Tucked away off the main drag in an otherwise flowerless section of the garden is this surprising burst of color. According to a nearby sign:
In the spring of 2010 The New York Botanical Garden became host to the first EarthKind Northeast Rose Trials.
The goal of the EarthKind program is to identify cultivars that combine beauty with proven durability in the landscape. The EarthKind philosophy is based on the premise that it is possible to grow stunning roses that tolerate harsh environments without agricultural chemicals and with a reduction in irrigation. The first EarthKind trials began almost 15 years ago in the middle of a Texas field, where rosarians planted 60 different kinds of roses. Their goal was to find environmentally friendly specimens that were drought tolerant and that required little in the way of fertilizers and pesticides. To date, 21 rose varieties have succeeded in the Texas trials. EarthKind trials are currently underway in 25 states and 5 countries.
The 32 different kinds of roses here are being tested to determine the best varieties for gardens in the Northeast. In the first year of the trials, these roses will be watered, but for the next four years they will receive nothing, not even fertilizer. Those roses that survive and thrive at the end of the trial period will be designated EarthKind.
Be sure to visit the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, where 20 EarthKind varieties are planted.