Horizon Roses 2018

Excerpts of Preface to Horizon Roses 2018

By Robert B. Martin Jr.


Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

― Anonymous British

I continue tradition in recent years of welcoming the reader to the newest edition of Horizon Roses with a verse on the weather. And, with that introduction, I restate our mission, which is as always, to spread sunshine whatever the weather by providing you the reader with comments from the top national rose exhibitors on the exhibition potential of the newest hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, miniflora and miniature roses.

Extreme Weather

As for the weather, Friday, July 6 brought an extreme heat event to our Escondido rose garden, with the temperature reaching 118ºF. To put that into perspective, it has never in the history of Escondido, or at least the weather recorded history of Escondido, reached 118ºF. In fact, the previous high temperature for July 6 was 98ºF, which means that the high temperature record was broken by 20ºF.

The roses did not like it. In particularly those in direct sunlight facing south, and those near walls or other reflective heat sources, suffered the most. There was extensive foliar damage, burned canes and in at least a dozen cases, young bushes simply turned brown and died. In short the garden looked as if someone had walked through it with a flamethrower. And, to add insult to injury, the temperature on the day following reached 108ºF, and the next day 101ºF. 

It is not as if I am without experience in growing roses in temperatures that exceed 100ºF. From 2002 to 2008 Dona and I gardened in Gilbert, Arizona, in the so-called “Valley of the Sun”. My first full summer in Arizona saw a record set of 120 consecutive days of temperatures over 100ºF. The last summer I was there saw a record of 34 total days with temperatures of 110ºF or more. Summertime in Arizona is a tough time to be growing roses and yet I can tell you that in their two seasons (April and November), roses in Arizona can be as beautiful as anywhere in the U.S.

I have found that the “tipping point” for foliar damage to roses is 110ºF. At temperatures above 90ºF roses reportedly transpirate water faster than they can take it up, with the blooms wilting. But they hang in there, especially if there is some humidity to help with their hydration. At 110ºF, however, they often give up – or rather burn up.

Of concern are the reports that extreme weather and climate events have increased in recent decades, and the evidence suggests that some of these increases are related to human activities. In particular, the number of heat waves appears to have been increasing in recent years, and most climate scientists believe that human-induced climate change has generally increased the probability of extreme heat.

Well maybe they’re right and maybe they’re not. For a rose exhibitor, however, that is not the question. The weather is what it is and I have suspected for years that all weather is weird, and “normal” weather is simply an arithmetic average of weird weather. The question is what to do about it to grow show-quality roses. I recall learning years ago the quotation attributed to Mark Twain: “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” As a rose exhibitor I know I need to do something about the weather, and since I can’t change the weather, extreme or otherwise, I need to do things that ameliorate the effects of the weather on my roses. 

So what to do? You are probably reading this because you are a rosarian that wants to grow beautiful show-quality roses. That given you know the answer has something to do with water. Roses are sun plants and they need lots of water. And, in areas like Escondido and the desert Southwest where we are not troubled by blackspot, an overhead shower of water benefits roses. A blast of water on the undersides of the leaves also attacks the spider mites that thrive on the hot weather and suck the moisture from the leaves. There is no such thing as a drought-resistant rose, and trials that deprive roses of supplemental water that otherwise neglect them to see which will be the last to die are worthless to those of us who want to grow beautiful roses. In short, if you want to deal with extreme weather, you need to care for your roses.

Extreme Disease and Pests

Speaking of extreme weather, I also pause to comment on some extreme disease and pest problems we have had to confront in recent years. The pests include Japanese beetles in the East, midge in the Midwest and chilli thrips across the South. These extreme pests cause significant damage to show roses and without exception require close management and in the case of midge and chilli thrips, appropriate chemical controls. Exhibitors spray their roses, and that is a fact of growing roses. In short, if you want to deal with extreme pests, you need to care for your roses.

I recently attended the annual meeting of the National Clean Plant Network-Roses, a collaboration of academic, scientific and industry representatives focused on the prevention and control of viral diseases of roses. Much of the program focused on Rose Rosette Virus (RRV), which is a major threat to the rose industry. The presentations were outstanding and the talks by scientists and industry participants showed great progress in diagnosing, and understanding RRV. My take away was that the diligence in the garden to identify and promptly remove symptomatic plants will go a long way to the management of the disease by the home gardener and the exhibitor. The primary threat is to the landscape use of roses, where large stands of untended roses – often sold by landscapers as requiring no maintenance at all – become infected and the infection is spread to further stands of untended roses. The rose hobbyist and the rose exhibitor can manage the disease through cultural controls. In short, if you want to deal with extreme diseases like RRV, you need to monitor and care for your roses.

