Let's face it, roses may not be the most carefree plants to grow, but once you welcome one to your garden, it's hard to stop. The biggest challenge when buying roses is deciding which of the hundreds of varieties is going to be the happiest with the care and conditions you can provide. That's where the All-America Rose Selections can help.
The AARS, a nonprofit association of rose growers and producers, plants roses in official test gardens all across the U.S., and gives them the care that an average ' not expert ' gardener typically provides. For two years experts evaluate the plants for disease hardiness, vigor, flower production, foliage, fragrance, and other criteria. Only the best of the best receive the distinction of being selected an AARS winner.
The four new 2003 winners include the cinnamon brown 'Hot Cocoa' (pictured above), a vigorous, disease-resistant rose; the apricot-yellow, hedge-type rose 'Eureka' with its glossy foliage and light fragrance; long-blooming 'Cherry Parfait' with white petals edged in red; and the classic hybrid tea, 'Whisper,' which boasts 5-inch flowers of creamy white.
To see all the winners, visit the AARS Web site at www.rose.org.