Richard Bogren, Owings, Allen D. | 2/5/2015 11:56:33 PM
News Release Distributed 02/05/15
HAMMOND, La. – Belinda’s Dream rose is no stranger to awards. It was the first rose to be named a Texas Superstar selection and was the first rose to receive the prestigious Earth-Kind designation by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Earth-Kind roses are selected for their tough constitution, disease resistance, attractive growth habit, low maintenance requirements and attractive flowers.
Rose growers and enthusiasts in Louisiana and Mississippi have long been impressed with the great landscape performance of Belinda’s Dream and the nice cut flowers that this shrub rose provides, said LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings. “Hence, the Gulf District of the American Rose Society has named Belinda’s Dream as the inaugural winner of their Gulf District Rose of the Year honor.”
Belinda’s Dream rose was created by rose breeder Robert Bayse, a mathematics professor at Texas A&M University who bred roses for most of his life. Following his retirement, Bayse continued to breed roses on his 50-acre property in Caldwell, Texas.
Belinda’s Dream was developed as a cross between Tiffany and Jersey Beauty, but Bayse had to be convinced to release the variety. It has now been on the market since the early 1990s and is widely popular in the southeastern and south central United States.
“Many of the tough, resilient landscape roses that perform so well for us have flowers that are nice, but they’re nothing like the beautiful hybrid tea flowers that epitomize the ideal rose flower,” Owings said. “The outstanding Knock Out rose is a great example of a rose that performs like a trooper in the landscape, but it has open, semi-double flowers that leave a lot to be desired in the minds of many gardeners.”
Like hybrid teas, however, the high-centered buds of Belinda’s Dream gracefully unfurl to create an exquisitely shaped, fully double flower. “This is a rose with all of the toughness and disease resistance of Knock Out but produces the beautiful flowers so many of us crave,” Owings said.
The large flowers are a clear, medium pink and generally reach about 4 inches across. The fragrance may be rich or light, depending on the time of year and time of day you smell them. Flower production begins in April and continues in flush after flush through the heat of summer and into December, with only brief rests between periods of bloom.
The foliage is also notable, Owings said. A rich, dark green with slight bluish undertones, the attractive foliage is a wonderful backdrop for the flowers and looks great when these roses are cut for indoor arrangements.
Left alone, this plant will easily grow to be about 5 feet tall by 5 feet wide over time. But like most ever-blooming roses, it will be fuller, shapelier and more vigorous if it is pruned back once or twice a year. This can also keep it to a smaller size, if desired.
The heaviest pruning should be done in late January to early February when the bushes are cut back by about one-third to one-half, Owings said. A second pruning in late August or early September is generally lighter, with the bushes cut back by about one-quarter to one-third.
After pruning, the roses should be fertilized with a general-purpose fertilizer or rose fertilizer following label directions.
This low-maintenance rose does not want to be pampered, Owings said. Water it occasionally during dry weather the first year or two after planting. Once it is established, this rose, as with most tough landscape roses, rarely requires supplemental irrigation.
“More problems with these roses are likely created by overwatering than by anything else,” Owings said. “If extraordinarily dry weather does occur and irrigation is necessary, water deeply and thoroughly no more often than once a week.”
Mulching roses with 2 or 3 inches of pine straw reduces maintenance by suppressing weed issues and conserving soil moisture.
Belinda’s Dream does not need to be sprayed with fungicides, Owings said. Plant foliage stays free from major disease problems like black spot. “You can spray spinosad or horticultural oil for most insect problems.”
“With its beautiful flowers, excellent disease resistance, attractive growth habit and low maintenance requirements, Belinda’s Dream rose is a well-justified to be an award-winning plant,” Owings said.
“Most independent retail garden centers in the region carry this great variety,” he added. “It is worthy of more use.”