Over the past two years, 40 roses submitted by international growers and hybridisers have been grown and cared for by Palmerston North City Council staff at the trial grounds, sited inside the Dugald MacKenzie Rose Garden in Victoria Esplanade.
Most of the roses are new to New Zealand and represent the latest rose industry trends.
“Rose breeders worldwide are breeding roses with more flowers and improved disease tolerance, plus many varieties have more fragrant blooms than ever before,” says John Ford, Chairman of the Trial Grounds Committee.
A panel of 20 judges evaluate the roses over two years, on characteristics including colour, fragrance, health, flower form and novelty.
Certificates of Merit are awarded to roses which accumulate 70 points or more and are available commercially. Special awards are given for roses which have scored highly for fragrance or novelty: the June Hocking Fragrance Award and the Nola Simpson Novelty Award, named after well-known local rosarians, who each gave over 30 years’ service to the trial grounds.
Any winning rose bred by a New Zealand amateur breeder is eligible for the Silver Star of the City of Palmerston North.
The Gold Star of the South Pacific Award is presented annually to the top rose. Ford says the award gives the winning rose’s breeder and agent instant recognition, and helps when marketing it throughout New Zealand.
“The ongoing awards reflect the reputation of the city and the Victoria Esplanade as an internationally recognised rose growing area,” says Ford. “The Manawatu Rose Society is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year with a number of activities, including its Rose and Flower Show at the Community Leisure Centre on 25 and 26 November.”
Past Chairman of the Trials Committee Peter Elliott and Mayor Grant Smith will present the four categories of awards at 3.30pm on Sunday 26 November, at the gazebo in the Dugald MacKenzie Rose Garden.