Pandemic cannot stop NZ roses from blooming

The double celebration for rose enthusiasts in Palmerston North this weekend has been pruned back while Covid-19 restrictions keep many would-be participants at home. Saturday’s planned national Rose Show coinciding with the city’s 150th anniversary has been pared back to a regional show, while attendance at the 50th anniversary of the Esplanade’s international rose trial winner presentations is likely to be reduced.

The rose show at the conference and function center will incorporate the floral art designer of the year event. Manawatū and New Zealand Rose Societies president Hayden Foulds said, although some rose enthusiasts would be unable to travel, people in Palmerston North would still be able to enjoy the displays.

'Pride of Palmy', a yellow hybrid tea rose bred by Rob Somerfield for the trials’ anniversary, would be on sale in limited numbers at the show. 

The new roses are tended by Palmerston North City Council staff during the two-year trials and are visited by a panel of 20 judges at regular intervals to assess color, fragrance, health, flower form, and novelty value.

Chairman of the trial ground committee John Ford said the trial roses represented some of 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 than ever before.”

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