Each year rose hybridizers introduce new roses that they have been looking at for about ten years. It takes that long for the original crosses to have developed into enough stock to sell on the commercial market. The crosses are grown under the tough scrutiny of the hybridizer for form. color, disease resistance, flower production and growth habits. Good crosses in the eyes of the hybridizer are sent to several test and trial gardens all over the United States so they can be evaluated in many different climates and growing conditions. If the roses do well in these tests, then the hybridizer will start producing plants to sell to the public.
For hybrid teas, 20,000 plants may need to be produced. It takes a lot of time for producing this number of plants; keeping in mind that all original plant stock is hand grafted onto an under stock(root stock) and grown in the fields for two years. After two years of growing in the fields, they are then ready for sale to the public. All other types of roses will go through the same growing procedure-grandifloras, floribundas, shrubs, climbers, and tree roses. Miniature roses are grown on their own roots, so propagation of them is much faster. The hybridizer still goes through all the scrutiny as other roses to produce they best possible rose he can.
The American Rose Society has a testing program that involves several test gardens across the United States. Potential new rose introductions are grown and tested for a two year period. During this rigorous testing, the roses are evaluated on fifteen different traits including color, form, fragrance, disease resistance, bud and flower form, vigor, hardiness, growth habit and foliage. Only the outstanding roses with high evaluations will receive the AARS Rose of the Year distinction.
For 1998 there are four roses that received the AARS distinction. They include: Fame!, a deep pink Grandiflora; Sunset Celebration, an apricot-amber blend hybrid tea; Opening Night, a deep red hybrid tea; and First Light a light pink shrub rose.
Fame! was hybridized by Keith Zary and is being introduced by Bear Creek Gardens. It is a cross of Tournament of Roses and Zorina. It has medium sized flowers with a light fragrance on a five foot plant. The leaves are a dark glossy green and are considered to have excellent disease resistance. The plant has vigorous growing habits with an upright bushy canes and lots of deep pink blooms.
Sunset Celebration was hybridized by Gareth Fryer and is being introduced by Weeks Roses. It is a cross of Pot O' Gold and an unnamed seedling. The rose will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Sunset magazine. The hybrid tea rose has various shades of apricot-cream, amber orange blushed with pink or warm peach depending on your climate. The blooms are medium sized with a fruity fragrance and long stems. The foliage is deep green and has excellent disease resistance. Besides winning the AARS award, Sunset Celebration has won the Golden Rose of the Hague and RINZ Trials from New Zealand.
Opening Night is a deep red hybrid tea from a cross of Olympiad and Ingrid Bergman. It was hybridized by Keith Zary and is being introduced by Bear Creek Gardens. This is the first true red hybrid tea to win the AARS award in fourteen years. Opening Night has pointed buds that open into medium sized blooms and have a slight fragrance. The blooms hold their color well. The plant grows to five feet tall with dark green semi-glossy foliage that has very good disease resistance.
First Light is a shrub rose with clusters of five to seven petals of light pink blooms with contrasting purple stamens and a spicy fragrance. The bush is very compact and well shaped and will reach a height of four feet. The shiny foliage has very good disease resistance. First Light is a cross of Bonica and Ballerina. It was hybridized by Stanley and Jeanne Marciel. It will be introduced by De Vor Nurseries.
All of the above AARS winners can been seen on the Edmunds' Roses Web Site. The address is:
Jackson & Perkins, a division of Bear Creek Gardens, offers many roses that are only available from them. Grand Finale and Harlequin are two hybrid tea roses that they are offering in 1998.
Grand Finale is the Jackson & Perkins Rose of the Year. It is pure white with perfect shaped blooms. It's parents are Honor and Pristine. The plant has an up right growth habit with dark semi-glossy foliage.
Harlequin is a hybrid tea with an usual lavender-rose and silvery-white on the reverse combination. The blooms have high centers and thick, stiff petals. The grey-green foliage compliments the bloom color.
Other new introductions available only from Jackson & Perkins include two more colors for the Simplicity hedge rose collection. This collection of roses offer low maintenance with lots of clusters of flowers throughout the growing season. They are excellent plants for mass plantings, boundaries and lawn borders.
The two new additions this year are Purple Simplicity a deep rich purple that can be used effectively as a background for light pink or white flowers and Yellow Simplicity a bright glowing shade of yellow.
Jackson & Perkins has as English Rose Collection. It consists of Royal Wedding, Trandescent and Golden Celebration.
Royal Wedding is a Jackson & Perkins introduction. It low growth is compact like a floribunda rose. It's blooms of amber-pink have quartered centers and blooms one to a stem.
Tradescent and Golden Celebration are modern shrub roses hybridized by David Austin. Trandescent is probably the deepest and richest red of the English roses and has the old-rose fragrance. It is a very low growing plant. Golden Celebration has a golden yellow color a little deeper than David Austin's Graham Thomas. It's growth habit is much more compact than Graham Thomas.
Jackson & Perkins has a web site that includes pictures
of all of the gardens plants and roses. Their address is:
Edmunds' Roses is also offering new roses for 1998. Reba McEntire was introduced on a limited basis last spring. Because it was so popular, it is being offered this year in their catalog. It is a deep orange-red Grandiflora hybridized by Sam McGredy. The flowers are usually grown in clusters so this is going to be an excellent garden rose with good disease resistance.
Sweet Gesture is a new pink floribunda hybridized by Sam McGredy. The heavy petalled blooms have exhibition form. The plant has shiny foliage and excellent hardiness.
Climbing Autumn Sunset, although hybridized in 1988 by Lowe, is new to the West Coast. It's a great addition to the climbers with it's apricot-gold clusters of fruity fragrant roses. It has dark green foliage that is especially resistance to blackspot. It should be hardy enough to survive the Midwest and New England winters.
Coral Fiesta is a orange-red hybrid tea that has excellent exhibition form. It was hybridized in 1983 from Dot. It doesn't produce an abundance of blooms, but those produced will be winners.
The roses mentioned above from Edmunds' Roses can also be seen on their web site. The address is listed above.
I will discuss more new introductions for 1998 when the information is available.
Eventhough not every introduction in the Class of 1998 is the rose you want for your garden,
the Class of 1998 roses offer a wide range of types and colors for almost everyone who loves
If you have any questions or comments, my e-mail address:
Last updated November 15, 1997
@1997 Linda Burg