NZ Rose Trial Winners & Rosarians Honoured

By Hayden Foulds

Irish rose breeder David Kenny has taken out the main awards at the New Zealand Rose Society International Rose Trial Grounds in Palmerston North, announced late last month.

‘FLORANZA Eye Popping’. Photo: Hayden Foulds

Mr Kenny’s ‘FLORANZA Eye Popping’ won the Gold Star of the South Pacific as the highest scoring rose on trial, as well as the Nola Simpson Award for the most novel rose on trial. ‘Eye Popping’, which has masses of blooms of cream with a purple eye is currently sold by Amore Roses of Hamilton. Mr Kenny also picked up a Certificate of Merit for his red shrub rose ‘PIXY Lucky Stars’ (available from Amore Roses). 

Certificates of Merit were also awarded to Colin Dickson from Northern Ireland for the orange/yellow floribunda ‘FLORANZA Bright & Breezy’ (also available from Amore Roses) and the red shrub rose code-named ‘Dicalfa’, while New Zealand rose breeder Rob Somerfield gained a Certificate of Merit for his apricot orange floribunda ‘Attention Seeker’.

‘Attention Seeker’ and ‘Dicalfa’ will be introduced to the New Zealand market in the next year or two. 

The New Zealand Rose Society trials, now into their 51st year, test new varieties from New Zealand and international rose breeders and are judged over 2 years by a panel of 20 judges who assess the roses for such things 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 to reflect the consistently high performance they have achieved during trial.

The Regional Rose Show, scaled back from a National show due to Covid-19, held at the same time as the trial awards in Palmerston North was a great success and included a display of past winning roses from 50 years of rose trials. A book on the trials history will be published in 2022. 

Three rosarians from Manawatu have been honoured with awards recognising their service to the rose in New Zealand. 

Honoured for their services to the rose are, from left, John Ford, Heather Macdonell and Peter Elliott. Photo: Hayden Foulds

Peter Elliott was presented with the T.A. Stewart Memorial Award for his significant involvement at local, national and international level. 

Peter has served three terms as president of the Manawatu Rose Society and is currently its secretary/treasurer. He is a past president of the New Zealand Rose Society and has served in the roles of chief judge and chairman of the International Rose Trial Grounds Committee in Palmerston North. 

Peter also served three terms representing Australasia on the World Federation of Rose Societies (WFRS) and was presented with the WFRS Silver Medal in 2015. Peter also convened the organising committee for the WFRS Regional Convention held in Palmerston North in 2013. 

John Ford was presented with the New Zealand Rose Award. A past president and Life Member of the Manawatu Rose Society, John has also served on the New Zealand Rose Society Council and is also currently the chairman of the New Zealand International Rose Trials Committee in Palmerston North.

For many years John ran a small nursery supplying rose plants around the country and is now involved in breeding new varieties. His variety ‘Bright Eyes’ won the Gold and Silver Stars, along with the Nola Simpson Novelty Award, at the 2020 New Zealand International Rose Trial Ground awards. 

In receiving the award, John acknowledged the support of his wife Christine and his four children who have all assisted along the way. 

Heather Macdonell was presented with the New Zealand Rose Society Lifetime Service Award to recognise her 42 years’ service as NZRS secretary/treasurer. This is the first time this award has been presented and recognises Heather’s outstanding contribution to the New Zealand Rose Society which has been very fortunate to have her knowledge, skills and experience to guide it over the years.

Heather has spent many hours working for the betterment of the New Zealand Rose Society and roses in general, often behind the scenes, and has also often been the first point of contact for new members or for enquiries from the public. 

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