The RNRS International Rose Trials
The RNRS has been running trials of new seedling roses at the Gardens of the Rose for many years now, with judging taking place after a three year period. Originally established in 1928, the Society’s Trials have as their objective the assessment of new rose varieties which are not in commerce in the UK at the time of entry, for their value as garden plants and, where appropriate, for amenity and parks use. Consideration of their value for exhibition and cut flower marketing is not part of the judges’ remit. However, novelty value should be a consideration. The RNRS expects that senders will have at least carried out their own tests to eliminate inferior varieties prior to sending varieties.
The Trialling Process
There is no judging during the first year, but the roses are sprayed and treated alongside those roses in the display garden to assist in their establishment. During the second and third years of growth, each triallist is assessed by a panel of judges making visits independently throughout the flowering season. During the years when varieties are judged, spraying is minimised in accordance with an agreed cultural plan.
The points system
The judges commit themselves to a minimum of three visits each year. Judges must mark all varieties except those in which they have an interest as breeder, breeder’s agent or commercial grower. Such varieties should be marked ‘not judged’ on the judging sheet. Judges should provide an additional mark for fragrance (which they had included in their average mark) for each variety, points from 10 upwards.
At the end of the judging year, judges will be issued with a summary sheet for each year of judging, showing two results columns, total average mark and fragrance. Judges then complete these sheets and return them to the trials secretary by the date specified.
As a rough guide, judges award points on the following basis:
- Health, vigour, and habit up to 30 points
- Beauty of flower and its presentation at every stage up to 30 points
- Overall effect at every stage up to 30 points
- Fragrance up to 10 points
- Maximum possible points 100 points
- No rose variety has ever achieved 100 points.
Points received from judges each autumn will be statistically analysed according to methodology agreed by the Trials and Garden Committee (T&GC) to establish the average points each variety has been awarded by all judges. The results will be presented to the judges in a meeting held in the autumn. Varieties achieving the necessary pointing will be awarded as follows:
Awards – Final Year
Varieties achieving 75 and above – Gold Medal
Varieties achieving 72.5 points and above – Certificate of Merit
Varieties achieving 70 points and above – Trial Ground Certificate (TGC)
Occasionally poor growing conditions may occur over two consecutive years, which may prevent all varieties from performing at their best. In such cases judges may lower the level of points slightly to take account of such conditions. Such changes will be proposed at the Autumn meeting of judges and agreed by the majority of the judges. If the vote is tied, then the chairman of judging committee has the casting vote.
Awards are not given automatically and historically only a few TGCs were awarded in some years.
The actual number of additional awards will be decided during the Autumn meeting of judges and some or all may not be awarded in a particular year.
The President’s International Trophy will be awarded to a variety which already has received a Gold Medal and has been considered by the majority of judges to have exceptional merits in order to be given this award.
The Henry Edland Award is presented for the variety with the most fragrance which has already been awarded at least a TGC.
The Torridge Award is awarded to an amateur raised variety which has already received a TGC.
A TGC may be awarded after the first year of judging for outstanding varieties which have at least attained an average of 70 points.