Article about roses that are easier to grow

Well, anyway, that is what it’s supposed to be about. It’s a bit of Kordes, a bit of Radler, a bit of Beales and Moore and EarthKind and all that stuff. Read for yourself at the link below. But don’t delay or it will go away and stay in the pay-for-play place.



Peter - I have been working with Dr. George on Earthkind and Brigade roses for about 8 years in trialing all Earthkind roses in our Demonstration Gardens and Trial gardens in Abilene, Texas. They have truly lived up to their reputation. They were planted and watered once, have never been sprayed, fertlized, or pruned. The soil is red clay you can make bricks out of. The only preperation done was 3 inches of completed compost from only plant material tilled in. Roses were planted and mulched with 4 inches of wood chips from our city recycle center. The wood chips are kept at the 4 inch level as they slowly decompose. That is the only fertilizer they get

Fred, I don’t know how a rose gets to get trialed but Darlow’s Enigma is one of the toughest and disease resistant roses out there and it has never been trialed. It truly deserves to get a try.


Patrick, Thank you for your information. The Earthkind roses are trialed at the Texas A&M Experiment Station in Dallas, Texas for four years and then sent out to the Extension Demo Gardens in all parts of Texas to see how they do before they are given the Earthkind designation. I will be seeing Dr. Steve George, The horticulturest in charge of the Earthkind Rose program, in a couple of weeks when he comes to visit the Abilene Extension Office. I will tell him about Darlow’s Enigma. Thanks again. Sincerely, Fred

I think they need to conduct a trial with roses in Maryland, here even the most labeled as disease resistant varieties can be disease-ridden disasters, it’s very hard to find both disease resistant AND fertile roses to have in your collection if you want to experiment with breeding like I do. A list of healthy stuff from here would probably be guarenteed to do well both north and south of us in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The presence of RRD doesn’t help either, as each rose somewhat has an hourglass ( or should I say guillotine?) hanging above it’s head before it might contract it. Things need to be vigorous here and if they can’t find a healthy variety they should focus on finding some sort of cure for RRD. That would bring me some piece of mind.

  • Max

Fred, thank you.

Max, I pretty much agree with you as I know someone in Maryland who has a list of disease free roses in her garden and there are very few on her list. She has roses from just about every class including species. By the way Darlow’s Enigma is on her list of disease free roses in Maryland.


Max and Patrick,

Sadly, I agree – not too many roses are free of disease here in Maryland. Darlow’s Enigma has been one of the better ones for me too. Although it HAS contracted Rose Rosette Disease; so its days are now numbered.

And as the article mentioned, Mutabilis is certainly a tough one, even here.

One I’m starting to really take notice of: Rosa helenae purchased from ForestFarm many years back. It’s formed a big multiflora-style mounded bush and is growing right out there in “RRD Central”. It hasn’t shown any signs of disease, even as the multifloras die all around it. I really need to try some more hybridizing with that one.


I grew up with roses that were sprayed so heavily with pesticides that I probably risked my life sniffing them.

But there were, and are, alternatives to roses that need to be doused in deadly liquids. At a recent gathering of rosarians at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Wilhelm Kordes III, a fourth-generation rose breeder from Sparrieshoop, Germany, showed images of his latest disease-resistant beauties, grown with no pesticides, distinguished by sumptuous shapes and velvety petals.

Pity Mr. Wilhelm Kordes III was unable to attend the latest CRS meeting in Toronto, Ontario, scheduled to take place shortly after the his visit to Brooklyn; he would have been the first to know (with the aid of a few photographs) that his new releases are not resistant to Japanese and Rose Chafer beetles, and rather quite appetizing.

I think it would be helpful to put together a list of varieties that are less palatable?

Perhaps we could note a common ancestor(s)?

I can’t help with the list. I don’t have them here but I am interested in breeding roses that will grow everywhere.

Patrick, Have you used Darlow’s Enigma in any of your crosses. Thank you, Sincerely Fred

Yes Fred I had several last year with Lynnie and only kept the most disease resistant one and am using this seedling this year to cross. I have several more from this winter using home run and they are looking really good. I want to cross these seedlings with republic of texas to get r. wichuraina blood in there also. Darlow’ Enigma is not the easiest parent but they do germinate good. Although some crosses have a lot of seedlings that die due to the dna not matching up. I also have several seedlings from this winter of Crimson Glory X (Darlow’s Enigma x Lynnie) but none had much fragrance, so far disease resistance is looking good without being sprayed.


Patrick, Thank you very much, Sincerely, Fred

Dee, I don’t think mr. Kordes claimed his roses to be insect resistant, only disease resistant. I still wonder how disease resistant the new Kordes roses are in North America.


Tom, Mutabilis is certainly one of the tough ones. In all the trials that have been run on the Earthkind roses we have found that it has stood the test. Sincerely Fred

Mutabilis is a great rose but it is subject to Powdery Mildew.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news. It was slammed again here in my garden this Spring.

I won’t exclude it totally from my breeding program as it has many wonderful attributes but I will try to use it with roses resistant to PM.