|Ta da, this year's big winner at Biltmore|
Last year, a part-time hybridizer made history when one of his creations won Best in Show at the first Biltmore International Rose Trials competition in Asheville, North Carolina.
Mike Athy of Gisborne, New Zealand entered his climbing/groundcover rose (temporarily known as Athyfalaa) in 2011 and after eight rounds of judging over two years it was declared the winner in five of eleven categories.
This year another amateur, Robert Neal Rippetoe, took top honors with “Miracle on the Hudson”, a vibrant shrub named to salute the Captain, crew and passengers of US Airways Flight 1549. Rippetoe’s rose also won for Best Shrub Rose, Best Growth Habit and Most Disease Resistant. Some of his other introductions include “Buttercream”, “June Anne” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
|The Biltmore Rose Garden was nothing less than spectacular|
No fungicides or insecticides are used on these roses and any entry that displays disease over 25% of the bush is removed from the competition.
Each trial lasts two years and a permanent jury judges the roses four times annually. I am fortunate to be on that permanent panel (despite the fact it can be mighty cold out in the gardens in mid-January.)
|The Biltmore Estate and its glorious gardens are a must-see|
The roses judged this year were from Canada, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Germany, the UK and the United States. 29 roses planted in 2012 made it to the finals (the roses are displayed by a numerical code and names are not known to the judges.) An international panel from across the rose world joined our permanent group to select the pick of the posies.
Lest you think only newbies are snapping up awards, many luminaries of rosedom also made the head table.
“Munstead Wood” hybridized by David Austin English Roses was named Most Fragrant.
|My Munstead Woods are almost always in bloom|
And the stunner “Bajazzo” from Kordes of Germany won Best Climber.
|Bajazzo bewitched judges|
New rose varieties are planted for the trials each May. These bushes are evaluated for garden performance, fragrance, disease resistance and usability in a variety of landscape situations. The next awards will be in 2015 for the trials planted in 2013.
I judged the 2013 hopefuls as part of my duties Saturday.
I saw some amazing entries, so I fully expect more wonderous events to materialize next May.