Horizon Roses 2017

Excerpts of Preface to Horizon Roses 2017

By Robert B. Martin Jr.


The rain is plentious but, by God’s decree, 
Only a third is meant for you and me; 
Two-thirds are taken by the growing things 
Or vanish Heavenward on vapour’s wings: 
Nor does it mathematically fall 
With social equity on one and all. 
The population’s habit is to grow 
In every region where the water’s low:
Nature is blamed for failings that are Man’s, 
And well-run rivers have to change their plans

― A. P. Herbert (1890-1972)

I continue my tradition in recent years of welcoming the reader to the newest edition of Horizon Roses with a discussion of the weather. Although I have less to say, this year will be no exception and so I introduce you to this the 34th edition of Horizon Roses with yet another verse on rain. And, with that introduction, I restate our mission, which is as always, to spread sunshine 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.

Rain . . . or plenty thereof.

As to the weather, I commented last year on the failure of the record El Niño event of 2015-2016 to bring rain in record proportions. And, to cross everyone up, Mother Nature produced in 2016-2017 drought-busting rain in the West of record proportions, leading to the most spectacular spring bloom in my 45 years of growing roses. Meanwhile, in the rest of the country there were once again alternating reports of heavy rain, or lack of rain, and heat, more so than cold, with overall more of the continued warming trend resulting from climate change, which rosarians now pretty much acknowledge is going on. I continue to eschew comment (or understanding) of how increasing taxation or implementing the peculiar concept of cap and trade can or will do anything about that; rather, my interest continues to be in growing good roses and my experience is that roses tend to grow better when it is warmer, provided they get the additional water that warmer weather suggests they will require. Roses also tend to recycle faster in warmer weather and so differences in weather do affect our ability to time roses for shows, as well as the optimal timing for staging shows. Other than these generalities, I don’t have much more to add other than to suggest that if you are interested in following California weather like I do, then there is a very good blog brought to us by Weather West 

Canker in Texas and the Southwest

Of more pressing concern are serious reports emanating from Texas – and indeed throughout the Southwest – of a canker that it seriously affecting the gardens of exhibitors there. Tommy Hebert of Beaumont, Texas was unable to submit much of a report on new varieties; instead he reports: “Since the rose canker invasion in south Texas, and the subsequent near demise of most of my plants, I have devoted most of my time to resuscitation of the poor things.” Gerald Jones was unable to submit a report altogether with the distressing news: “Last year I had rose canker and all my roses have died. All I have left of about 450 bushes is 30 mini and mf that were in pots and they don’t look like they are going make it. All of us (Premeaux, Dardeau, Hebert, and my brother Mike Jones) have lost a great many bushes. I have been told canker is also in Corpus and San Antonio.” 

Similar reports have also been received from Southern California and Arizona, and I have also seen many examples of a canker in our garden, as well a sin the gardens of the leading San Diego exhibitors. 

“Canker” is a symptom, rather than a disease itself and there are many pathogens identified that cause canker, or dieback of canes. The problem here is that the pathogen in question appears to compromise the vascular system of the canes leading to dieback when the cane is stressed by heat and lack of water. It appears to be no coincidence that the problem is being reported in areas that are noted for being hot and dry. With the vascular system compromised, hot weather brings on the dieback identified as canker. At the same time the pathogen that caused the problem in the first place may well be long gone and it becomes impossible to culture and identify it. Other pathogens that are opportunistic and affect dead and dying tissue can then move in and be wrongly identified as the pathogen that caused the problem in the first place.

Discussion with rosarians and those studying the disease have centered on the usual suspects, including downy mildew, anthracnose and phytophthora. Other research appears to be centering on a form of botrytis, perhaps a strain of botryosphaeria as described by Horst in the Compendium of Rose Diseases. Botryosphaeria is itself an opportunistic pathogen, and typically cannot infect a plant other than through an open wound of a stressed host.

