2017 Pacific Rosebowl Winners

You know what they say about making plans? Something along the lines of Robbie Burns’ gang aft agley … Thrilled to have been invited to judge at yesterday’s Pacific Rosebowl Festival in Hamilton but the Norovirus that made itself known on Friday night put paid to that. Finally back on my feet today, although still tired (The Vege Grower and The Lawn Mower both went down with it last night, despite our best efforts to contain it to me and Visiting Daughter).

So it was lovely to have a message from Emma Reynolds, the festival director, with a list of the beautiful roses that took out this year’s prizes.

New Zealand Rose of the Year; Children’s Choice Award: Best Wishes (yellow), bred by Colin Dickson (Northern Ireland). Best New Zealand-Raised Rose: Little Miss Perfect (coral), bred by Rob Somerfield (Te Puna, Tauranga). Best Hybrid Tea Rose; Most Fragrant Rose (tie): St Margaret’s Gold (pink/yellow), bred by Tantau (Germany). Most Fragrant Rose (tie): Magnifi-scent (red), bred by Brad Jalbert (Canada). Best Climbing Rose: All My Love (pink), bred by Doug Grant (Pukekohe, Auckland). Best Floribunda Rose: Scott Base (white), bred by Rob Somerfield (Te Puna). Best Shrub Rose: Strawberry Hill (pink), bred by David Austin (England).

How nice to see a yellow rose as the winner!

Best Wishes is available to order from Matthews Nurseries (Whanganui) and is described as “a stunning display of deep rich yellow flowers on a plant that is super healthy and quick to repeat. Upright growth to 1.4m.”

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St Margaret’s Gold. Image: Tasman Nurseries

Another rose in yellow tones took out the Best Hybrid Tea and tied for the Most Fragrant award – St Margaret’s Gold is a sport of Hayley Westenra. The rose is available to order through Tasman Nurseries (Nelson).

Rose trial winners 2014

Hayden Foulds of the New Zealand Rose Society has sent news of the winners from the national trial grounds in Palmerston North, announced last week.

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Winner of the 2014 Gold Star of the South Pacific, Christchurch Remembers bred by Rob Somerfield. Photo: Hayden Foulds

The Gold Star of the South Pacific, the top prize from the trials, went to a red rose named to commemorate the Christchurch earthquakes, Christchurch Remembers, and is from the increasingly successful stable of Rob Somerfield (Glenavon Roses) from Te Puna, near Tauranga.

“The name had to go to a red rose,” Rob says. He hopes a bed of the rose will form part of the official memorial once plans are finalised. The rose will be released to the New Zealand market in 2016 or 2017.

Rob also received two Certificates of Merit for the pale pink Eye Candy and the tangerine-orange Hot Topic, also due for commercial release in 2016 or 2017.

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Christophe, bred by Colin Dickson, won a Certificate of Merit. Photo: Hayden Foulds

The other Certificate of Merit was presented to the vibrant orange Christophe, bred by Colin Dickson of Northern Ireland and entered by Matthews Nurseries in Wanganui.

Rob has now won five Gold Stars now with only the legendary Sam McGredy in front, although Hayden points out that Sam won most of his in the era when two or even three were awarded each year, rather than just one as has been the case for the last 20 years.

Rob’s Gold Star winners are: Star Quality (2004);  Pacific Glory (2006); Sunline (2007); Love Heart (2009); Christchurch Remembers (2014).

The New Zealand Rose Society trials are now into their 44th year within the Dugald Mackenzie Rose Gardens in Palmerston North. The trials test new varieties from New Zealand and international rose breeders and are assessed over two years by a panel of 20 judges. They mark for things 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 trial.