Time to choose your roses

The best time to plant roses is during winter so now is the time to start planning! The NZ Rose Society’s Rose Review is a handy reference tool with its candid reviews of newer roses by growers from around the country. The most recent (2022) edition also includes New Zealand’s favourite roses as voted by members. Purchase details here.

‘Paddy Stephens’ has been the Favourite Hybrid Tea rose for a whopping 18 consecutive years – and also again tops the Favourite Healthy Rose category. Breeder Sam McGredy named this plant for Waikato rosarian Paddy Stephens, who died in 2012 aged 95. Interestingly, second on the Favourite HT list is ‘Hamilton Gardens’, a sport of ‘Paddy Stephens’.

‘My Mum’. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Favourite Floribunda is ‘My Mum’ (bred by Bob Matthews, Whanganui) for the second consecutive year; Favourite Modern Shrub Rose is ‘Sally Holmes; Favourite Miniature/Patio Rose is ‘Irresistible’ “by a considerable margin”; Favourite Large-Flowering Climber is ‘Red Flame’, regaining first place from second; Favourite Small-Flowering Climber is ‘Dusky Dancer’; Favourite Fragrant Rose is ‘Margaret Merrill’; and Favourite Heritage Rose is ‘Mutabilis’.

Looking for something different?

‘Green with Envy’ is the culmination of 29 years’ work for breeder Rob Somerfield. Photo: Glenavon Roses

‘Green with Envy’ (bred by Rob Somerfield, Te Puna) gathered plenty of comment from reviewers with the upshot being that the blooms are great for floral work, and last well on the plant or in a vase, and people didn’t mind swapping scent for novelty value. Not all reviewers, however, were sold on the colour. ‘Green with Envy’ won the World Federation of Rose Societies People’s Choice Award at the NZRS Trials in Palmerston North in 2013.

‘Thunderstruck’ was loved by reviewers in Northland, Waikato and Southland. Photo: Hayden Foulds

Released in 2020 by its French breeder, ‘Thunderstruck’ is something different with its blooms being a blend of chocolate orange with cream stripes. It makes for a great display and the dark burgundy-red colour of the new foliage contrasts well with the blooms. It will reach about 1.3m high.

‘Lights up the garden with its colour,’ the Gisborne reviewer said. Photo: Amore Roses

Another unusually coloured rose is Amore Espresso, bred in The Netherlands and available in New Zealand through Amore Roses in Waikato. New Zealand reviewers liked the plant’s good health and that the leaves stay on well into autumn. The flowers are said to have a spicy clove scent.

‘Eye Spy’ is a climbing rose from Rob Somerfield. Photo: Glenavon Roses

Persica, or Hulthemia, roses are being used more widely by breeders, resulting in better freedom of flowering, improved health and a range of flower colours.‘Eye Spy’ is a vigorous climber with blooms, larger than other Persica varieties, of peach aging to honey with a dark red ‘eye’. Read an earlier posting about Persica roses

Other unusual roses that got the thumbs up from most reviewers included ‘Midnight Rambler’, a dark-purple flowered climber; ‘Trish’s Rose’, a shrub rose with a flower that resembles a peony; and the lavender-blue flowered floribunda ‘Forget Me Not’. Happy planning!

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