The Somervell County Master Gardeners Association became a part of the National Earth-Kind Rose Trials in 2008. The research-based program began in 2005 and was started by the Texas A&M Extension horticulturists. During the three-year trial, no fertilizer or pesticides are applied to the plants, no pruning is ever done, and no spent blossoms are removed. The roses may be watered whenever it is necessary the first year. During year two and three, water may only be applied if the plants are in danger of dying.

On March 10, 2008, six varieties of roses, replicated three times, were planted in three blocks/sections at the southwest entrance of Heritage Park. Each rose bush has a stone tablet in front of it identifying the variety. The roses have grown considerably the past year and survived our unusual winter without too many problems. With the arrival of spring, we expect to see abundant growth and blossoms.

We are now entering the second phase of the trial and this involves recording data monthly on the rose’s progress. Some of the things that we will be checking are the health of the foliage, abundance of blossoms, leaf drop, presence of hips and retention of old flower petals. In the future, if we are able to collect the necessary funds, we would like to install a split rail fence around the perimeter of the bed to deter animals from entering the garden but not prevent people from walking around in the garden. We would like to encourage you to stop by and smell the roses!