Call for 2010 AOE Entries

I just received this. Those of you who are breeding miniatures may have received this notification already. But if you have not, this slight delay won’t prevent you from meeting the initial deadline for entering plants in the 2010 AOE trials. I assume that email notification would satisfy the “in writing” requirement. It might be a bit close to produce the 30 plants if you don’t have them growing now, but if you have enough plants ready, go for it. If you won’t have plants ready for 2010’s trials, keep the requirements and approximate deadlines in mind for the 2011 trials.





Dr. Jim Hering, Chairman

1050 Kingwood Drive

Marion, OH 43302

Phone: (740)389-5395

E-mail: rosehering[at]roadrunner[dot]com

December 7, 2009


As Chairman of the ARS Miniature Rose Test Garden Committee, I extend an invitation to enter unnamed seedlings or sports of miniature cultivars for the 2010-2011

The AOE program is skewed towards exhibition style roses. :frowning:

No surprise.

I would tend to agree. The AOE trials @ Washington Park look like rows on blackspot with pretty flowers. With some exceptions, theyre almost always defoliated by August. There needs to be incentive to breed for more than a plant with X dimensions and Y blooming performance. I think a lot of potential is lost in time when this is not done, and it makes me feel like the AOE program has little credibility. When I first started growing roses, I thought the AOE was worthwhile but now I do not think anything of the AOE mark on a tag. I can still remember how cool I thought Beauty Secret was. I, oddly enough, think more highly of it than some of the newer AOE intros, especially when one considers how much time has passed since Beauty Secret was introduced.

How are minis, however, supposed to compete with roses like Knock Out when they have so many disease, irregular growth and hardiness issues? I do not think minis like Kordanas are the answer, lol, nor do I think that the AOE winners or exhibition minis/minifloras are the answer either.

One thing, though, is that I could see disease resistant, hardy minifloras as popular in peoples gardens. That would be pretty cool.

I recently asked about the testing environment for the trials and learned it is up to the gardens. Some gardens spray and some don’t. It makes sense to let gardens take the lead in management as AOE is collaborating with established gardens and are their guest, etc.

It makes it very difficult though for us breeders to know what the program values in terms of traits and performance, especially with such an overshadowing trait like disease resistance. A rose capable of producing the most beautiful flowers will not be able to do so if continually loses its leaves. I can only imagine the challenge for AOE seeing such variable scores in performance for entries across gardens so heavily influenced by disease pressure and then sorting out which roses truly are superior performers across the nation and warrent recognition with an award.

AARS has stopped spraying shrub roses in 2004 and now roses of all classes. The value given to disease resistance amazingly increases with such a policy. With continued legislation limiting pesticide use and reluctance of general gardeners to spray pesticides preventatively for ornamentals AARS is very wise. For instance, with the city of New York dramatically limiting pesticide use in public spaces, that is impacting public gardening efforts. They can apply for pesticide application exeptions which are very hard to get. Making disease prone roses look good with preventative sprays is a difficult justification for an exeption.

Miniature roses are wonderful additions to our containers and gardens and AOE has really done a great job as the US leader for an awards program. Perhaps they need to take an approach like AARS. THere is so much positive PR and future security for the program they would miss out on if they don’t proactively orient themselves in the direction of sustainability.

Just my thoughts,


Hi Peter,

Thanks for getting this information out to the RHA Forum! The AOE can use support from our members both in terms of entries as well as in terms of constructive criticism in how to improve.

David, I like your suggestion that the AOE gardens adopt a no spray policy. I love going to gardens/nurseries that do not spray. It really helps to see which roses perform best with good disease pressure present. Those are the roses that I buy and consider using in my breeding program.

The judges at most of the AOE test gardens seem to be very dedicated to regularly judging and scoring entries. Many of these, however, seem to be coming from the perspective of rose show judges. I too have been disappointed that exhibition form seems to have become a requirement for winners. I think that with healthy discussion, this can be changed.

Probably what bothers me the most about the trend of the current AOE winners is size. Smaller roses are not winning. It has been a long time since a true miniature rose has won. The AOE was started in part to highlight the unique beauty of miniature roses. Looking at the winners in recent years, I think it is safe to say that most of the miniature winners that won before the year 2000, if entered today, would not win - including ‘Beauty Secret’!

On another note, I think that it was a mistake to combine the miniature roses with the minifloras, in the AOE and in rose shows. They are different types of roses. Miniatures are valued for their smaller petit size, while minifloras are valued for their larger size (bigger is better at rose shows). Minifloras should be separate from the miniatures - both in the AOE and in rose shows. If the minifloras must be combined with another class of rose, they should be combined with the floribundas. This of course is just my opinion and many will differ with me on this. Floribundas are my favorite type of rose and I really love a well balanced miniflora. It bothers me though that the miniatures are being overrun by the minifloras.

Back to the subject - please consider entering into the AOE and participating in discussions about its direction. AOE winners ideally should make excellent garden plants that are of lower maintenance, and are beautiful both in foliage and in flower.

Jim Sproul