Potential trial site

I heard from David Zlesak, Univ of MN, that some of you may have heard that the AARS is pulling out having trials in a public test garden in St Cloud, MN, and possibly other places as well. Deb Kaiser, the curator there was told she had to remove all the AARS roses and has some empty space. She has done so much to develop the rose garden and wants to continue on with some of the Earth-Kind varieties, and maybe other types as well.

There is a possibility that the RHA could, if there is sufficient interest, have some trials there. Shreveport is not the best place to test roses for cold weather survivability.

There would be details to be worked out, e.g., evaluations, certificates, fees, when to send plants, types accepted, length of trial period, etc, etc, but lets see if there is sufficient interest first.

Put a post here, or send me an e-mail if you would participate in having your roses evaluated in Minnesota. Not sure of the zone there, but it does get cold!

Sounds like a great opportunity if details can be worked out.

Yeah, Shreveport is exactly why I never bothered with such trials.

It might be important to know why the AARS has pulled out. Just as with the AOE, some sites do a very poor job of judging and providing maintenance for the gardens and can be “removed” for that reason. If they have an excellent track record of maintenance and good judges, I think that it could be a very good idea.

Jim Sproul

Hi Jim and everyone,

Deb has a great track record and did a fantastic job. She proposed and got the garden to be an AARS garden in 2005. She is an AOE garden too and that is continuing. Official word from AARS is that with Lyndale Park Rose Garden in Minneapolis that is enough for our region. Boerner is discontinued in Milwaukee too. For the relative number of plants sold and cost to arrange/supply plants, etc. AARS felt it was in their best interest to use those resources elsewhere. It was very disappointing to Deb as she has worked super hard to make it possible.

I trust in the end it will open up new opportunities for the Virginia Clemons Rose Garden there in St. Cloud. A northern test for RHA is just one nice potential possibility if, as John mentioned, we have enough interest and desire to pursue it. If so, we could decide what we want the trial to prioritize for traits. We may decide that the AARS scoring doesn’t reflect the objectives we would want for a northern trial. Deb is very open in talking with us.




I have tried but to no avail to find out how to submit a likely rose for the AARS trials. Some of the questions I have are 1. how many plants are needed for testing? 2. how much does it cost to enter a specimen? 3. How many years are the plants tested?.

If anyone knows some of these answers that would be awesome.



The Virginia Clemons Rose Garden in St. Cloud, MN is well maintained and a lovely site. David is right, Deb has worked very hard to make that garden a destination worth seeing. After all her hard work establishing the AARS test site she must be truly saddened by this decision, but this could be a wonderful opportunity for members of the RHA interested in testing plants for Zones 4 and 3 (I believe from hearing Deb speak that St. Cloud is basically a Zone 4 garden but occasionally will experience temps typical of Zone 3). I also believe that Deb would probably welcome a test garden that didn’t require the extraordinary means she goes to to protect the plants in the AARS test bed each winter, once her disappointment has passed. While the garden is about 3.5 hours from my home, I would be willing to be an evaluator. This might be the opportunity those of us in cold climates have been waiting for and would have my full support. Please contact me if there is anything I can do to help the process.

Julie Overom

Hi Jack,

Great questions! As I understand it, only one of the AARS member nurseries can enter a rose. Typically someone works with a nursery who really likes the rose and is willing to enter it. They typically propagate it up. There is the need if I remember right, that to enter you need to commit that you can supply a HUGE amount of propagation material to member nurseries if it wins (100,000 comes to mind). So, having the support of a nursery is really helpful. The bush roses are tested for 2 years and climbers for 3 if I remember right. There were 23 or so official trial sites and additional sites too with 4 plants needed per site. THere is an entry fee for each rose too. It used to be $1500 many years ago.



Thank you David.

I am friends with a local nursery but 100,000 cuttings seems overwhelming right now. I imagine in the future I would be willing to do what would be necessary if I felt my rose was worthy…ha ha ha. Again, thank you for your information, it’s always good to learn all I can.


Hi Jack,

Being a member of the AARS is also very costly. If you have a truly interesting rose, especially if it is quite clean to diseases, you should contact one of the major US rose growers about testing it. If they are interested, you would only need to provide them sufficient material for 10 cuttings.

Jim Sproul

Thank you Jim,

That scenario seems alot easier than the other. I suppose I could find the addresses of said US rose growers online?


thank you.


Hi Jim,

Could you name a few major US rose growers for us? Thanks so much.

Weeks, J&P, David Austin USA, and Greenheart Farms are the ones I would approach, although J&P isn’t high on my list of approachables. Not sure either about David Austin USA, either.

As of last summer Greeheart was contemplating it but had not yet decided to participate in the AARS trials, if I remember by conversation with Wendy White correctly.

Greenheart is still doing roses, but has mostly pulled out of R&D and focusing on wholesale. In addition to the above, Conard Pyle would be another possible evaluator.

Jim Sproul

Thank you guys, appreciate it so much!

10 plants would be so much easier than 100,000. I really would like to learn how to do bud grafting, I guess this will be my next step in this lovely hobby I have. lol


Yes, grafting and success with cuttings is a “must” to make sure that your best seedlings get propagated - an important step to guard against losing an important seedling!

Jim Sproul

Thanks Jim! You are so right. My seedling don’t get very big the first year so there is not much cane to take to do many cuttings with. That is why I was considering learning to graft instead.