Most roses sold in Australia are raised by rose breeders in the northern hemisphere where the climate is very different. 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:
- pest and disease tolerance
- habit of growth
- impact of the display
- beauty of blooms
- abundance of flowering
The results are announced at the end of the trial and the best performing roses receive an award.