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Jun 19 • 2013 • AmericanGardenOakRoseRose NewsSmellTornadoTreesroses

Rose News From Around The World


American Rose Center in the USA still cleaning up after May tornado.

The Gardens of the American Rose Centre in Shreveport will reopen later this month. The center lost 37 trees and sustained roof damage to all its buildings when an EF-1 tornado struck on the afternoon of May 16.

The headquarters of the American Rose Society is humming these days with the sound of chainsaws from tree removal contractors taking down the mostly pine and mature oak trees. Executive director Jeff Ware said tornado warnings are common, but this one was different. The staff huddled in their administrative building away from windows.

“There really wasn’t time to be frightened. We just did what needed to be done for safety. Then, we peeked outside and it was a different world," Ware said, during a recent interview at his office that was without power for a week. "The ground was covered in white hail. The temperature changed so quickly because of the a hail on the ground that it produced a fog. The whole area in the garden was covered in a dense fog. It looked like we were on another planet.”

This time of year, you’d normally smell the roses when you drive into the centre even with windows up, but that’s no longer the case. Ware said the severe storm took a toll on the rose bushes with winds that clocked about 100 miles per hour and dime-sized hail.

“Many of the roses were just stripped of leaves and blooms, and basically they’re stocks now. We expect most of them to come back, but we’re watching about 1,000 rose [bushes] that may eventually have to be replaced," Ware said.

The loss of trees will bring more light into the American Rose Centre, which will benefit the roses. The American Rose Centre has set aside a special account to help pay for the damage called "restoration."

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.



Jun 03 • 2012 • 2013AllAmericanFrancisGardenMeillandMeitroniRoseRose NewsSelection

Rose News From Around The World


And the Winner is...

Francis Meilland

This stunning new rose won the hearts of judges to become the

2013 All-America Rose Selection.

Roses grown in the AARS test gardens are evaluated on a number of criteria, including:
  • Novelty
  • Form of      buds and open blooms
  • Color      throughout the blooming cycle
  • Aging      quality
  • Flowering      effect
  • Fragrance
  • Stem/cluster      form
  • Plant      habit
  • Vigor
  • Foliage
  • Disease      resistance
  • Repeat      bloom quality

Make it an even 10: Rosa 'Meitroni', known in the trade as Francis Meilland (PP 19970), has become the tenth rose in All-America Rose Selections' annual competition to stand alone. In more than 70 years of rigorous evaluations, only nine before Frances Meilland have been solo winners. (Last year's winner, Sunshine Daydream, was the most recent soloist.)

Named this month to be the 2013 All-America Rose Selection, this Meilland International-bred beauty is a breathtaking hybrid tea introduced by Star Roses®/The Conard-Pyle Co. The large, pointed bud debuts white, delicately suffused with pearl pink. Upon opening, each large bloom is shell pink, which turns white as the flower ages. Sporting up to 60 to 65 petals and reaching a 4-inch diameter, this proud hybrid tea stands high-centered and cuplike on strong, upright stems. Plants reach 6 to 6½ feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Framed by very dark green, semi-glossy foliage, Francis Meilland blooms continuously throughout the season and exudes a robust fragrance described as fruity and citrusy. Disease tolerance is excellent for the type.

Francis Meilland is available through Conard-Pyle.

About the trials

Each AARS winning rose must excel in an extensive, two-year trial program where it's judged on everything from rose disease resistance to flower production, color and fragrance. There are 15 test gardens located throughout the U.S., providing exposure to all climate zones and weather conditions. Average care-such as that given in a typical home garden-is provided, so that each rose's performance can reflect "real world" conditions. In fact, AARS members recently elected to discontinue fungicidal sprays in order to more accurately replicate "normal" care.

For more information about the program, visit

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.



May 17 • 2012 • AmericanEasyMangoOrangePeachRoseThe World's Best Rosesfloribunda



Floribunda 2008 3ft-4ft Although this superb rose was bred in the UK it has really taken the USA by storm.

Each year they choose a few roses for their All American Rose Award but in 2010 there was only one winner, so it looks something special.

Quite big for a  floribunda it produces masses of huge intensely ruffled blooms of mango orange suffusing to pink.

The colour is very difficult to describe but peach, mango, pink and orange are all there to make quite a confectionary of colours.

