Robust, shimmering white flowers won the hearts of judges at the 2016 Biltmore International Rose Trials in October, propelling Polar Express® Sunbelt® to top honors in the competition. Bred by Kordes, the prolific bloomer was awarded the George and Edith Vanderbilt Award for Most Outstanding Rose of the Trials. In addition to the highest award, Polar Express® Sunbelt® (Rosa KORblixmu) also received the Edith Wharton Award for Best Floribunda, as well as the William Cecil Award for Best Growth Habit.
A shrub rose introduced in 2014, Polar Express® Sunbelt® grows to about four feet tall by 3 feet wide in full sun; it is hardy in zones 5 to 9.
Additional winners this year were:
- Honeymoon Arborose, bred by Kordes (R. KORhemtra), winner of the Gilded Age Award for Best Climber and the Lord Burleigh Award for Most Disease Resistant
- Double 10, bred by Ping Lim (R. LIM10), winner of the Pauline Merrell Award for Best Hybrid Tea
- The Lark Ascending, bred by David Austin Roses (R. Ausursula), winner of the Chauncey Beadle Award for Best Shrub
Biltmore’s rose trials last two years, and a permanent jury judges the roses four times per year. This year’s final round of competition started with 31 entries planted in 2014 from Canada, the U.S., France, Ireland, Great Britain and Germany.
Competing roses are evaluated for overall health and vigor; fragrance; disease resistance; and ability to repeat bloom.
Biltmore’s Rose Garden receives Award of Garden Excellence
During the finals of the competition, Biltmore’s rosarian Emily Wilson and past American Rose Society president Jolene Adams unveiled an award in honor of Biltmore’s historic Rose Garden: the World Federation of Rose Societies Award of Garden Excellence. Biltmore’s rose garden is one of only 10 gardens in the United States and 62 worldwide to receive it.
Located at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, the rose garden is part of the more than 8,000-acre grounds originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, which includes Olmsted’s 75-acre formal gardens that surround the house. More than 250 varieties of roses are tended by the estate’s horticultural experts.