Palmy rose to the occasion: Show set to bloom
Palmerston North will be the centre of attention for rose enthusiasts at the weekend, with two events forming part of the 150th celebrations for the city and 50th-anniversary celebrations for the international rose trials. Covid has, however, meant the National Rose Show has been downgraded to a Regional Rose Show, which will still be held at the Conference & Function Centre on Saturday and Sunday. This will also incorporate the Floral Art Designer of the Year event. “Despite a number of rose enthusiasts unable to travel, we will still have a fantastic display for the people of Palmerston North and beyond to enjoy,” says Hayden Foulds, president of the Manawatu¯ and New Zealand Rose Societies. The new rose Pride of Palmy, bred by Rob Somerfield, will be available in limited numbers at the show. This yellow hybrid tea (pictured) was named for the 50th anniversary of the international rose trials in the city. On Sunday, attention will turn to the international rose trials in Victoria Esplanade with the presentation of awards from the latest trial. 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. 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 . . . ” trial ground committee chairman John Ford says. The roses are evaluated by 20 judges on characteristics such as colour, fragrance, health, flower form and novelty over two years. Certificates of merit are given to roses that accumulate 70 or more points and are available commercially, with special awards made for roses that have scored highly for fragrance or novelty. The Silver Star of the City of Palmerston North is 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 trial grounds. This award gives the winning rose’s breeder and agent instant recognition and will help market it throughout New Zealand, Ford says. “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 Ford and Mayor Grant Smith at the gazebo in the Dugald Mackenzie Rose Gardens on Sunday at 2pm.