Biltmore International Rose Trials 2014

The nation’s top rose growers gathered last weekend at the magnificent Biltmore Estate in Asheville North Carolina to judge the 2014 Biltmore International Rose Trials and I was honored to be counted among those invited. First established in 2011, this trial draws rose breeders from around the globe who enter roses in the trial. Entries are judged over a two year period for disease resistance, bloom, fragrance and overall health, beauty as well as other criteria.


Myself alongside Jolene Adams, President of the American Rose Society, Captain Eddie and his lovely daughter judging blooms at the 2014 Biltmore International Rose Trials

This garden is carefully maintained by Biltmore Rosarian, Lucas Jack. His role is to maintain the integrity of the trial, allowing NO SPRAY or chemicals to be used in the garden and to employ organic methods of growing. As you can see by the photos, this garden is kept in pristine condition by this outstanding team of horticulturalists lead by Mr. Jack.

Biltmore Rosarian Lucas Jack & myself

Biltmore Rosarian Lucas Jack & myself


Pristine beauty is maintained at the Biltmore Estate walled rose garden under the care of Biltmore Rosarian Lucas Jack

Judges traveled from all over the United States to take part in the final judging of this particular group of roses. Entries judged had been entered from the United States, UK, Canada, Ireland, Germany and France, all vying for these coveted awards.

Winners were announced in multiple categories as follows:

Miracle on the Hudson - Best In Show - 2014 Biltmore International Rose Trials

Miracle on the Hudson – Best In Show – 2014 Biltmore International Rose Trials

‘Miracle on the Hudson, hybridized by Robert Rippetoe of California swept the show with multiple wins:

George & Edith Vanderbilt Award for Most Outstanding Rose – Best in Show

Chauncey Beadle Award for Best Shrub Rose

William Cecil Award for Best Growth Habit

Lord Burleigh Award for Most Disease Resistant. 

Keep an eye out for this rose. It’s vigorous growth habit, a multitude of buds and blooms as well as NO disease whatsoever will make this rose one that will be much sought after.


‘Pookah’ – Polyantha – hybridized by James Delahanty

The Honorable John Cecil Award for Open Group
This award goes to a rose named “Pookah” a polyantha bred the late James Delahanty. I had the privilege to know Mr. Dleahanty and he was a great man who loved his roses.


Sweet Drift – Meilland of France – Star Roses & Plants

The Frederick Law Olmsted Award for Best Groundcover was award to ‘Sweet Drift’ bred by Meilland in France. This was a standout among the groundcover roses in the trials. beautiful growth habit with a multitude of blooms.  Awesome to see a rose readily available in local home centers win this award. Entered by Star Roses & Plants

“Bajazzo” - Kordes Climbing Rose

“Bajazzo” – Kordes Climbing Rose

Gilded Age Award for Best Climber
“Bajazzo” was I think the most eye catching rose in the trials. Bred in Germany by Kordes this climber was perfect in many ways. Full bloom, no disease, good growth habit. I already have a place picked out to grow this beauty! Who’s with me? Entered by NewFlora

Francis Meilland

Francis Meilland – Hybrid Tea PHOTO CREDIT: Star Roses & Plants

Pauline Merrell Award for Best Hybrid Tea
“Francis Meilland” bred by Meilland  in France is also a AARS winner. First hybrid tea to win these awards under no spray conditions. Entered by Star Roses & Plants

Munstead Wood - David Austin Roses UK

Munstead Wood – David Austin Roses UK

Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil Award for Most Fragrant Rose
“Munstead Wood” from famed hybridizer David Austin Roses UK. One bloom of this rose can fill a room with fragrance. When I was judging, I could smell this rose before I got to it… A Must have in my Alabama rose garden.

Tequila Supreme - Floribunda

Tequila Supreme – Floribunda                 PHOTO CREDIT: Star Roses

Edith Wharton Award for Best Floribunda

“Tequila Supreme” by Meilland in France, introduced Star Roses and Plants

Myself, Teresa Byington and Paul Zimmerman

Myself, Rosarian & Rose Chat Podcast co-host Teresa Byington with Rose Trial Coordinator Paul Zimmerman

This is only one of two international rose trials held in the United States. The others are mainly in Europe and just as in the U.S., are much celebrated events. Paul Zimmerman is the coordinator of the Biltmore Trials and is a staunch advocate for garden roses as shrubs and is the author of Everyday Roses, available at bookstores everywhere.


