National Rose Trial winners

By Hayden Foulds

The weekend was a good one for Palmerston North rose breeder John Ford, who scooped the main awards at the New Zealand Rose Society International Rose Trial Grounds in Palmerston North.

His rose ‘Bright Eyes’ won the Gold Star of the South Pacific for the highest score across the trial, the Silver Star of the City of Palmerston North for the highest score by a New Zealand amateur rose breeder, and the Nola Simpson Novelty Award.

Bright Eyes rose, bred by John Ford of Palmerston North. Photo: Hayden Foulds

Mr Ford, who is the chairman of the Trial Grounds Committee, was “blown away” with the success of the rose which has clusters of light mauve blooms with a dark pink ‘eye’ in the centre. Winning the Nola Simpson award was the icing on the cake – the late rose breeder was his aunt and encouraged Mr Ford’s interest in roses from an early age.

High Fashion rose, bred by Rob Somerfield of Tauranga. Photo: Hayden Foulds

Certificates of Merit were presented to Tauranga rose breeder Rob Somerfield of Glenavon Roses for the pink ‘Smart Choice’ and the pink/red ‘High Fashion’. Whanganui rose breeder Bob Matthews of Matthews Nurseries also received a Certificate of Merit for his yellow ‘Valerie Webster’ and collected awards for overseas breeders Colin Dickson of Northern Ireland with the light pink climber ‘Checkmate’ and Christian Bedard of the United States with the yellow ‘Sparkle & Shine’. 

‘Valerie Webster’ is already on the market in New Zealand while the other winners will be released in the year or two. 

Valerie Webster rose, bred by Bob Matthews of Whanganui. Photo: Hayden Foulds

The New Zealand Rose Society trials, now into their 50th year, test new varieties from New Zealand and international rose breeders and are judged over two years by a panel of 20 judges who assess freedom of flowering, health, plant quality, flower quality and fragrance.

At the end of each trial, those roses which have gained an average of 70% are recognised with awards reflecting the consistently high performance they have achieved during trial.

Unfortunately, the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the trials was disrupted by Covid-19 and many events have been postponed to 2021, including the hosting of the National Rose Show and the publication of a book on the trials history.

However, the anniversary was marked at the weekend by the cutting of a 50th anniversary cake by Mr Ford and Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith.

NZ Rose Trial Results 2019

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.

Grandma’s Rose, bred by Rob Somerfield, is the winner of the 2019 Gold Star of the South Pacific. Photo: Hayden Foulds

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.

Berry Nice, bred by Bob Matthews of Whanganui, received a Certificate of Merit. Photo: Matthews Nurseries

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.

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.”

st_margarets_gold

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.

rose-Christophe

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.