won a Gold Star of the South Pacific at the National Trial Grounds in 2014, as a memorial to the 185 people who died in the February 22 quake.
The Grand Old Man of Roses, Sam McGredy, was in attendance, tootling about in a golf cart to view the blooms. Daughter Kathryn McGredy presented the Sam McGredy Award for the Best NZ-Raised Rose, while another daughter, Clodagh McGredy, presented the Pacific Rosebowl for the NZ Rose of the Year.