American Garden Rose Selections (AGRS) has announced its winning rose selections for 2016. You may recall that the national testing organization for roses, AARS, (All America Rose Selections) went out business three years ago, and AGRS was formed in its wake. AGRS is a non-profit organization, a consortium of rose pros and members of the American Rose Society who wanted national rose tests for the average American gardener.
The new awards system is slightly different in that scoring is weighted 30 percent for disease resistance, and there's a fragrance award for the rose with the best scent. There are now 12 test gardens throughout the country, and winning roses must have an 80 percent score in at least three of six regions.
Dee-Lish® Rose (Rosa 'Meiclusif') (Star Roses)
Dee-Lish. a hybrid tea available from Star Roses, won the 2016 fragrance award. It has a strong fragrance of citrus and verbena, and has large, deep pink flowers and semi-glossy foliage. Hybridized by Meilland International, it reaches a height of about six feet and is hardy to zone 5.
Look-A-Likes® Phloxy Baby Rose
Also from Star Roses, this is a shrub/polyantha rose hybridized by Will Radler, the man behind 'Knock Out' roses. It won a 2016 regional award, as it does well in the Southeast, North Central, and Northwest parts of the country. It's most useful as a hedge, has great disease resistance, and is more upright than most polyanthas. It has small pink petals, it attracts bees, and is hardy to zone 5. It attains a height of about five and a half feet with a slightly smaller spread.
Thomas Affleck Rose
(Rosa 'Thomas Affleck')
Bred by the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas, this shrub rose with deep pink repeat blooms also won a regional award for the Northeast, South Central, and Northwest parts of the country. It can be used in the garden as a specimen and is also suitable for containers, particularly because of its nice scent and because it is thornless. It gets three to five high and is hardy to zone 5.