Somerfield wins sixth Pacific Rose Bowl

By Peter Tiffany, Hamilton News

Leading New Zealand rose breeder and grower Rob Somerfield has again cleaned up at the New Zealand Rose of the Year awards, winning the Pacific Rose Bowl for the sixth time and claiming most of the other top 2019 awards.

The Pacific Rose Bowl for the New Zealand Rose of the Year Trial winner went to his new rose Everlasting Hope. It also won the trophy for Best New Zealand Raised Rose as well as the prize for Best Shrub Rose. Everlasting Hope was bred by Rob at his base near Tauranga and entered by his nursery Glenavon Roses.

Rob also won Best Hybrid Tea Rose with Diamond Design and his Skyla Rose won two awards — Most Fragrant Rose, and Best Floribunda Rose.

Other winners in the annual rose trials were: Best Climbing Rose — Woolerton Old Hall, bred by David Austin (England) and entered by Tasman Bay Roses; Children's Choice Award — Midsummer, bred by Tantau (Germany), entered by Tasman Bay Roses.

Rob has been breeding roses in Tauranga for 36 years, releasing almost 50 roses, including the purple Dame Te Ata Rose presented to Maori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu before her death in August 2006. The breeding process can take more than 10 years and currently Rob has a rose crop of 15,000 plants at about 20cm high of which only about 800 will be selected for further trialling.

"If I can get two to three marketable roses in 10 years time I would be very happy," says Rob.

The Pacific Rose Bowl Festival takes place under the Pacific Accord of Friendship initiated by legendary New Zealand rose breeder the late Dr Sam McGredy with the common objective of promoting roses worldwide. The annual rose trials are held at the Rogers Rose Garden at Hamilton Gardens.

Unlike most other rose competitions around the world which are judged by experts, the New Zealand Rose of the Year has been judged by the public since 2004.

All of this year's festival roses and those from previous years are on display at Rogers Rose Garden at Hamilton Gardens. It is open seven days a week. Take the family and take a picnic.



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