Roses Are Plants Too!

Results from The Rose Hills International Rose Trials

The rose ‘Sugar Moon’ winner of The Golden Rose Of Rose Hills.
Photo/Illustration: Weeks Roses
The rose ‘Sugar Moon’ winner of The Golden Rose Of Rose Hills.
Photo/Illustration: Weeks Roses

International Rose Trials are a valuable way for the home gardener to learn what roses do well and are potential candidates to add to their own garden. The trials are open to all rose breeders from professional to beginner and so test a broad range of roses. Generally the roses are judged by a permeant jury over two years for overall appearance health, vigor, fragrance and bloom. Upon completion of that two year period an International jury is brought in to judge them one time, their scores are added in to the permanent jury’s scores and the winners are announced. It’s a grand event and fun for all rose lovers.

Up until recently the only International Rose Trials were overseas. Luckily North America now has two such trials. The Biltmore International Rose Trials which I’ve written about in a previous post, and the the Rose Hills International Rose Trials in Southern California, which is first one established in the United States. The Rose Hills trials were established by Dr. Tommy Cairns and they are beautifully run. I’ve had the pleasure of judging them a few times and have throughly enjoyed it.

The Rose Hills Trials have just had their International Juding Day and the results from this year are in. I’m passing them along to you so you consider some of these great roses for your garden!

Hybrid Tea Category – Gold Medal and Hamilton Garden Trophy. This award went to the rose ‘Dick Clark’ (WEKfunk). It was bred by Christian Bedard and Tom Carruth of Weeks Roses in California. It’s a beautiful two toned rose of cherry red/pink and cream colors. It has a moderate, cinnamon fragrance.

Floribunda Category – Gold Medal and Adelaide Trophy. The winner in the group this year is the rose ‘Cinco de Mayo’ (WEKcobeju). Also from Weeks Roses and bred by Tom Carruth this little beauty has been turning heads ever since it’s release in 2009. The blooms are a russet and lavender color and the compact growth habit makes it perfect for smaller gardens and even containers.

Hybrid Tea Category – Gold Medal. This went the rose ‘Sunshine Daydream’ (MEIKanaro). Bred by the French nursery of Meilland, this butter cream yellow rose yields nice sized blooms all season long. It’s not only disease resistant but also great for cutting and bringing into the house.

Miniature Rose Category – Gold Medal. The rose ‘Butter Me Up’ (WEKpivoom) took the award this year. Bred by Christian Bedard of Weeks Roses, Butter Me Up yields golden yellow blooms in a miniature hybrid tea shape.  It’s diminutive size makes it perfect for containers on a patio or the front of a flower border.

Most Fragrant Category – Gifu Governor’s Award. The variety ‘Sugar Moon’ (WEKmemolo) bred by Christian Bedard of Weeks Roses took this award. If you are looking for a white rose with fragrance this one is for you!

Best Established Category – Gold Medal to ‘Opening Night’ (JAColber) bred by Keith Zary the former hybridizer for Jackson & Perkins. The best established award is one given to a rose that has been in the garden for a while. It is meant to recognize an older rose, established variety that year after year looks great in the garden. if you are looking for a true red rose consider this one.

People’s Choice Award – This award is voted for by the general public who visit the garden throughout the year. It gives them a chance to get in on the action. The award this year went to the rose ‘Easy Does It’ (HARpageant) bred by the UK Nursery Harkness. As its name implies this is an easy rose to grow and bears orange/apricot blooms all season long.

And the overall winner is!

‘Sugar Moon’ (WEKmemolo) took the prestigious award the Golden Rose Of Rose Hills. This rose had the highest score of any rose in the trials. As I previously mentioned, it also took the most fragrant award so this is definitely a rose to consider for all gardeners. Many of you love roses with fragrance and here we have one. Congratulations to Christian Bedard of Weeks roses for winning this award!

Trials such as the Rose Hills International Rose Trials are a great way to learn about new roses. I’ll continue to publish results from these trials and the next one will be the Biltmore International Rose Trials in May so watch this space!

View Comments


  1. susan749 10/13/2012

    I am more interested in trials of roses that seek to determine the best roses for the average grower in different parts of the country. Perhaps you can blog about the results of some of these. I live in Michigan so I am especially interested in roses that can tolerate our cold winters and humid summers and (this is a big one) resist predation by Japanese beetles and rose chafers. I am digging up and giving away my climber, "Show Garden" because it gets decimated by the beetles and looks terrible, despite being a very hardy and vigorous grower. I have a red Knock Out rose that makes lovely roses despite some predation by the beetles. I also have one pink Rugosa that also seems less attractive to the beetles. Of course, I hope it isn't just that the climber was the beetles' favorite and now they will decimate the other two!

  2. PFZimmerman 10/13/2012

    Hi There,

    I am hoping to be able to do that once a series of national trials is established again. We used to have one called the AARS trials but they are gone. There is some movement towards a new one that will be held in several gardens across the country. That will hopefully give us more regional information to write about.

  3. Frank1948 10/18/2012

    Does anyone grow some of the west coast trial winners in the southeast? Dick Clark i avery nice rose but got blackspot despite weekly spraying (so did many other roses this year).

    "Peggy Martin"-pink climbing shrub with no thorns grew about 10feet this year with no blackspot. The white single hybrid musk shrub(fragrance!)"Darlow's Enigma" had no blackspot
    this year.

    See for good descriptions and pictures of most of the roses in commerce.

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