It is even difficult to catch the colour on film but the picture featured is probably the best we can find for the moment.

As you would expect from a rose with such a top award it flowers all season, it is very healthy, plus the bonus of a lovely perfume.

It looks a sure fire winner in the UK

 Bred by Harkness Roses. UK

Gold Standard Rose Trials

The Gold Standard Trials are the result of a joint initiative between professional rose breeders represented by BARB (British Association of Rose Breeders) and NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural Botany). Unlike some rose trials, breeders pay a fee for each rose variety submitted to the Gold Standard trials, independently managed by NIAB at their Cambridge headquarters.

Based on cumulative information from invited independent judges throughout the two year period of the trial, the Gold Standard is awarded to worthy varieties. Health, floriferousness, scent and commercial appeal are all considered key factors. The first trial was planted in 2004 (and judged during 2005 and 2006) with the results confirmed in autumn 2006. The second trial was concluded in autumn 2007 with a further seven roses joining the original ‘magnificent seven’ to give a total of fourteen varieties awarded ‘Gold Standard’ status. The trial that concluded in autumn 2009 produced a further thirteen Gold Standard roses. The completion in 2010 of the latest trial also adds a further thirteen roses to the ‘Gold Standard Hall of Fame’ making a total to date of 51Gold Standard roses. With the trials set to continue no doubt more roses will receive this accolade in the future.

Other rose trials conducted to establish the performance of new, and in some cases established, rose varieties include the International Merit Trials at the Royal National Rose Society in St Albans, the Glasgow International Trials at Tollcross Park, the Pencoed Trials in Wales, the City of Belfast International Rose Trials and, now in its 28th year, the Rose of the Year trials.

The Gold Standard roses can be viewed at Roath Park, Cardiff and at Borde Hill Garden, Haywards Heath, West Sussex.

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.



Nov 26 • 2011 • All American Rose SelectionsFlowersParkPruningRosarianRose GardenRose News

Rose News From Around The World

San Jose USA 

The San Jose Municipal Rose Garden.  Six years ago, the weeds were higher than the flowers and the garden was on "rose probation." Legions of volunteers helped restore it.

Years of budget cuts and municipal neglect had taken their toll on the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, the horticultural heart of the Silicon Valley, where generations had graduated from high school, exchanged wedding vows or simply found a little bit of sweet-smelling solitude. That was 2007 and weeds had grown as high as the tree roses. Herbicide used to whack them back had instead decimated the flowers, the Double Delights and Queen Elizabeth’s.    Beds first planted during the Great Depression were cracked and dry. Do something, said the rose police (aka the Public Garden Committee of a group called All-America Rose Selections) or pay the price. To any rosarian worth his pruning shears, the threat could not be ignored. So Terry Reilly, an electron microscopist who retired at 38, and then-neighbour Beverly Rose Hopper (her real name) sprang into action. Reilly viewed the garden's rescue as nothing short of a political campaign, his role akin to a Karl Rove of the botanical set. Guerrilla marketing, robo-calls, a volunteer, Reilly figured, could save a garden dedicated to America's national flower, a bloom that's "there in times of sorrow. It's there in times of joy…. People get tattoos of roses. They don't get tattoos of petunias."

