National Rose Trial Garden

Most roses sold in Australia are raised by rose breeders in the northern hemisphere where the climate is very different to that of Australia. It stands to reason that they may not perform well in Australian conditions.

The National Rose Trial Garden was started in 1996 to help the rose industry establish which roses not yet for sale in Australia are best suited to our climate.

The Garden is the first of its kind in the country. It is a joint venture between the Botanic Gardens of South Australia, the National Rose Society of Australia and the rose industry.

Being able to determine which roses will succeed in Australian conditions offers a significant economic advantage for the Australian rose industry.

A trial takes place over two growing seasons (two years) and all plants are treated equally with regard to horticultural practices.

Depending on the type of rose, each entry consists of three, four or six plants, identified only by a code number. All other details are only known to the Trial Coordinator and the agent responsible for the entry.

The roses are judged by a panel of 10 experienced rosarians who allocate points every month over the two growing seasons. Points are awarded based on predetermined criteria:

  • health
  • vigour
  • hardiness
  • pest and disease tolerance
  • habit of growth
  • impact of the display
  • beauty of blooms
  • abundance of flowering
  • fragrance
  • novelty

The results are announced at the end of the trial and the best performing roses receive an award.

People's Choice Weekend

Every year the general public are invited to inspect the new cultivars growing in the National Rose Trial Garden and then to vote for their favourite roses.

Volunteers are on hand to instruct the interested attendees in the process of judging roses. The event is normally held towards the end of the growing season and is usually a weekend in early April.

The winning rose cultivar is announced as part of the National Rose Trial Annual Awards that occur in October.

In recent years, it also coincides with the Rose Society of South Australia’s annual Autumn Rose Show and a spectacular blooming time in any healthy rose garden in Australia.

A team of dedicated volunteers contribute thousands of hours to help expert botanic garden staff to tend to this high maintenance garden.

Events like People’s Choice bring together volunteers, botanic garden staff and horticultural industries.

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