Extreme Exhibiting

My point in this introduction should by now be clear. We exhibitors know we need to care for roses in order for them to be all that they can be. Rose exhibitors have been dealing with extreme events since the first rose was placed on the table to be judged. I imagine exhibitors in other fields have major challenges as well. Does anyone go to a dog show to learn about disease-resistant dogs? I doubt it. In fact, I think it is part of the nature of all exhibiting to overcome the challenges, extreme or otherwise, in order that beauty may prevail. Roses are the most beautiful flowers in God’s creation. Let us not be ashamed of them. Let’s continue to grow beautiful roses and show all who would come to learn how beautiful roses can be.

Regional Editors and Reporters

Returning to this edition, I note as before that Horizon Roses is produced entirely by volunteers under my direction as National Editor and the direction of eight regional editors. The regional editors solicit and compile the comments from selected top exhibitors in their region and forward them to me for final compilation.

Through the efforts of the editors, the 2018 edition of Horizon Roses contains comments by exactly100 reporters. That is up from 91 last year. Of that number 20 reporters are “new” (many not so new but back again after a break), all offsetting a number that were unable to participate this year for a variety of reasons. The reporters are from 24 different States and show the national character of the reports.

My compilation of the list of reporters took place just after the 2018 Triennial Election of the American Rose Society. And, having just reviewed the election returns, I was struck by the fact that a significant number of our reporters are also involved in the administration of the American Rose Society at its highest levels. Most readers are aware that I am being installed this year as President of the American Rose Society. Diane Sommers, our Regional Editor for the North Central area has been elected Vice President and will succeed me as President. President Emeritus Jim Hering is a long time reporter. Cindy Dale, our Regional Editor for the Southeastern area has been elected Deep South District Director. Other reporters include ARS Directors Richard Anthony, Debra Bagley, Linda Clark, Caroline Fredette, Don Myers, Gary Osborn, and Ralph Stream. That is extraordinary and I think it means that exhibitors matter.

The 2018 Edition

The 2018 Edition of Horizon Roses brings us a total of 1,590 reports, up from the 1,524 reports recorded last year. This is a small increase of 4% and reverses an annual decline over the preceding six years. Reports were received on 252 varieties, compared to 237 varieties last year, also a small increase.

My annual “Box Score” below summarizes the 2018 reports received on various varieties. Reversing a trend in recent years, there were more reports on minifloras than any other classification. Reports on hybrid teas and grandifloras are down somewhat, while reports on floribundas, minifloras and miniatures all increased. The average number of reports per reporter held fairly steady at 15.9 reports, compared to 16.7 reports last year. 

The 2018 edition also marks the seventh edition of the publication of Horizon Roses in an electronic version both for the Kindle and as a pdf. The 2017 and earlier editions continue to be available from Amazon for the Kindle. The reasons for this change have been previously explained, including the cost of printing and postage, and the editorial problems in fitting all the comments into the funny looking mailer that had been used for so many years. These were compelling reasons but certainly the best has been the ability to include color photographs, an addition that continues to receive great praise from the readers. For the 2018 edition, I have included 201 photos, representing nearly 80% of the varieties on which reports were received. I have also continued my efforts to improve the quality of the pictures, to which I credit a number of contributors, including my beautiful wife Dona who is an excellent rose photographer.

Considering the quality of the photographs, it is once again useful to remind readers that, in the case of show roses, a picture is not worth a thousand comments. But it is worth a lot when considered along with the comments on the rose. Photographs preserve a moment in time and, in the case of roses, often that moment when the rose looks its very best, a moment that may be fleeting or infrequent. But one good bloom every once in awhile is not enough to make a rose a great show rose.

To add further information on the show quality of the roses, I have again provided information on actual show results to date for the reported roses. This information is set forth in parentheses at the beginning of the comments. A key to the abbreviations is set forth somewhere at the end of this edition. The results reported are current through July 31, 2018 and come from the show results submitted to www.roseshow.com. Historically, this covers about 90% of U.S. show results.

In considering actual show results, it is good to remember that these roses are new and many have yet to have reached the shows. Others have very limited distribution. So the lack of show success to date may have little bearing on their future success. On the other hand, we do publish reports for five years on new roses. A lack of show success for roses introduced in 2014 and 2015 is therefore suspect. 

How to Order Horizon Roses 2018

Horizon Roses 2018 is available in electronic format for Kindle at a price of $9.95. It can be ordered at Amazon.com here. 


Those without a Kindle can download the free Kindle Reading App for iPad, iPhone, Android phone or whatever else they read on. Detail on that is here:


Horizon Roses 2018 is also available as a PDF directly from the editor at the same price. For further information, contact:

Bob Martin, Editor
Horizon Roses
3291 Old Oak Tree Lane
Escondido, CA 92026-8416


Contact RoseShow.com at PetRose@aol.com