What does a rose trial entail?

Over the past few years I’ve seen several threads about rose trials? I have absolutely no idea what this is all about other than some testing for commercial reasons. I hate to sound ignorant about this, but I guess I am.

Jeff, it sounds pretty much like you have it figured out. Rose trials are almost always linked in some way to commercial considerations. The purpose of any rose trial is to determine how well a rose performs somewhere. The purpose may be to give a rose company a way to decide whether a rose is worth introducing commercially–or to advise rose buyers which roses have performed well. The reward for being rated highly in a rose trial is either commercial introduction, or some sort of award that will increase sales of roses that win.

Probably the most famous commercially-funded rose testing program here in the US is the now-defunct AARS (All-America Rose Selections) rose trials. Roses were entered in the trials (the nursery had to pay an entry fee), and the winner or winners gained the right to use the AARS award in advertising. People either were led to believe or wanted to believe that an AARS winner had performed consistently well in all locations across the nation. In truth, a rose might perform no better than average in some locations and still win if it performed well enough in other locations to allow it to get more points than its competitors, the other roses in the trials, and to earn a score above the minimum deemed necessary for the AARS certificate.

A more consumer-oriented set of rose trials is the Earth-Kind trials. Earth-Kind’s purpose is to advise rose buyers which roses have grown and bloomed well in a particular region without demanding a lot of chemical intervention and laborious care.

If you go to HelpMeFind and click on the Awards tab for any particular rose, you may see quite a lot of awards. Many of them are named for the place they’re held–Bagatelle (Paris), Baden, Belfast, etc.–while others are more regional (ADR). The top awards may be listed as First Place, or Gold Medal, or Gold Certificate–or something else, depending on the language and other factors.

RHA has arranged for trials in 2 locations, at American Rose Center near Shreveport, LA, and in Virginia Clemens Park in St. Cloud, MN. Three kinds of certificates may be earned if roses are scored high enough: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Entry fee is $25 per variety, and the trial lasts 2 years for most roses.

Thanks Peter.

So the points would be based on what breeders look for like disease and pest resistance, vigor, rebloom, fragrance, color fade (or not), etc., correct?

Yes, that’s right, Jeff.

Evaluators have a form which allots particular percentages for fragrance, flower form, productivity, absence of disease, and so on. You can probably get a copy of what the AARS evaluators used if you ask around.


Thanks. I appreciate the information

Peter, do we have a link to that information on our web page? I’ve heard told the Shreveport garden is underutilized, and wonder how many folks are even aware of what is involved in using our trial gardens.


Actually there is a link to that. Don put a lot of thought and design moxie into this web site, trying to cover the things we’d need, and right now the link is working. The last time I tried it, several weeks back, it did not work, but Don has fixed it again. The link seems to get broken every time there’s a new build for the Phorum software. If you’ll go to the top of this page and click on the Field Trials button (between Home and Forum), you will be taken to that page.

Let us know how you like it.

If you want to see it the way I prefer to see it, you may have to select the “Ruby” skin, but in any case you might want to go ahead and download those forms while the link is still working. The link for the Victoria Clemens RHA Northern Trials is not functional at this time, nor is the list of trial grounds winners.


[attachment 1612 phorumhead.jpg]

Thanks Peter, but I’m apparently misunderstanding where you mean… I had looked also at the home page and didn’t see it there either.

That’s pretty frustrating about the Phorum altering things… I don’t know that much about such, and do not mean to suggest work for other folks, but as a hypothetical, if the Phorum were presented inside a frame on a page within our hosted site, and the links were instead on the page which RHA controls, would that preclude the need for our webmaster to have to keep playing pop-a-mole with the Phorum changes? Anything that lessons the tedious work our dedicated volunteers put in is something I’m all for! (Did that make sense to any html proficient members out there?)

I might be able to try and help out with some web stuff in another month or two, but with a newborn infant en route, I have no idea what kind of commitment I could honestly make.

Thanks again.

Hmm. Try this–

Go into your Forum Control Center and select the Ruby skin. Then maybe my suggestion will work. But if it doesn’t, here is the link behind the Field Trials button. Here is what the top of my page looks like:

[attachment 1613 forumpagetop.jpg]

Here is my view of part of the Field Trials page:

[attachment 1614 fieldtrials2.jpg]

Once you get to the Field Trials page, you can download the forms for the Shreveport RHA trials. If that doesn’t work for you, you can use this link to download the forms.

So, one way or the other, we’ve got you covered.


Okay, it shows on the Ruby, but geesh, it’s gonna take me a while to get used to this new look! LOL

Thanks, Peter!

I was accustomed to the old look, and I wasn’t sure about the Ruby skin for a day or two, but I quickly found it much more attractive than the default (which is called Emerald Lite, if I remember correctly). If you stay with the Ruby for a week, I doubt you’ll want to go back to the default.


You always need to clear your browser cache and reload the page after switching between skins.

Thanks, Don, and thanks for all that you do for our website! I neglected to reply to Peter’s “Let us know how you like it” question. I like it very much! Thanks! I’ve never seen that information before now, and while I was aware that such existed, I didn’t know how to access it. (Not that I’m anywhere near the stage of being able to take advantage of it!)

I would love to have an in depth discussion on the processes and implications for entrants – such as concerns the possibility of future patenting/introduction of a publicly trialed rose. I don’t have any realistic hopes for such, but with entry fees, it might be nice to think there could be potential rewards should a rose really prove its mettle in a trial. (As an aside, I wonder if, as a membership incentive, it might be worth offering members a token (10%?) discount?)

I suppose the Earthkind trial, given its timeline, might be best left to already introduced cultivars.

Is it possible (and would it be easy enough?) to set the RHA Phorum default to Ruby skin so that those links would be visible everyone?

Thanks again.

Is it possible (and would it be easy enough?) to set the RHA Phorum default to Ruby skin so that those links would be visible everyone?

Sure but

  • the template is incomplete and breaks in odd ways whenever the membership software issues an update (aMember, not Phorum);

  • people seem to like the default Emerald Lite theme.

Thanks for your comments Philip but, frankly, I’m doubting whether it’s worth my time and effort to continue developing the website given the current level of member participation in managing the other aspects of our organization or even moving forward the planning discussions that are underway on the private side of the forum.

I do see some benefits to the default, particularly where photos are involved. In Ruby, the text flows in weird ways around photos and it can be difficult to decipher labels in the text where many photos are involved.

Don, at some point down the road, I may be able to help out some with the website. I would need a certain amount of training however.

But back on topic

I know there was a thread addressing the patent laws, and discussing the implications of releasing any information pertaining to a new cultivar. Can anyone comment/start a conversation on those implications as they pertain to trialing new cultivars? Any workarounds?