NZ: "Champion rose is an eye-popping surprise"

Irish rose breeder David Kenny has won top honors in the New Zealand Rose Society international rose trial ground awards for a rather different kind of rose. His winning new rose, grown and judged at the Esplanade gardens in Palmerston North over the last two years, is FLORANZA Eye Popping, one of an increasingly popular number of variants of the Middle Eastern Persika rose. It has won the Gold Star of the South Pacific for the highest-scoring new rose, and the Nola Simpson Novelty Award for the most novel rose in the trials.

Kenny also picked up a certificate of merit for his red shrub rose Pixy Lucky Stars, whose buds were only just starting to show glimpses of color at the trial grounds on the awards weekend.

His New Zealand agent Janette Barnett, from Amoré Roses in Hamilton, was in Palmerston North to collect the awards on his behalf. Manawatū and New Zealand Rose Societies president Hayden Foulds said 'Eye Popping' appealed to the judges because it was different, and flowered prolifically. It has been judged by a team of 20 during the last two years, assessing its health and vigor, form, novelty value, and fragrance.

The awards were in their 51st year this year, and ran alongside the regional rose show, scaled back from what was planned to be a national show, because of Covid-19 restrictions. The awards were presented on Sunday afternoon.

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