NZ: Rose breeder Rob Somerfield to speak at Otago Rose Society's meeting

New Zealand rose breeder Rob Somerfield is to speak in Dunedin next week. Gillian Vine reports.

Speaking at the Otago Rose Society's meeting next Wednesday is a first for rose breeder Rob Somerfield, so the society is expecting a strong turnout to hear the Tauranga-based rosarian.

When he saw a tree with Delicious and Golden Delicious growing on it, Mr Somerfield was 8 or 9 and "totally mesmerised". He can still visualise that tree, which immediately had him hooked on the concept of grafting.

That was, he said, about 50 years ago and coincided with his falling in love with a highly perfumed rose growing by his grandfather's cowshed.

He put the two passions together and began breeding roses in 1983.

At that time, he felt roses were falling in popularity because they were seen as being "so much work", requiring regular spraying to grow adequately, as they lacked the vigour to perform unaided.

"I decided 30-odd years ago that health was the most important [attribute]," he said.

Click here to read the complete article at Otago Daily Times. 

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