It’s time to smell the roses at the Victoria Esplanade Gardens

Published on 17 November 2022

Photo shows a dog walking through the roses.

Rose show season has commenced once again, as rose enthusiasts begin to show off their blooms at displays and competitions across the country. 52 years of International Rose Trials are set to be celebrated in late November, right here in Palmerston North’s remarkable Victoria Esplanade Gardens.

Over the past two years, 50 roses submitted by growers and hybridisers from around the world have been grown and cared for by Palmerston North City Council staff at the trials.

John Ford, Chairman of the Trial Ground Committee, says most of these roses have never been seen before in New Zealand and represent the latest trends in the rose industry. 

“Rose breeders worldwide are breeding roses with more flowers and improved disease tolerance; plus, more and more varieties have fragrant blooms than ever before.”

The roses are evaluated by a panel of 20 judges on characteristics including colour, fragrance, health, flower form and novelty over a two-year period.

Picture shows aerial view of a formal rose garden.

Certificates of Merit are given to roses which accumulate 70 points or more and are available commercially with special awards made for roses which have scored highly for fragrance or novelty. The Silver Star of the City of Palmerston North is also presented if any New Zealand bred amateur rose gains an award. 

The Gold Star of the South Pacific award is presented annually to the top rose grown in the Esplanade’s International Rose Trial Grounds. Mr Ford says the Gold Star award gives the winning rose’s breeder and agent instant recognition and will help market it throughout New Zealand.

“The ongoing awards reflect the reputation of the city and the Victoria Esplanade Gardens as an internationally recognised rose growing area.”

The winning roses will be announced by Mr Ford and Mayor Grant Smith at the gazebo in the Dugald Mackenzie Rose Gardens on Sunday 27 November, at 2.30pm.