Opinions about rose ratings

sara_ann-z6bokMarch 27, 2014

I used to put a lot of credence in rose ratings, but any more I don't pay any attention to those. What made me think of this is a lovely picture of Talisman that Beth has posted on the Rose Gallery. I do recall when I did pay attention to those ratings, it had a very low one, lower than 5.0. And it seems like when a picture was included, they must have used the ugliest one they could find. I have no clue about Talisman, but that low rating gave me a pre-conceived opinion about it that may have not been deserved. Another example is Queen Elizabeth. It used to have a high rating, I think maybe a 9.0, but then it dropped. QE has been one of my best roses. This is something I've wondered about, because roses do perform so differently, depending on where they are grown. I am wondering what some of you think about rose ratings?

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diane_nj 6b/7a

Sara-Ann, are you asking about the ratings from the American Rose Society "Handbook for Selecting Roses"? A little background. The ratings in the handbook are the averages from the "Roses in Review" (RIR) survey held each year by the ARS (you'll see me post about the survey every June or so). The bulk of the respondents are from the south and California. So, the results are skewed towards those areas. Your district RIR Coordinator should have the results from raters in your area, drop me an email, and I'll send the name.

Now, older roses like QE are only rated at special times, they are not rated every year. I think the next big survey is next year (I'll need to check).

The best information is directly from growers in your area. Contact a local Consulting Rosarian, or local rose society. Also, what might be a "5" in my garden, could be a "9" in yours, even in the same local area. If you like a rose, you can decide to take the risk and try it for yourself, you might be very pleased.

If you are not talking about the Handbook ratings, then you would have to ask the source of the numbers, and how they were generated.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 8:16AM
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Thank you Diane - Yes, that is the one I am asking about.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 1:50PM
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Maryl zone 7a

The ratings in the ARS handbook are from across the country. The west coast has a unique environment that is kinder to roses then say in Oklahoma. But they are included with everyones ratings so that a general overall average can be reached. At one time the ARS tried posting ratings from different sectors of the United States, but amazingly enough, the ratings weren't that much different in regions as diverse as Kansas to Florida. Beth does an amazing job with roses, but from friends I've talked to in California, roses that have shown a sensitivity to weather or disease in my area do much better in theirs. I use the ARS ratings and am glad they are there as a guide post. I'm also into daylilies and I can tell you that having only the hybridizers description to go on as to a cultivars merits (the daylily people have no generalized rating system such as the rose people do), is less then helpful. I am fully appreciative of the ARS efforts to at least give people a glimpse of what others have experienced with a particular rose variety. .........Maryl

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 2:33PM
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I ignore "nationwide" ratings, as I have learned that roses like some places, and hate others, so an "average" rating is meaningless. We do not grow roses "nationwide", we grow them in specific places.

I have found that observation in my own garden, or in gardens near mine, is the best. Next and almost as good is getting opinions of people who grow roses in similar climates to mine - nearby or far away - I get value from Australians, people who live in Greece, Southern France, and So Africa, because they have climates similar to mine.

Worst is taking advice from some of the fabulous rose books which come out of England, at least the older ones - most of them assume that roses are only grown where they grow them. One I was reading said that tea roses were "no hopers", without any qualification, for example. Another author from the UK said that the only reason to grow or know about tea roses was because they were ancestors of the HTs, and although useless as garden plants, were interesting historically!


    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 3:07PM
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Things like bloom form and general attractiveness don't differ no matter where you are but rose vigor and hardiness determine how a rose performs so a rating can guide you especially if you are in a cold zone. Here in SoCal everything grows incredibly well so ratings don't mean anything as far as how well a rose grows. Some roses look different in cooler rather than hotter weather but you still get the full range here in SoCal so you will get to see every rose at its' peak of perfection.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 3:28PM
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I decided I would do a little research and try to find a few rose ratings since I don't have a handbook. I did find a few. Sometimes it does seem like they are right on, but then other times not that much. I think being on this forum is a good way to learn what some of the better roses are, because we are from different areas and you can observe which roses seem to be the all around best. I don't want to totally bash the ARS ratings, it seems like though I used to pre-judge a rose by those ratings and I don't think that rating should be the last word on how good a particular rose is, that comes from personal experience with several varieties.

Jackie - It is kind of sad that a class of rose would be deemed unworthy. I personally am not experienced in growing teas, but there are some real beauties in the group and I am planning to try a few in the future.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 8:17AM
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Sara-Ann, although I am told it is possible to grow tea roses in your zone, they really like warm weather and not too cold winters. However, you can grow the old European roses, which my garden does not have enough "winter chill" for. That's what I mean - different roses prefer different climates. I would encourage you to look around your neighborhood and town when the Spring flush is going (May or June for you? Ours is starting right now), and find roses that are happy and that you like.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 10:58AM
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seil zone 6b MI

I do look at the ratings in the ARS book but mostly I'm looking for the real dogs. You can't always go by the top scores because you don't know how a rose will preform in you conditions but I figure if it's a bad rose in enough places to get a really low score it's probably going to be lousy for me too. I try to avoid those if at all possible. I made the exception with Snowfire because my brother really loved it and it proved itself to be just as bad as they said it was. I ended up shovel pruning it after even my brother said it was a lousy rose, lol.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:40PM
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Jackie - Yes, I do realize teas need the warmer temps. My zone is right on the edge. I posed that very question recently on the Antique Forum, because I am concerned about that very thing. Some have let me know it may be possible with some extra precautions. I do appreciate you letting me know that though. Last year I planted Rose de Rescht, Mme Isaac Pereire, Zephirine Drouhin and Reine des Violettes and they are all looking great. Are those some of the European types you mean, and would you have any other suggestions? TIA

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:50PM
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Maryl zone 7a

Rose de Rescht grew well in my zone 7a garden for over 20 years. The only thing that finally did it in was RRV (rrd).......Maryl

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 3:28PM
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idixierose(z8b Coastal SC)

I find the ARS rose ratings to be a concise description of the quality and vigor of a rose.

Most roses rated 8.0 and higher are really good roses -- strong, vigorous plants and high-quality blooms.

Those rated lower than 6.0 tend to be problematic in one way or another.

Personally, I'm pleased when a rose I like has a high rating, but I also have many lower-rated roses that I love just as much.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 1:21PM
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