Agreement on an effective treatment has not been reached although it appears clear that cutting back the affected canes as soon as possible is the first step in treatment. Clearys 3336 F or another fungicide with the active ingredient Thiophanate-Methyl has been suggested as a solution. Other research suggests that one of the strobilurons such as Heritage with the active ingredient Azoxystrobin might be a solution. Since the pathogen is internal to the cane, I have also been experimenting with apparant success with a soil drench of Subdue MAXX at 4-month intervals. Most recently I have been using the biological fungicide Actinovate AG, which contains the biological agent Streptomyces lydicus that is said to establish itself on plants’ roots. Of interest, that one carries an OMRI label and is acceptable for use in organic garden. So far it appears to be working but then again I also use other fungicides so it is not clear what may be working, or whether the weather is simply no longer conducive to the disease. 

This subject is clearly worthy of study and an extensive article, so I will leave that subject to be further explored another day. Feedback from readers on their own experienced would be appreciated.

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 2017 edition of Horizon Roses contains comments by 91 reporters. Of that number 10 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. 

I pause here to reflect with sadness on the death of Sandy Lundberg this year. Sandy was a close personal friend of ours, dating back to my first meeting with her and Bob in national competition in 1997. She gave an annual program titled, “Sandy’s Picks” that was well known to exhibitors and based each year on her Horizon Roses report (or perhaps the other way around.) She together with her husband Bob were awesome exhibitors with numerous national trophies to their credit. She also served as Vice Chairman of the Horticultural Exhibitors Committee with me for many years. I was always able to count on her and to say that she is missed is understatement. I extend our heartfelt sympathies to Bob Lundberg on his loss.

The 2017 Edition

The 2017 Edition of Horizon Roses brings us a total of 1,524 reports, down from the 1,604 reports recorded last year. This is a decline of 5% and continues a decline over the last five years. At the same time, reports were received on 237 varieties, compared to 235 varieties last year, a small increase.

My annual “Box Score” opposite summarizes the 2017 reports received on various varieties. For the seventh consecutive year, there were more reports on HTs than any other classification, suggesting that continued reports on the death of the hybrid tea are exaggerated. Reports on floribundas dropped another 15%, while the number of reports on minifloras and miniatures both increased. The average number of reports per reporter held fairly steady at 16.7 reports, compared to 16.9 reports last year. 

The 2017 edition also marks the sixth edition of the publication of Horizon Roses in an electronic version both for the Kindle and as a pdf. The 2016 edition continues 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 2017 edition, I have included 191 photos, representing over 73% 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, 2016 and come from the show results submitted to www.roseshow.com. Historically, this covers about 90% of U.S. show results.

Duftjuwel and Other Name Gems

Those looking for reports on roses in your garden may well find that the AEN or approved exhibition name of the rose is nothing like the name that came with the rose when you bought it. For example, the rose you bought as “Dark Desire” must be shown as ‘Grafin Diana’. “Canyon Road” is for show purposes, ‘Scarlet Bonica’; “First Crush” is ‘Constanze Mozart; and “Poseidon” is really ‘Novaris’. Then there is my personal favorite bad example, namely “Princesse Charlene De Monaco” which must be shown as “Duftjuwel’.


For purposes of this publication I have listed the comments under the correct AEN with cross-references. In doing so I do not intend to imply that I think this is the way it should be. I believe the reason we put a name on a rose in a rose show is two-fold: (1) to assure that the same variety in an alphabetcial show is in one place for judging, and (2) to educate the viewer as to the identity of the rose. There is simply no way that a viewer looking at a rose called ‘Scarlet Bonica’ is going to know this is the same rose being sold at their local nursery as “Canyon Road”. And by insisting on a different name we get entries, often by new exhibitors, disqualified – thereby discouraging showing roses.

The AENs are brought to us by our ARS registration folk who evidently assign names based on the first use of the rose in international commerce. But that does not explain why they don’t change it when the rose reaches the U. S. under a new and different name. This needs to be changed and since I likely have some influence in this matter, I am going to see what needs to be done to change it.

P.S. Duftjuwel roughly translated from the German means: “fragrance gem”.

How to Order Horizon Roses 2017

Horizon Roses 2017 is available in electronic format for Kindle at a price of $9.95. It can be ordered at Amazon 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 2017 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