Foliage: Coming to a nursery near you

Updated Jun 5, 2012

The following is a list of six new award-winning rose and flower varieties designated as some of the best-performing in the U.S. by the All-America Rose Selections association. All-America Rose Selections has been testing roses and releasing its list of award-winning flower varieties since 1933. Each flower endures a rigorous method of testing by the organization that includes a national network of trial grounds and built-in protections against bias.

World’s best new roses for 2007
All-America Rose Selections is a nonprofit association of rose growers dedicated to the introduction and promotion of exceptional roses. For the past 68 years, the AARS trial program has encouraged the rose industry to improve the vitality, disease resistance and beauty of roses for American gardens. Today, the AARS testing program is one of the most successful and highly regarded of its kind in the world.

With a network of 23 official test gardens throughout the U.S., AARS judges evaluate roses during a two-year period based on a number of characteristics, including ease of maintenance and disease resistance, to ensure that the flowers meet their strict requirements (see “Putting roses to the test,” Page 29). Flowers that meet these requirements are designated “AARS Winners” – a distinction that ensures the rose will perform optimally in landscapes nationwide.

In 2007, three roses have received the AARS certification: the “Rainbow Knock Out,” “Moondance” and “Strike It Rich” rose varieties.

‘Rainbow Knock Out’
Even more floriferous and disease-resistant than its famous Knock Out parent, the Rainbow Knock Out rose is bushy and compact with short stems bearing glossy, luxuriant dark-green leaves. Its colorful flowers are 2 inches in diameter and start out with deep, coral-pink pedals offset by a brilliant yellow center that fades to light coral as they age. This rose bush features an abundant display of blooms through the summer and into the fall. The petals emit a delicate sweetbriar scent. This rose is winter hardy to Zone 4 and is fully resistant to black spot, mildew and rust.

Moondance is a floribunda rose characterized by large trusses of creamy white flowers contrasted by glossy dark-green foliage. It has an upright growth habit with stems that are typically 14 to 18 inches long. These roses will open flat to about 3 inches in diameter and will emit a tart, spicy fragrance. This rose bush is highly resistant to black spot, mildew and rust, and is hardy to Zone 4.

‘Strike It Rich’
Another rose with a strong spicy fragrance, Strike It Rich is a grandiflora rose bush that features flowers up to 5 inches in diameter with deep golden-yellow pedals swirled with ruby red accents. It has an upright growth habit and is easy to grow because of its disease-resistance and natural vigor. This rose bush is hardy to Zone 4.

Each of these varieties is available for the 2007 growing season. Look for them at your garden retail store or nursery.

Putting roses to the test
Every year, rose hybridizers submit top-performing roses for two years of review in 23 test gardens in varying climates across the country, which provide similar conditions and challenges inherent in most American gardens. The roses in the trials receive only as much care as they would in a typical home garden.

The 2007 winners excelled during the two years of rigorous testing against 15 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; and repeat bloom quality.

2007’s best flowers
Each year, the All-America Selections evaluates hundreds of varieties to select the best-of-the-best to recommend to landscapers and gardeners. Their mission is to promote new garden seed varieties that demonstrate superior garden performance during impartial trials in various climates across the nation. The judges test only new, previously unsold varieties, and select as winners only those varieties proven to be superior to all others on the market. They have no requirements to choose a certain number of plants each year, and this year have selected only on vegetable and three flowers to receive their distinction. Here are the flowers that won. Look for them as transplants in your local nursery this spring.

Celosia ‘Fresh Look Gold’
Named for its ability to keep its color all season, Fresh Look Gold plants look as good in the late summer as they do when planted in the spring. Fresh Look Gold plants are embellished with 4-inch golden plumes that require no deadheading. This variety also is resistant to pests and needs little maintenance if you plant it in a sunny garden. Plants will grow about 1 foot tall and 1 foot wide.

Petunia F1 ‘Opera Supreme Pink Morn’
Always a consumer favorite and perpetually well-stocked in your local nursery, petunias may seem a bit overused. But this variety boasts shimmering iridescent pink blooms that trail down its stems to make it stand out from the rest of the petunia pack. The 2.5-inch pink flowers have a creamy white center with a yellow throat. The hybrid plants flower continuously and can spread to 3 feet in sunny locations while attaining a height of 4 to 6 inches.

Vinca ‘Pacifica Burgundy Halo’
With proven heat and drought tolerance, Pacifica Burgundy Halo can withstand full sun without the water requirements of other plants. These vincas will flower continuously with a 2-inch burgundy halo bloom that surrounds a large white center. They will grow to be a foot tall and a foot wide, and do well in container plantings.

The Attachments Idea Book
Landscapers use a variety of attachments for doing everything from snow removal to jobsite cleanup, and regardless of how often they are used, every landscaper has a favorite attachment.
Attachments Idea Book Cover