A Penn-Jersey Care Winners Mini-test Garden
The Penn-Jersey District of the ARS has started a program called "Care Winners" - the main idea behind this project is to come up with a list of roses which will grow well in our area with a minimum of care. The complete story and background are available here.
I planted four of the current list under evaluation at my mother's house in Newtown Square, PA, on Memorial Day (May 27), 2002. These were planted in front of a split rail fence, a place where they got full sun, and are right by the road for all to see. Behind the fence is a large "wall" of rhododendrons, which unfortunately makes it difficult to see the greenery in front in the pictures below.
My mother's house is at the top of a hill, which means "rock city" -- there's a good reason that the hill remained while the surrounding land gradually eroded away! It took a LONG time (all afternoon) to pry enough rocks out of the ground to make four BIG holes, and I barely had enough soil left over to amend and refill the holes.
I started them off properly by digging BIG HOLES, amending the soil with peat and composted cow manure, and mulched them well with a deep layer of hardwood bark chips. I watered them in well.
Then I left them. I believe my mother watered them a few times, but other then that, they got no care, no spraying, no fertilizer, nothing, all of our very hot and arid summer, which was followed by some rainy fungi-friendly weather in early fall.
The four I planted were:
As you can see from the pictures taken October 5, 2002, all are doing fairly well, considering their lack of care. Not obvious from the pictures is the fact that there's NO dieback or dead canes anywhere on any of these four plants.
As a point of comparison, my brother and his wife planted some HTs on the other side of the driveway a year or two ago. These have gotten intermittent spraying and pruning, but as you can see, are not doing great, few leaves and lots of dead canes. I'm not sure, but I think these may be Sunsprite and Peace. Note that these earlier specimens have unfortunately ensured that a good selection of disease spores is readily available.
PS. I also got Altissimo and The McCartney Rose to plant there, but I never got the opportunity. Perhaps this fall...