Rose Week–EarthKind Roses

The Northeastern Trial Garden for EarthKind™ Roses is at the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden.  I have not visited but I have followed it with interest in print and on-line.

To back up a bit: EarthKind™ roses are not any particular “brand” of rose.  Rather they are roses already in cultivation that have been identified through trials as being particularly sustainable, shall we say–they need less irrigation than traditional roses and they need no applications of fertilizer or pesticides beyond compost at planting time (if you could call that fertilizer, really).

The initial trials were done at Texas A&M University and now regional trials are being done throughout the country.  The Northeast trial in being done at the New York Botanical Garden.

While many of us in the Northeast will feel that a zone 6 garden is a completely inadequate place to test roses (why, for example, didn’t they choose the Coastal Maine Botanic Garden?  That would have been a true northeastern test?!) Perhaps those further north than zone 5 don’t really attempt to grow roses and so this is perhaps a fairly representative place?  I’m not entirely sure.

The other thought is that the Peggy Rockefeller Garden has already gone organic because of stringent rules in place in New York concerning pesticides.  So perhaps that is the reason that garden was chosen over others–because they knew that the principles of no supplemental pesticides or fertilizers would be adhered to already.

In any event, the names of the Earthkind™ roses contain many “easy-care” roses that many gardeners would already know (and there is a list at the Garden’s web site for those interested)  Knockout™ is of course on the list, as well as its siblings, Blushing , Pink, Sunny and Double Knockout™.  That makes 5 of the 7 possible Knockout™ varieties.  Proven Winner’s entry Home Run™ is there as well.  Some other names you might recognize are Carefree Wonder, Belinda’s Dream, Seafoam, and the china rose, mutabilis.  There are 33 roses in all, with the Knockout™ family making up almost 1/6 of the list!  Pretty impressive.

In my garden, I have Knockout™, Pink Knockout™ and Double Knockout™.  I think the original is still my favorite.  It’s done the best for me and somehow, those bright single flowers against the darker foliage are a classic.  It’s hard to argue with success–unless of course they could breed in some fragrance.

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