Leading Manawatū rose grower and breeder John Ford has been honored with the New Zealand Rose Society’s Frank Penn Memorial Award. The top award is presented each year to recognize outstanding service to a local rose society.
Ford has been a rose enthusiast for 44 years since he was roped in when he was a horticulture student at Massey University to help tend his aunt’s large rose garden. That aunt was well-known New Zealand rose guru Nola Simpson, who was famous, amongst other achievements, for breeding the popular “Hot Chocolate” brown rose.
His experience helping her out was the start of a life-long delight in breeding and growing new blooms. Ford joined the Manawatū Rose Society in 1980, and he and his wife, Chris, were made life members in 2012.
He has served many years on the local committee, including two stints as president, and chairs the International Rose Trial Ground committee, which hosts the annual awards for new roses grown at the Dugald McKenzie rose gardens in the Victoria Esplanade.
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