Lit­tle Miss Per­fect winner for Rob

Waikato News - - NEWS - Peter Tif­fany

Rob Somer­field is ac­knowl­edged as prob­a­bly New Zealand’s lead­ing rose breeder, sec­ond only to Dr Sam McGredy, the mov­ing force be­hind es­tab­lish­ing the an­nual Pa­cific Rose Bowl Fes­ti­val at Rogers Rose Gar­den in Hamil­ton Gar­dens.

Rob de­scribes what he does as the best job in the world, and in his 35 years as a breeder he has won much praise, and many awards and tro­phies for the flow­ers he cre­ates at the nurs­ery — Glenavon Roses — he and his wife Linda es­tab­lished at Te Puna near Tau­ranga.

Some awards he has won mul­ti­ple times, in­clud­ing the New Zealand Rose of Year ti­tle he won on Novem­ber 11 for the fifth time with a coral pink beauty called Lit­tle Miss Per­fect.

One award he loves win­ning more than most oth­ers is the Chil­dren’s Choice Award at the Pa­cific Rose Fes­ti­val in Hamil­ton. He won it again this year with Straw­berry Blonde — a rose with golden apri­cot blooms.

Like all the cat­e­gories in the New Zealand Rose of the Year Tri­als, the Chil­dren’s Choice is de­cided by votes from the pub­lic — in­clud­ing school groups — who come to see the more than 80 dif­fer­ent roses at the Rogers Rose Gar­den.

“The Chil­dren’s Choice is an im­por­tant award,” says Rob. The chil­dren “like what they like” and they are the rose grow­ers — and buy­ers — of the fu­ture, he says.

“In fact, these rose tri­als are most im­por­tant to us as breed­ers be­cause the winners are de­cided by pub­lic votes.

“It does mean that peo­ple are buy­ing, plant­ing — and en­joy­ing roses,” Rob says.

In Hamil­ton, Straw­berry Blonde also won the Best New Zealand Raised Rose ti­tle and his Rose of the Year — Lit­tle Miss Per­fect — was also named Best Flori­bunda Rose.

Rob says Straw­berry Blonde is named af­ter his wife Linda’s nana in Eng­land.

“I never met her. She passed away be­fore I was able to.

“My wife said her hair colour used to be straw­berry blonde and I thought that sounds like it should be the name of a new rose,” says Rob.

Of­fi­cially the New Zealand Rose So­ci­ety de­scribes Straw­berry Blonde as “a flori­bunda with masses of golden apri­cot blooms that soften with age. It has good scent and like other Somer­field va­ri­eties, it has a great habit, medium in growth with a slightly spread­ing habit. The dark green fo­liage is very healthy. It is a welcome ad­di­tion to the apri­cot shades.”

Lit­tle Miss Per­fect is “a low grow­ing flori­bunda with masses of coral pink blooms that smother the bush. Lit­tle scent. Very com­pact grower so ideal for pots and smaller gar­dens. Healthy with dark green fo­liage.”

All of this year’s winners and all the other en­tries — a to­tal of 82 roses — are still look­ing great at the Rogers Rose Gar­dens and are well worth a visit. En­try is free.

These rose tri­als are most im­por­tant to us as breed­ers be­cause the winners are de­cided by pub­lic votes. It does mean that peo­ple are buy­ing, plant­ing — and en­joy­ing roses. Rob Somer­field

Photo / Peter Tif­fany

Rose breeder Rob Somer­field gets help from wife Linda and daugh­ter Amanda to carry the many awards he re­ceived on Sun­day, in­clud­ing the Pa­cific Rose Bowl.

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