Allen D. Owings | 12/22/2005 10:57:39 PM
At the start of the year, several new varieties of ornamental plants debut. Winning rose varieties are among the most anticipated.
For 2006, the All-America Rose Selections (AARS) has selected as its winners the varieties Rainbow Sorbet, Wild Blue Yonder, Julia Child and Tahitian Sunset.
Rainbow Sorbet is a floribunda rose. LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Allen Owings explains that floribunda are hybrids noted for small to medium-size flowers in a profusion of clusters.
Rainbow Sorbet flowers are mixed shades of bright yellow, orange and red that gradually fade to light yellow and pink. Flowers have 15-18 petals. This variety is a descendant of the popular Playboy. Owings says it has good hardiness and is less prone to black spot disease than many roses grown in Louisiana. It is being introduced by the Conard-Pyle Company/Star Roses.
Wild Blue Yonder is a lavender rose. This is the first rose of that color to be designated an AARS winner since 1984. Combinations of wine purple and rich lavender color the petals. Some citrus and rose flower fragrance is evident. This is a shrub rose with abundant, deep green foliage. Wild Blue Yonder is being introduced by Weeks Roses.
Julia Child is named for the late popular and award-winning chef. This variety is a floribunda that combines old-fashioned style with a strong sweet licorice and spice fragrance. Flowers are medium-size and have 35 petals per flower. Owings describes their color as a warm butter cream. He says it has good disease resistance and bright super glossy foliage. This new AARS variety is being introduced by Weeks Roses.
Tahitian Sunset is a brightly hued hybrid tea. Blossoms start from high-centered orange-yellow buds and open to peach apricot-pink petals with yellow highlights. Plants are vigorous and flowers have about 30 petals each. Some licorice fragrance occurs and foliage is semi-glossy. Owings says this rose would be a great focal point in the garden. It is being introduced by Jackson and Perkins.
The AgCenter horticulturist notes that AARS display gardens are located in three parts of the state – at the Botanical Gardens at City Park in New Orleans, at the LSU AgCenter’s Burden Center in Baton Rouge and at the American Rose Center in Shreveport.
Owings says most garden centers have the best availability of rose varieties from February through April. He says the late winter and early spring are the perfect time to plant these new winners.
For related gardening and landscape information, click on the Lawn and Garden link at the LSU AgCenter Web site, www.lsuagcenter.com. Also, contact the county agent in your local parish LSU AgCenter office.