Monday, October 31, 2011

Outstanding Roses from the Test Gardens

Roses: the beautiful, easy to grow, weather hardy, insect tough, queen of flowers!
Yes, it's true, if you choose the right rose.  And here is the garden proof.

I took these photos on October 25, in Farmers Branch, the Dallas suburb where The National EarthKind® Rose Gardens and Display Gardens are located. 
I went to see if anything had survived our summer of serious drought and sweltering temperatures.

I was amazed!  Look at these blooms!
These test roses have never been fertilized, sprayed or pruned (unless they outgrew their allotted 8' x 9' foot space).  The grass was killed off, the ground was tilled and in they went.  They were planted four years ago as an environmental horticulture research project, headed Dr. Steve George of Texas AgriLife.  There are three giant plots, each holding the same collection of 100 different rose cultivars selected for their willingness to persevere in different soil types and under different climatic conditions.  Four countries, seven universities and 20 states are participating.
Roses of every type and color survived 71 days of temperatures topping 100 degrees.  And they were only watered three times!  I selected just a few to share today - there were so many beauties it really was hard to choose.

Here's Beau in front of Belinda's Dream.  This proven performer was the first rose to be given the Earth-Kind® designation.  It was chosen to anchor each isle of the test gardens, so there were multiple examples of its magnificence.  It's a shrub rose, but it looks like a vigorous hybrid tea with very double 4" wide blossoms of medium pink.

All the plants are very clearly marked, so it is easy select and remember favorites. 
As you can see from the marker, this is the rose Julia Child.  Perhaps Ms. Child selected this cultivar to be her namesake because of its buttery color!  Every example of this plant looked terrific: round and bushy, standing about four by four, covered with blossoms & lots of very glossy green leaves.
Julia Child has a lovely scent.  This might just be the best choice for anyone hoping to find "a yellow rose of Texas" for their garden.  I know I want one.

This orange-red beauty is Tropicana, a tea rose reaching to six feet, deliciously scented with long stems perfect for cutting.  I didn't think I would ever be seduced by a tea rose (often such fussy things), but I may have to have this one for the lake, too!
And what's happening at the lake?

We have walls starting to go up!  And the drilling for the geothermal system has started.

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea roses could survive in such harsh conditions! That makes me think they aren't too finicky, and so a possibility for a novice gardener like me. :)