Over the past two years 40 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. 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,” says John Ford, Chairman of the Trial Ground Committee.
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.
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. John 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,” says John.
“Next year sees the rose trials celebrate 50 years and planning is well underway for celebrations, including hosting the National Rose Show, the launch of a new rose named for Palmerston North, and the publication of a book on the rose trials.”
The winning roses will be announced by John Ford and Mayor Grant Smith at the gazebo in the Dugald Mackenzie Rose Gardens at 3.30pm on Sunday 1 December.