Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
The colder months can be a trying time for rose lovers as the plants in our gardens are dormant this time of the year. We can daydream of the summer past when these were in full bloom. Daydreaming is fine, but it can get boring. To help pass the time until we can be back out in our cutting gardens, here is a preview of some new award winning roses that make wonderful cut flowers.
The All-America Rose Selections (AARS) group has announced its winners for 2006. These should be available at garden centers and in catalogs as well as online during the late winter and early spring months.
AARS judges evaluated these winners carefully for 15 different factors. Of the utmost importance to those with cutting gardens is disease resistance and winter hardiness. Other factors of interest to floral designers include flower form, fragrance, plant vigor, and flowering effect. These four winners have undergone extensive testing for at least two years throughout the U.S. in twenty test gardens.
Julia Child is no longer with us. But her namesake is one of the 2006 AARS winners. She chose the plant that bears her name. One of the most intriguing things about this flower is its licorice-like scent. This floribunda bears gorgeous clusters of very full, butter-gold blooms that would be perfect for bud vases. Very freely flowering, the Julia Child rose has an old-fashioned, English-like charm. These are over three inches across. The bushy, rounded plant has attractive, shiny, dark green leaves that are unblemished by the usual rose diseases.
When you are looking for an unusually colored rose, you won’t go wrong with Wild Blue Yonder rose. Like the Julia Child Rose, this has a wonderful fragrance. This one combines hints of rose with sweet citrus. The shape, form, and color of Wild Blue Yonder flowers are a sight to behold. It presents layers of petals in rich, shimmering wine-purple and lavender. In these flowers, each single petal is just perfect. These are large, and have a wavy appearance. The most notable thing about this flower is its unusual color. In fact, Wild Blue Yonder is the very first of the lavender roses to be designated as an AARS winner since 1984. These blossoms are over 4˝ inches across, and have up to 30 petals.
Rainbow Sorbet rose will have so many uses in floral design that it would be a shame not to include it in the cutting garden. This everblooming floribunda is a delightful mix of yellow and delicate pink. Along the edges of the wavy petals is a rim of medium pink that surrounds the pale yellow. These blooms are up to 3˝ inches in diameter, and contain 18 petals or more. Pointed in bud, the blossoms are cup-like. This very reliable plant grows to five feet tall, and produces very long-stemmed flowers. It has superior winter hardiness, and exhibits disease resistance as well. The dark green foliage is shiny.
Among the AARS winners for 2006 is hybrid tea Tahitian Sunset rose. This one is most noted for its perfectly formed high-centered yellow-orange buds. When these open, they reveal a sensation of delicate pink that is close to that of an apricot or peach. This beautifully offsets the yellow highlights seen in the petals at the base. This is one of the best roses for cut flowers. The stems are uniformly over a foot long. Reaching five to six inches across, these flowers contain around 30 petals. This disease resistant plant has shiny foliage.