Beauty, Toughness Distinguish Newest EarthKind Roses
New Dawn and Madame Antoine Mari were recently named EarthKind Roses by a team of horticulturists with the AgriLife Extension. Only 17 roses hold the title.
Madame Antoine Mari, which was originally released in 1901, earned an additional honor by being named 2008 EarthKind Rose of the Year, George said.
âItâs gorgeous,â he said. âItâll take your breath away.â
But thereâs more to these roses than good looks, George said. EarthKind Roses are robust and thrive in tough conditions. Grown and evaluated over years, the roses arenât fertilized or pruned. Theyâre not treated with pesticides, and they are watered far less than other roses.
The results are roses that are easy to grow and maintain, he said.
âAnybody can grow them if they follow our very simple instructions,â George said. âI tell people, âIf youâve never grown a rose you can grow these. Even if you canât spell rose, you can grow these.ââ
Madame Antoine Mari grows to about 6 feet tall and wide, George said. It is fragrant and pink with a double blossom. It blooms repeatedly throughout the growing season. It is âwinter hardyâ based on the U.S. Department of Agricultureâs cold hardiness zones 7 to 9.
âIt goes about as far north as Lubbock,â George said. âIt would not be appropriate for the upper half of the Texas Panhandle. It should do great everywhere else in Texas.
âMadame Antoine Mari has been one of our top roses,â he said. âIt is gorgeous in Wichita Falls; it is gorgeous in Odessa. Thatâs saying a great deal.â
New Dawn, released in 1930, is a large climber, George said. It was the first plant ever to be patented in the United States. It grows up to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide.
âIt gets big,â George said. âIt needs to be on a really stout structure. Some little flimsy trellis wonât do.â
It is white with a pink blush center and a double bloom, he said. It blooms primarily in the spring. It is fragrant and tolerates some light shade. But it does better in full sun.
âAs a scientist, this makes me really happy: Itâs winter hardy in zones 4 to 9. Zone 4 is way up into Minnesota. So itâs EarthKind in Texas, but itâs winter hardy way, way north.â
The rose, however, doesnât do well in the southernmost parts of Texas, he said.
âWhen New Dawn is well established and in full bloom, it is spectacular,â George said.
An EarthKind Rose needs eight hours or more of full, direct sun and good air movement over the leaves, he said. When planting, till in three inches of compost, and donât use fertilizer. Keep the base mulched year-round with shredded tree limbs or hardwood bark. A drip irrigation system is preferred.
The roses can easily be purchased through mail order or on the Internet, George said.