Biltmore International Rose Trials – 2014 Results

Biltmore Rose Gardens via Hedgerow Rose - Proud Land

{ PLEASE NOTE THIS POST HAS BEEN EDITED SINCE ORIGINAL PUBLISH DATE TO REFLECT TWO ADDITIONAL WINNERS AS WELL AS A NAME CORRECTION. ]

Hooray for a fantastic season end to the Biltmore International Rose Trials held last weekend at Biltmore Estate. It was a gorgeous weekend here in Asheville with brilliant sunshine and bluebird skies. Esteemed rosarians from all over the country arrived to judge the roses and find out which rose(s), if any, from the 2014 group would receive an award.

Biltmore Blooms - 7The rose garden in early spring, 2016

For those of you who aren’t quite familiar with the judging process, here’s a short breakdown: Permanent jurors, myself included, visit the rose garden several times throughout the year to evaluate each group of trial roses. Each rose is simply designated by a number so they remain anonymous. We do this in spring, summer, fall and winter in order to get a broader picture of each rose and look for things like disease resistance, fragrance, overall impression, etc. During the reception and awards weekend, which in the past was in spring but this year was in fall, the rest of the jurors travel into town and judge the roses, too, with an award ceremony to follow.

Biltmore - 2nd day of rose judging - Sept 2015 - 1Trial rose in 2015 group. Photo taken autumn 2015.

Since each trial bed runs for 2 years before the final analysis, and permanent jurors get a chance to peek at them even during the winter months, you can get a pretty solid picture of their overall performance. And on that note, a rose must exceed a minimum overall score in order to qualify for an award. So, it’s possible that not many or even any roses may win something at the end of a trial.

Biltmore Rose Gardens via Hedgerow Rose - No 1328Trial rose in 2013 group. Photo taken in May, 2015.

As a whole, the 2014 roses, which were up for their final review this weekend, did not wow me. There were a couple I really liked for their graceful flower, but they lacked disease resistance. There were a few that had clean foliage but the flower was not very outstanding. And so forth, and so on. However, I think the 2015 roses are going to be in some tight competition so next year should be interesting!

Here are the 2014 winners:

honeymoon-arborose

1428
Gilded Age Award for Best Climber
Honeymoon™ Arborose®
KORhemtra
Newflora
Kordes
1428
Lord Burleigh Award for Most Disease Resistant
Honeymoon™ Arborose®
KORhemtra
Newflora
Kordes

ping-lim

1413
Pauline Merrell Award for Best Hybrid Tea
P9511T
LIM10
Ping Lim
Ping Lim

polar-express-sunbelt

1406
Edith Wharton Award for Best Floribunda
Polar Express™ Sunbelt®
KORblixmu
Newflora
Kordes
1406
George & Edith Vanderbilt Award for Most Outstanding Rose Of The Trials
Polar Express™ Sunbelt®
KORblixmu
Newflora
Kordes
1406
William Cecil Award for Best Growth Habit
Polar Express™ Sunbelt®
KORblixmu
Newflora
Kordes

B/26A/06(M)LUC/HAxGC/MMT(10)

1423
Chauncey Beadle Award for Best Shrub
The Lark Ascending
Ausursula
David Austin
David Austin

img_2767-10

It was definitely a different garden having the awards in September versus last year in May (when the photo of ‘Proud Land’ at the top was taken.) It was wild looking and some of the roses looked a bit tired after the hot, dry weather we’ve been having. I love an overgrown garden, though, and it felt decadent sipping wine at dusk surrounded by billowing perennials, nodding flowers and droning bees.

img_2768-11

During Friday night’s reception, we all gathered around the plaque presented by Jolene Adams of the World Federation of Roses for an “Award of Garden Excellence” to Biltmore. This is a huge, huge honor and well-deserved. Hats off to the horticulture team that manages the garden including the lovely Emily Wilson, head rosarian.

img_2760-3

Jesse and I couldn’t resist a couple of selfies Friday and Saturday. The calendar says autumn, but the temps were near to 90* both days so we were all pretty much wilting the entire weekend, can you tell? Everyone seemed to be having a great time in spite of the heat, though, which further proves my theory that rose people are happy people.

img_2758-1

img_2759-2

Being such a newbie, I tried to just take it all in and sponge up as much information as I could. For example, Jim Wilson, former president of the Asheville Blue Ridge Rose Society chatted a few of us up about the ‘La France’ beds. (Jim is very knowledgeable and I could listen to him talk roses all the live-long-day.) At some point in the history of this bed, one of the ‘La France’ roses needed to be replaced and it soon became obvious it was different from the others. Jim believes, and after his convincing argument I agree, that this single ‘La France’ is actually the correct one while the rest are imposters. Take a look at the above photos. The buds and blooms on the left are that of the “real” ‘La France’. See the difference? Additionally, and this is the kicker, the fragrance of the rose on the left will knock your socks off while the others are sort of meh. I promise you, in person, you can really see and smell the difference. Jim has a ‘La France’ in his own garden which he purchased from Heirloom Roses way back when–prior to them being sold–and he believes he also has the real deal. Isn’t this interesting?

img_2762-5 img_2763-6

Saturday morning was blocked off for one final evaluation of the ’14, ’15 & ’16 rose beds which flank the garden on 3 sides. The total scores for the 2014 group was then tallied and made ready for the afternoon luncheon and awards.

img_2764-7 img_2765-8

In between events we got a guided tour from Parker Andes, Biltmore’s Director of Horticulture. Parker is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and can instantly recall so many details and facts about the plants growing at Biltmore. It was an honor to get this short tour and hear more about the history of the gardens.

img_2761-4

The luncheon and awards ceremony was held in the Lioncrest which is a converted dairy barn with a gorgeous, exposed beam ceiling. Our table had an interesting discussion about what kinds of roses the average home gardener is looking for today and it was so neat to get the opinions of hybridizer Dr. Keith Zary and Bradd Yoder, Director of Sales for Star Roses. It would seem that the average consumer is looking for disease resistant, fragrant roses with, large, full blooms. The color of the rose is not as important as these traits. The overall size and growth habit was up for debate which led to a discussion about how many of the newer cultivars have low, rounded shapes, giving the effect of polka dots in the garden.

