Rose season in review 


It has been a busy few weeks for those in the world of roses with the main bloom season across much of the country. The weather has been up and down at times with wind, rain and hail all affecting the roses but there has been a great display of bloom around the country.

November is the main flowering month for much of the country with the lower South Island continuing into December. It is a busy time of the year for rose enthusiasts with rose shows and trials to attend, all within a few weeks.

Hamilton was the centre of much attention in mid-November with the New Zealand Rose of the Year competition and the National Rose Show, hosted by the Waikato Rose Society taking place at the award-winning Hamilton Gardens.

Dinky Pinky
Dinky Pinky

Any National Rose Show held in the Waikato is always of a high standard and this year’s one was no exception with some fantastic blooms on show. In large roses, the Champion of Champions went to a small stem of ‘Reflections’ and was exhibited by Sheree Gare of the Waikato Rose Society. In the miniature type roses, Irene Taylor, also from the Waikato Rose Society won the Champion of Champions award with a fully open bloom of ‘Dinky Pinky’. In the special section classes, Janice Walker from the Northland Rose Society winning the award for the best exhibit overall with an exhibit in the class ‘Vertically Challenged’.

The Rogers Rose Garden was also looking stunning for visitors to the Pacific Rose Bowl Festival who judged the roses on how they looked during the festival. These visitors included local school children who select their favourite rose and VIP’s on the final day had their say before the winners were announced.

So what were the winners? The winner of the 2019 New Zealand Rose of the Year along with the Best Shrub rose, and the Best New Zealand bred rose went to ‘Everlasting Hope’ bred by Rob Somerfield. This tall, spreading shrub rose has largish blooms of soft to medium pink and are scented. Named for Postnatal Depression Canterbury. Rob Somerfield also won Best Hybrid Tea with the pink edged white ‘Diamond Design’, and the best floribunda and most fragrant rose went to ‘Skyla Rose’, a medium pink with an old fashioned appearance. This has been named to celebrate the life Skyla Rose Keating who passed away aged 7 after suffering brain cancer.

Skyla Rose
Skyla Rose

The Best Climbing Rose went to ‘Wollerton Old Hall’ bred by David Austin of England. A number of the newer Austin varieties can be trained as a climber, and this variety formed a great display with blooms opening apricot and turning cream as they age. There is a strong scent to enjoy as well.

Local school children selected ‘Midsummer’ from Tantau of Germany as their choice. The upright, healthy growing plant has blooms of orange with a yellow reverse and has a strong, fruity scent.

At the time of writing, the awards from the New Zealand Rose Society trials in Palmerston North had yet to be presented, but they will be mentioned in my January column.

Well, that’s it for 2019, I would like to wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2020.


In the Rose Garden for December

  • Enjoy the blooms, either in the garden or bring a bunch inside. Remember to take a bucket of water to the roses (not the other way around) and recut stems underwater.
  • Dehead, dehead, dehead. Not only does it keep the garden tidy, but it also helps to encourage more blooms to be produced.
  • Water if the weather remains dry. Lack of water causes plants to get stressed and become susceptible to disease. When watering, one good deep soaking at the roots is better than a quick, light flick with the hose.
  • Keep the weeds at bay.
  • If you are on holiday, visit one of the many fine public rose gardens around the country and see what is looking good.

By Hayden Foulds

Hayden also serves as Deputy Chairman of the World Federation of Rose Societies Rose Trials Committee amongst other rose endeavours. 

Read more from Hayden here.