For 10 triumphant breeders, everything's coming up roses
Experts from around the world cultivate Rose Week success
The sweet scent of success was in the air as the winners of Belfast's world famous Rose Week were announced.
Ten winners from across the globe stepped up to collect their awards yesterday as their lovingly cultivated roses won them worldwide recognition.
The International Rose Trials were taking place as part of Belfast's Rose Week, which concludes this Sunday.
Judges from England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands have spent the past week nosing around the rose gardens at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, where the competition flowers are on display.
It was a difficult decision as the gardens are blooming with roses, looking all the more beautiful in the summer sunshine.
But yesterday the lucky varieties were announced - among them were winners from the USA, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
Among the Northern Ireland winners, sixth generation rose breeder Colin Dickson said he was "absolutely delighted" to pick up his prize.
His family have reached their 175th anniversary of breeding roses and the Rebecca Mary variety, which he won the award for, was specially commissioned by an English doctor for his wife's 40th birthday.
Mr Dickson said his client would be happy to see his variety win such a prize.
Speaking about the rose - which won the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Award for the best cluster flowered variety - he said: "It's a slightly late flowering rose, so it was quite a surprise to win, although it is a great rose.
"We're absolutely delighted, and delighted for the family as well."
Belfast Lord Mayor Niall O Donnghaile said this year's Rose Week had been "better than ever".
"It's great to see people of all ages taking advantage of one of our premier parks," he said.
"People from all over the world come to enjoy our fabulous rose garden, and I know the international judges were very impressed by the high standard."
Belfast Rose Week was first established in 1975 as a way to involve the public in the roses at the Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park. It was particularly aimed at families and children. Music and entertainment events were used to promote it. The rose trials were set up by rose breeder Sam McGredy in 1966, in conjunction with the Rose Society of Northern Ireland which supplies the judges. The local judges contribute 80% of the votes cast, and the remaining 20% is decided by international judges.