Reilly holsters his rose clippers, whips out his iPad and slides his finger across the shiny screen, showing picture after picture of a regional treasure mired in deep decline. There's the Peace rose, smuggled in from occupied France during World War II, its branches brown and bare. Dream Come True is a stunted little nightmare. Dried weeds billow over the 5 1/2-acre park like gray cotton candy. Battered by the dot-com bust and the Great Recession, San Jose has slashed its budget every year for the last decade, eliminating 2,054 positions and cutting $680 million in all. There is no relief in sight. The rose garden was an early victim of the meltdown, in such disrepair by 2007 — when only 20% of the bushes had been pruned — that its neighbours complained to their new city councilman, Pierluigi Oliverio. In his first month in office, Oliverio held a news conference in the dishevelled park, calling on the city to outsource its maintenance as a money-saving test. Neighbours cheered, unions griped and the City Council gave the proposal a thumbs-down. So Reilly and Hopper stepped in, forming Friends of the San Jose Rose Garden and adopting the park. With Oliverio's help, they persuaded the city to allow volunteers to take on duties it had largely abandoned. Reilly also contacted All-America Rose Selections, a non profit group of rose growers that accredits public rose gardens throughout the country. The organization sends judges to evaluate more than 130 gardens, 17 of them in California. Reilly wanted the evaluations as ammunition in the fight to save the garden. He was stunned when he called. "They said, 'Well, geez, you guys have been on probation for like three years,' " Reilly recounted as he strolled the garden paths. "I said, 'Are you kidding me? Send me those letters.' What had happened was those were being sent to the gardener on duty, and she was basically putting it in her pocket, not letting anyone know." Those letters, he said, were "the smoking gun." :: And so, the campaign began in earnest that September. "Free the Roses!" was the rallying cry. Reilly and Hopper leafleted their neighbourhood, beseeching supporters to weed and deadhead in an effort to spring the blossoms from probation. More than 150 people showed up, and 250 came to the January 2008 pruning, the majority promising to help on a regular basis. Reilly built a website with a PayPal function so people could donate money and indicate an interest in volunteering. He shot video of the industrious volunteers and posted it on YouTube, along with a primer on pruning that stars Hopper and has had more than 90,000 hits to date. He built a database of volunteers, plotted their addresses on Google maps and realized that the neighbourhood problem was generating a far-flung solution; volunteers were travelling for hours to help "send the roses to rehab." By spring of 2008, Reilly and Hopper were calling the army of unpaid gardeners the Master Volunteers. The corps was trained, decked out in bright green vests and deputized to garden whenever the fancy struck them. "My favourite time is in the evening, after a glass or four of wine," said Reilly. "You come on over after dinner … deadhead roses and bask in the beauty." Right before Christmas 2008, the rose garden was sprung from probation. "I have never seen involvement like this," then-rose society President Tom Carruth said at the time. The rose growers were so impressed — and so worried about the health of other public rose gardens — that they wrote up the San Jose example as a national case study. "The parks are considered extraneous expenses in times of economic stress," Carruth said recently. "Almost every public garden in the United States is undergoing that very same pressure." But as the case study pointed out, in San Jose "a dramatic turnaround was achieved and the garden was restored to its former glory." The moral of the story? If San Jose could do it, so can you. Already, gardens in Oakland and New Britain, Conn., have taken up the San Jose playbook. By May 2009, less than a year after getting off probation, the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden was chosen as a rose society test plot, one of 10 in the country where roses of the future are planted, inspected and judged before they go on the market. Eight months later, Reilly and Hopper enticed 935 volunteers out on a bone-chilling January morning for the resurrected garden's winter pruning. The gardeners whacked the 3,500 or so bushes back in about an hour and a half. They called it "pruning at 33 RPM," which in this case meant "roses per minute." But the biggest challenge to Reilly's organizing skills came in 2010, when the rose society announced its first competition for America's best rose garden. Garden supporters would vote electronically from April to July and judges would visit the finalists. Reilly set up Wi-Fi in the garden, staffed a booth with volunteers and laptops, and wandered the paths, shoving his iPad at anyone willing to vote on the spot. He printed 5,000 sandwich wrappers urging diners to vote for the garden and gave them to a local lunch spot. The once-ratty rose garden got more than double the votes of its closest competitor and was named America's Best Rose Garden a year ago. The rose society isn't planning another competition soon, but if it does, Carruth joked, "we'll have to disqualify San Jose, because their volunteer force knows how to vote like mad." :: The garden turned Reilly into a campaigner and Hopper into an advocate for an essential human need — "a place," she said, "that is free and open to all to refresh their spirit and renew their soul." And what about those volunteers, the 3,700 or so rose lovers who have collectively logged more than 31,200 hours, work that acting Parks Director Julie Edmonds-Mares said has "transformed" the garden? Late in the afternoon on a Thursday in autumn, Myles Tobin, who has logged 1,960 hours in the garden, is training the newest recruit. Harry Garcia, with 1,850 hours, saws deadwood from a vast stand of Artistry, a coral hybrid tea rose. A trickle of blood dries on his sharp cheekbone, souvenir of an errant thorn. Girija Satyanarayan has travelled nearly two hours from her home in Milpitas, switching buses in downtown San Jose. She likes to make it her routine four or five times each week. The roses, she said, "adopted me to take care of them." "In the mornings," she said, "when the sun just falls on these aromatic ones, the first whiff of scent is heady. It is just beautiful.    I come to catch that."

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.




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