About Chris VanCleave - America's Favorite Rose Gardener

Christopher R. VanCleave – America’s Favorite Rose Gardener Nicknamed "The Redneck Rosarian”, Chris VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as President. In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing on growing the world’s most beloved flower, the rose. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. Locally, Chris serves as Chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the top one hundred places to live in the United States. His writing is seen at and on his popular website;, where he chronicles his gardening adventures and explores an intrinsic mix of life, faith and gardening. An agent of change with over 20 years’ experience in process innovation, Mr. VanCleave is leading the charge to reinvigorate horticultural societies and helping them to reach their full potential in the social media age.
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12 Responses to Biltmore International Rose Trials 2014

  1. Pingback: Biltmore International Rose Trials 2014 | Natur...

  2. I’ve been wondering who the winners were & looked forward to your posting on it. I’m with you on Bajazzo! I can think of about THREE perfect places for it, & I’ll have my eye out for that one.

    I’m glad to see that ‘Francis Meilland’ was a winner. After growing it in my garden last year– with whippy canes that sprawled about– I cut it back rather hard in the fall. This spring the canes are strong & upright, thicker than last year & without the sprawling. I’m thinking that it might not have to be staked this year, which pleases me greatly. We shall see. In any case, it is 4-1/2 feet tall now in my zone 6a garden, and has its first bloom of the season. (Our last frost was only 2 weeks ago.)


    • Bajazzo stole the show. Everyone who passed by it could not help but stop and check it out. So glad to hear that Francis Meilland is doing well for you. My shrubs have put out some pretty blooms this spring.


  3. So enjoyed this post and will save some of these rose names for my own garden. It’s so hard to tell from pictures why one is better than the others. It must be really challenging to sort through all the contenders and pick just one although Miracle on the Hudson sounds like it was a winner on multiple fronts. I don’t have a climber yet and am wondering if Bajazzo might not fit that bill. Thanks, Van, for this great information.


  4. Wonderful report Chris! You are such an inspiration!


  5. Chris, I do not see the Tequila Supreme offered for sale on the Star site. It is not even mentioned…FTI.


  6. roseman7stan says:

    Excellent article and photos Chris!! Glad you folks were able to go and that you had a great time too!


    *Stan V. Griep Rocky Mountain Area Consulting RosarianRetired American Rose Society Certified Consulting Rosarian40 Plus Years Growing Roses In ColoradoWebmaster: The Colorado RosarianGreen Cure Advocate – Colorado On-Line Consulting Rosarian for:GardeningKnowHow.Com, Colorado Gardening and GardenSmart Honorary Member: The Rose Society of South Australia – Award Winning Rose & Floral Photographer Rose Care & Gardening Freelance Writer & Speaker *

    *Please Visit The Colorado Rosarian Site Here >> *

    *Please Visit My On-line Store Here >> *

    *Use Gro-Rich Rose & Perennial Food & Moo Poo Tea for growing Great Roses!!*


  7. What an opportunity for you seasoned Rosarians and experts to participate in the rose trials at The Biltmore! The pictures are magnificent. I would love to hear more about organic, nonchemical methods of growing hybrid roses. Bajazzo is stunning, and I will look forward to seeing pictures of it in your wonderful garden.. Thanks for sharing..


  8. Thank you for sharing comments and photos on this year’s winners. How nice that a tea was able to make the cut grown organically. “Francis Mellland” has such lovely color and form. Austin’s “Munstead Wood” is in its second year in my garden now, but still hasn’t taken off. It has been grazed several times by deer, and I am hoping that once it establishes it will deliver the stunning blossoms it has the potential to deliver. What a great experience to help judge the show. Thank you for sharing it. Best wishes, WG


    • It was exciting to see a hybrid tea shrubs with no disease and healthy canes, foliage and blooms. I have found that Austin’s take about three years to get established in the garden. I have seen a dramatic difference in them in years 2 and 3 in terms of vigor and disease resistance….. Happy Gardening to you!


      • And to you! I’ve noticed the Austin’s also perform much better when their canes aren’t nibbled by deer, and their roots aren’t attacked by voles…. but yes, it takes a few years for them to establish and take off.
        Our “Litchfield Angel” had its best bloom yet in late May- after a good four years in the ground. Gardening is the slowest art form… May all be well with you, WG


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