Rose Hamilton Gardens was launched at the Pacific Rose Bowl Festival this week. Dr Sam McGredy says the rose will be his best and his last, a fitting swansong for the world’s most renowned breeder.
Top-level pedigree is something Rose Hamilton Gardens shares with its creator. McGredy is the fourth generation of the Sam McGredy dynasty, breeders of some of the world's most popular roses since 1880. Rose Hamilton Gardens is a direct descendent of Peace, the world’s most popular rose, and a sport of Paddy Stevens, New Zealand’s most popular rose.
A sport is a part of a plant such as a shoot that is different from its parent and can be propagated to produce a totally new plant. Slightly fragranced, Rose Hamilton Gardens is an apricot and cream colour blend – completely different to the salmon bronze of Paddy Stevens.
Paddy Stevens is another favourite of McGredy and sports from grafted plants are very rare. When one appeared in the Paddy Stevens planting at Hamilton Gardens, McGredy says he knew the new breed should be called Rose Hamilton Gardens.
While his grandfather was deservedly known as the Irish rose wizard, McGredy says the chances of crossing one rose with another and getting something special are “not magical…The chance is one in eight million.” Shoots are rare in themselves but “in forty years I have only ever seen 3 viable breeds come of it “, he says.
Hamilton Gardens Director Peter Sergel says, “very few roses are ever named after places or gardens. We are achieving great things at Hamilton Gardens. The paradise gardens provide a unique and amazing experience that is attracting international attention and inspiring great local pride. It is deservedly the Waikato’s most popular tourist destination and Rose Hamilton Gardens can only build that. Sam McGredy has honoured us.”
Rose Hamilton Gardens is already being planted at botanical gardens throughout the country.