By Hayden Foulds
A rose named for the breeder’s mother topped the list of awards presented at the New Zealand Rose Society International Rose Trial Grounds in Palmerston North earlier this month.
Tauranga rose breeder Rob Somerfield, from Rob Somerfield Roses, topped the trials with his ‘Grandma’s Rose’ which won the Gold Star of the South Pacific, the top award at the trial grounds. “The name is a tribute to my mother from her grandchildren, they felt it was her colour,” Rob said.
Rob, who also did well at the Pacific Rose Bowl Festival in November, also received a Certificate of Merit for the cream variety ‘Old Friends’. Both his roses will be introduced to the market in the next couple of years.
Certificates of Merit were also awarded to the magenta pink ‘Berry Nice’ bred by Bob Matthews of Matthews Nurseries Ltd in Whanganui and to the yellow ‘Lemon Ruffles’, bred by Canadian breeder Brad Jalbert and entered by Amore Roses of Hamilton. This is the first time a Canada-bred rose has won an award at the trials. Both these varieties are already on the market in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Rose Society trials are now into their 49th year and test new varieties from New Zealand and international rose breeders and are assessed over 2 years by a panel of 20 judges who mark for such as freedom of flowering, health, plant quality, flower quality and fragrance.
At the conclusion of each trial, those roses which have gained an average of 70% are recognised with awards and reflect the consistently high performance that they have achieved during the trial period.
In 2020, the trials celebrate their 50th anniversary and a number of activities and events are planned to mark this occasion, including the National Rose Show being held in Palmerston North, the naming of a new rose for the city and the publication of a book on the rose trials.