The only rose selected as a 2013 AARS winner is Francis Meilland. This rose is named to commemorate the centenary of Francis Meilland’s birth and to honor the Conard-Pyle Company’s historic relationship with Meilland International, the breeder behind the historic Peace rose and, most recently, the Drift series of groundcover roses.
Francis Meilland is the first hybrid tea rose to win under no-spray conditions. AARS members recently voted to stop all fungicidal spraying of test roses, ensuring that the winners can perform without any added chemicals.
Francis Meilland is a tall hybrid tea rose with a very large bloom, good exhibition form and strong fragrance. It is also a multiple-award-winner in Europe.
Unfortunately, after this year, the AARS program will be discontinued. We have good news, however, with the advent of a new national rose evaluation program.
We also are fortunate that Louisiana has been selected as a test location. If roses can grow in the heat and humidity and disease-plagued growing conditions in south Louisiana, they can grow anywhere. The LSU AgCenter’s Burden Center in Baton Rouge is one of 12 gardens nationally included in the inaugural year of this new rose-testing program.
The American Garden Rose Selections strives to “bring you great roses you can grow where you live!” The program’s mission statement is “to recognize and recommend the best garden-worthy rose varieties for the various regions of the U.S. through testing and to provide objective and reliable information to the general public.”
The new program will be heavily weighed toward disease resistance in the evaluation process. In addition, roses will be evaluated for vigor, foliage attractiveness, plant habit, flowering effect and bloom, re-bloom habit, bloom form and attractiveness, bloom-aging quality, fragrance, cold and heat hardiness and general impression.
AGRS awards will include American Garden Rose Selections Regional Choice Awards and the American Garden Rose Selections Fragrance Awards. These awards will debut in 2017.
With the last of the All-America Rose Selections being awarded in 2013, this new program is coming at a vital time to continue rose evaluations across the country. The LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station has conducted much rose research, including evaluations of Kordes roses, studies on new potential releases from the Conard-Pyle Company and much more.
You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by viewing the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website at www.lsuagcenter.com/hammond. Also, like us on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com and typing Hammond Research Station in the search box. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals.