Two New EarthKind Roses Named along with 2006 EarthKind Rose of the Year

Two well-known rose cultivars have earned the EarthKind Rose designation and a third has been named "EarthKind Rose of the Year for 2006." Horticulturists describe all three as easy to grow, great for creating focal points in the landscape and excellent choices for new rose gardeners. They also bloom throughout the spring, summer and fall. Texas Cooperative Extension has chosen "Carefree Beauty," also known as "Katy Road Pink," as this year's "EarthKind Rose of the Year." "This is an honor created by horticulturists with Texas Cooperative Extension to highlight the ‘best of the best' of landscape roses tested by the EarthKind team at Texas A&M University," said Dr. Steve George, a horticulturist at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Dallas. "Roses with an EarthKind designation have been proven to have tremendous heat and drought tolerance, even in temperatures of 105 degrees Farenheit," George said. "They also do well in almost any soil type, from well-drained acid sands to poorly aerated, highly alkaline clays. In most loam or clay soils, these roses do not need commercial synthetic or organic fertilizers as long as one follows our EarthKind compost and mulch only approach to soil management. George said EarthKind roses are not immune to pest problems, but if they are planted properly, their tolerance to pests is so great that pesticides will rarely be needed. This year's top rose has successive flushes of large, fragrant, semi-double blossoms of a deep rich pink color, George said. "Carefree Beauty" produces large, orange hips. The rose, developed by Dr. Griffith Buck at Iowa State University, was introduced in 1977. Preliminary field trial data from Odessa and San Angelo indicate the cultivar will likely tolerate highly salty water if administered with drip or soaker hose irrigation, George said. At maturity the bush will reach a size of 5 feet high by 5 feet wide. Recommended spacing for the rose bushes is 7 feet apart. "Carefree Beauty" is approved for U.S. Department of Agriculture cold hardiness zones 4-9, which means it is winter hardy throughout Texas. "EarthKind is one of the most prestigious horticultural plant designations bestowed by Texas Cooperative Extension, an agency of the Texas A&M University System," George said. "It is based on years of extensive field research and statewide trials conducted by A&M horticultural experts. "Only a few, very special varieties possess the extremely high level of landscape performance coupled with the outstanding disease and insect tolerance and resistance that are required in order to receive this designation. Simply stated, EarthKind roses are the finest, most thoroughly tested and most environmentally responsible landscape roses for use in Texas landscapes." "Duchesse de Brabant," one of two roses to receive the EarthKind designation this year, was introduced in 1857. "It is a tea rose with large, double, rose-pink blossoms which are cupped and rounded like an elegant wine goblet," George said. "The blossoms are very fragrant and look like the centerpiece in an oil painting by an Old Master." The foliage is apple-green with slightly wavy leaf blades, George said. Mature size is 6 feet high and 4 feet wide. Recommended spacing is 6 feet apart. "This was President Teddy Roosevelt's favorite rose," George said. " He often wore it as a boutonniere." "Spice," a China-type rose, has also just been designated as EarthKind. It is one of the Bermuda Mystery roses because it was found growing on the island of Bermuda, but how it came to be there is unknown. "This rose produces wave after wave of blush pink, double blossoms that have a peppery fragrance, which probably gave rise to its name," George said. "The flowers are good for cutting and to use in vases and arrangements." The mature size for "Spice" is 5 feet high by 4 feet wide. Recommended spacing is 6 feet apart. Neither "Duchesse de Brabant" nor "Spice" are winter-hardy for the northern half of the Texas Panhandle, and neither is recommended for areas with highly salty irrigation water, George said. "For stronger, longer-lived plants, be sure to select EarthKind roses that are on their own roots rather than those which have been grafted onto a rootstock," George said. "All EarthKind roses need eight hours or more of full, direct sun each day and good air movement over their foliage. "Now is a great time to add these outstanding EarthKind roses to your landscape. In our opinion, these plants provide the most enjoyment with the least care of any landscape shrub in Texas."