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.
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.
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.