Two ‘healthy, fragrant’ roses earn Earth-Kind distinction for 2011

DALLAS – Two long-established roses have earned Earth-Kind distinction for their beauty, fragrance and ease of maintenance, said Dr. Steve George, Texas AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist in Dallas.

Monsieur Tillier, a rose released in 1891, has earned Earth-Kind distinction for 2011. To be Earth-Kind, a rose must have received the designation from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, an agency of the Texas A&M University System. (Photo courtesy of Jay Goode)

The Monsieur Tillier and Mrs. Dudley Cross varieties were named Earth-Kind Roses for 2011 by a team of horticulturists with AgriLife Extension, an agency of the Texas A&M University System, George said. Only 23 roses hold the distinction.

Mrs. Dudley Cross, a rose released in 1907, has earned Earth-Kind distinction for 2011. To be Earth-Kind, a rose must have received the designation from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, an agency of the Texas A&M University System. (Photo courtesy of Jay Goode)

“Though very different, both roses are gorgeous,” he said.

Monsieur Tillier, released in 1891, is classified a “tea” rose and grows to about 7 by 6 feet, George said. It has a double blossom, is orange-pink and a repeat bloomer.

“The orange-pink color of its blossoms provides a color not often seen in other roses,” George said. “The blossoms are packed with fragrant petals. This plant gets large so it’s best used at the back of the flower bed. It makes an excellent large hedge.”

Mrs. Dudley Cross, released in 1907, is also a tea rose and grows to about 5-by-5 feet, he said. Its blossom’s coloring is a yellow and pink blend, and it too is a repeat bloomer.

“One of my all-time favorite landscape roses, it is a very long-lived, compact, healthy bush with beautiful, moderately fragrant blossoms,” he said. “And, as an added bonus, this plant is nearly thornless.”

Mrs. Dudley Cross is so outstanding that it is also being named the Earth-Kind Rose of the Year for 2011, he added.

There is much more to these roses than just good looks, George said. Earth-Kind Roses are robust and thrive in tough conditions. Grown and evaluated for more than eight years on average, the roses are not fertilized or pruned when tested. They are not treated with pesticides, and are watered far less than other roses. They also are grown on their own roots, as opposed to those grafted onto other plants. This process selects roses that are easy to grow and maintain, he said.

To be Earth-Kind, a rose must have received the designation from AgriLife Extension. Earth-Kind is a registered trademark of AgriLife Extension.

“These winners of the prestigious Earth-Kind designation are long-lived, tolerant of most any soil and are so environmentally responsible that in most areas almost never will you need to apply harsh pesticides or even commercial fertilizer,” George said.

“These are truly roses with which anyone can be highly successful.”

A list and descriptions of all Earth-Kind Roses can be found at http://earthkindroses.tamu.edu.
George and the team of Earth-Kind rose evaluators offer growing tips:

- The roses should be planted where they receive at least eight hours of direct sunlight daily.
- Their location should allow for good airflow over the leaves.
- They should be planted in well-aerated soils
- They need the year-round protection of a 3-inch layer of organic mulch over their root systems.

George suggested gardeners visit the Earth-Kind Rose web site for details on how to manage specific soils and other issues.

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