>Texas A&M, the Texas authority on all things agricultural and the boss of the Extension Service and the state Master Gardeners program, has announced two new additions to the Earthkind roses.
From their website:
Earth Kind is an important designation given to select roses by the Texas A&M University AgriLife program. Earth Kind Roses have been through rigorous statewide testing and evaluation by a team of horticultural experts and found to possess the high level of landscape performance and outstanding disease and insect tolerance/resistance required to for this special designation.
Earth Kind Roses are among the most thoroughly tested and environmentally responsible plants for the use in Texas landscapes. These roses do very well in almost any soil type, from the well-drained acid sands of East Texas to the poorly aerated, highly alkaline clays of central and Southwest Texas. Earth Kind roses are certainly not immune to pest problems. However, their tolerance to pests is so great that they rarely require the use of chemical pesticides.
The new roses are Ducher, a beautiful ivory rose which has a good fragrance (I sniffed it at Barton Springs nursery today) and Georgetown Tea, a pink shrub rose “discovered” in the yard of a Georgetown (TX) daycare!
I’m currently growing Mutabilis, which also has an Earthkind designation. And I’m always keeping an eye on the list. They are overwhelmingly heavy on pink roses right now, but I’ll keep an eye out.
This kind of testing is what makes A&M so valuable to us Texas gardeners. I mean, I used to think of roses and shudder from all the work that I thought they might take in my garden. I imagined them to be the quintessential high-maintenance plant and never was interested. Then I took a class from Dr Welch at A&M and he talked about how many roses are actually really tough. You can see these survivors growing on old fences along Texas highways and no one is pruning or feeding them and they are just growing and blooming. No prissy roses here.
So I took notes and headed on out to the Antique Rose Emporium. Going there is truly an awesome experience. And they have lots more than just roses! I just wandered for a long time. Then finally settled into the rose area and selected a variety of shrub roses to create a rose hedge below our bedroom windows. They are just over a year old now and doing well. I don’t baby them and they get their water and sun. Haven’t lost one yet and they have bloomed well. So I admit it, I have turned out to have quite a soft spot for roses and I find myself eyeing different varieties when at nurseries, wandering how many I could fit into that space…maybe just a few more?
And if you are interested in participating in the Earthkind rose trials, check out how to get involved (sorry, you have to live in Texas!)