Biltmore Rose Garden via Hedgerow Rose No 1419Trial rose in 2014 group. Photo taken summer 2015.

I mentioned to the group that in the course of blogging and my interactions on IG, I often hear new gardeners expressing an interest in container grown roses. It’s a question I get asked about as frequently as how I grow roses without using fungicides & insecticides. Personally, I believe color is a key factor for those dipping their toes in rose gardening as I often see huge response to photos of roses in shades of champagne, blush and apricot. I’m sure the image-driven social networking world plays a roll in this. However, I have a feeling that roses in shades of crimson to wine are going to see a surge in popularity in coming seasons as sort of a knee-jerk to these paler tones which are currently so popular. What do you think? What kinds of traits do you think the average home gardener is looking for in a rose?

img_2766-9

We were both exhausted by the end of the weekend but in such high spirits after experiencing such a magical event. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the more I learn about roses, the more I realize I don’t know. Being surrounded by experts with decades of experience and a vast wealth of knowledge was exciting and humbling. It was, and is, an honor to be included.

img_2769-12

Have a great week!

name

11 thoughts on “Biltmore International Rose Trials – 2014 Results

  1. Laurie, I’ve been waiting for this post, knowing you were at the Biltmore Trials. Living vicariously through you! 🙂 I’m following the trend and lean toward the creamy blush colors, currently inthralled by Cream Veranda and First Crush. Those blooms! However, I agree about the deeper colors making a come back. We’ve never had choices like Munstead Wood and Dark Desire before. And, now that we’ve had a taste of disease resistant roses, who wants to fuss with the ones that need special care – unless one special rose is absolutely, positively worth it. I loved your story about La France! Fascinating that mistakes like that can be made even at the Biltmore! Thank you for taking us with you!

    1. Oh goodness, that is so sweet of you Andrea, thank you! 😀
      Isn’t it nice to see those richer colors coming back again? I was just saying to another visitor here in the comments that we are going to have to stay away from lighter tones in future, at least until we get our thrips problem under control. Isn’t that La France story so neat? Rose mysteries really fascinate me and I learned so much last weekend just being a fly on the wall, haha!

    2. Oh and PS I totally agree with you, there is no need to fuss with a diva rose when there are so many no-stress, good ones out there. 🙂

  2. Don’t know about every one else, but in zone 4, hardiness is the first requisite, then scent for me. I really wish for a somehow hardy rambler. Surprisingly, my own root Charles de mills has out performed where other roses supposedly hardy have died. The smell is a knockout when it’s covered in bloom. I don’t like these small clumpy bushes. And if I buy pale flowers, they attract beetles. No pale roses or peonies here.

    1. Ah, of course, hardiness zone! Yes, when we were gardening in PA that was one of the first things I looked for. Have you tried growing William Baffin? Hardy to your zone and has that rambler habit. (No scent, though.) I do love Charles de Mills. That color is just heavenly. I’m also trying to stay away from pale roses in future as we have a bit of a thrips issue going on here, so I feel your pain. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. It is interesting that the Biltmore was given/sold something other than what they wanted. So if we were to order La France, how will we know in advance if it is the correct one with the intense scent? From where did the Biltmore obtain this new one that Jim Wilson thinks is authentic? It is not on Heirloom Roses website at this time.

    I actually consider color and shape of flower first (only pure white at first, recently have added a few shades of pink). Hadn’t considered scent previously, but now prefer only scented roses.

    Thank you for continuing to share so much of your hard won knowledge and beautiful photographs.

    1. Thank you for your input, Barbara, it’s always lovely to have you here. 🙂

      I asked the same question, where did Biltmore purchase these roses, and Jim wasn’t sure. (I did notice, too, that Heirloom doesn’t have it listed in their catalog anymore.) Older roses do seem to get mixed up in commerce from time to time, so it’s not too surprising. I think the rose forums on gardenweb are pretty good for tracking down a specific rose. There are so many knowledgeable rosarians who chime in there. If I hear anything as to who might be selling the correct version I will definitely let you know!

  4. Fantastic! I can’t thank you enough for letting us tag along with your role in the Biltmore rose trials – it’s really fun to learn about all of this. Thanks for the information about La France – I love learning things like that! Burling Leong from Burlington Rose Nursery in California does sell own root versions of La France. She is an excellent source for hard to find roses now that Vintage Roses is closed. Her plants are always healthy, but most often always 5 inch band size which requires some extra care in planting and nursing along before planting in the ground (as you know already!). She doesn’t have a website, but will send her current catalog via email. Her address is burlingtonroses@aol.com for anyone that would like to purchase La France for the next growing season!

    1. Thank you for reminding me about Burling’s roses! I purchased my Distant Drums from her last spring, and you’re right, the bands are very small and require extra care. Still, a fantastic resource. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the Biltmore tour. It was a pleasure sharing the adventure! 🙂

  5. Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing, Laurie! Can’t believe you’ve been having such summery weather when here we’re definitely feeling the autumn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *