Al Olson, a volunteer with the Dallas Arboretum and the speaker at last week’s Somervell County/Glen Rose Chamber of Commerce luncheon, had some words for Glen Rose gardeners – “carefree beauty.”

That’s not only the name of one of the “Earth Kind” roses recommended for this area, but it’s also the goal of the Dallas Arboretum’s extensive trial gardens. They test and develop hardy varieties of flowering plants that can withstand drought, are resistant to insects and don’t require much care.

“We have the premium trial gardens in the world for heat-loving plants,” Olson, chairman of the arboretum’s Volunteer Advisory Board, told the crowd. “We plant, fertilize and that’s it.”

The arboretum tries about 3,000 kinds of plants, including roses, each year and tests them over a three-year period, Olson said.

One of his favorite roses is the Nacogdoches Rose, now re-introduced by the State of Texas as “Grandma’s Yellow Rose.” Another is Carefree Beauty, a pink rose that Olson said is one of the first varieties to bloom in the spring and one of the last ones to continue blooming until cold weather sets in. 

Carefree Beauty is one of the roses grown in the Somervell County Master Gardeners Association’s test garden at Heritage Park. It’s also on its list of varieties for the “Project 2010 Rosebush” campaign to plant 2,010 rosebushes in anticipation of the state Master Gardeners convention in Glen Rose next year.

So far about 600 rosebushes have been planted around Glen Rose as part of the project. Order forms for roses for the Project 2010 Rosebush, a joint venture of the Somervell Master Gardeners and the chamber, are available from either organization. An online order form can be downloaded at www.glenrosechamber.com.

Olson also recommended several summer-blooming plants that the Dallas Arboretum trial garden has tested – the Cora Vinca, New Guinea “Sun Patiens” and Profusion zinnia. He also likes ivy geraniums, snapdragons and the creamy white “Sea Foam” climbing rose.

For more information about the arboretum’s work, visit www.dallasarboretum.org.