Tea rose judged top NZ bloom

19:08, Nov 11 2012
Pacific Rose Bowl Festival
ROSY TIME: Flower enthusiasts relax in Hamilton Gardens’ Rose Garden during the Pacific Rose Bowl Festival yesterday.

Even for a flower renowned for its beautiful scent, it's fair to say the blooms of Sam McGredy's hybrid tea rose have rarely smelt sweeter.

After four days of judging, Dr McGredy's rose My Girl was yesterday named New Zealand Rose of the Year at the Pacific Rose Bowl Festival.

The rose features exquisite lilac-pink blooms.

The festival, now in its 11th year, was held in the Rogers' Rose Garden at Hamilton Gardens and attracted 85 entries.

Festival director Hamish Nathan said up to 5000 people attended the event, with visitors encouraged to vote for their five favourite roses.

People were also encouraged to judge the roses "as they look today", not how they may look at some other time. "This year we've had a lot of gardening clubs from Auckland attend as well as visitors from Australia and America. One American visitor, commenting on the Hamilton Gardens, said it was impossible to appreciate it all in only a day."


To be eligible for judging a rose had to be available to the public for sale.

Each rose is planted in a trial bed and has a year to get established. It then has at least five years to compete.

Pacific Rose Bowl Festival trust chairwoman Eileen Wilcox said the festival was one of four Rose Bowl trials held around the Pacific rim and brought together some of the world's best rose breeders.

She said people often preferred roses with a strong perfume or "high health".

"If you're a breeder it's very difficult to introduce both characteristics into a rose. Currently there's a lot more strong yellow roses coming on to the market, whereas traditionally yellow roses have never been that strong or healthy.

"When it comes to voting, school children love bright colours and can be influenced by names. Men tend to go for darker colours, like red roses, and women love softer colours like pinks and apricots."

Meanwhile, the Waikato Rose Society hosted the Daltons Waikato Spring Show at the Hamilton Gardens pavilion during the weekend.

This year's theme was Olympiad of Roses with Sheree Gare's pale lemon miniature Luis Desomero judged champion of champions.

Waikato Rose Society president Janet Pike said roses appealed to people of all ages.