Rules & Conditions



The trial garden known as the “National Rose Trial Garden of Australia Inc.”, is situated within the grounds of the Adelaide Botanic Garden, North Terrace, Adelaide and is a joint venture between the Adelaide Botanic Garden (ABG) and the National Rose Society of Australia Inc. (NRSA)

The trial garden is managed by the incorporated body and is known as the “National Rose Trial Garden Management Council”.


The Council is composed as follows:-

  • 2 members from the Adelaide Botanic Garden.
  • 2 members from the National Rose Society of Australia.
  • 2 members from the Rose Introducers of Australia.
  • 2 members from the Nursery and Garden Industry of South Australia.
  • 1 member from the Australian Rose Breeders’ Association.
  • Secretary (no voting rights) appointed by the National Rose Society of Aust.

The names of the Management Council can be viewed by clicking here.


Purpose of Garden

Rose Trial Gardens exist throughout the world. At least 25 are acknowledged by the World Federation of Rose Societies. In Australia, the Trial Garden was established in 1996 to independently trial roses not yet commercially released, bred locally or internationally.

The Charter of the Trial Garden is to:

  • Assess and promote those roses best suited to Australian growing conditions.
  • Develop and promote Australian Rose Breeding.
  • Provide general information on roses to the public.

Provide feedback to Rose Breeders, growers and retailers as to those roses judged by the public (and Assessors) to be the most popular, and suitable to Australian growing conditions.


Conditions for Entry

The National Rose Trial Garden Management Council accept written applications for entry until the end of May of each year, and will notify acceptance of applications thereafter, ready for planting in July/ August of each year.

(1)          All entries are accepted at the senders risk, and the NRTGA will not be liable for any damage or loss of plants sent for trial.


(2)          All cultivars accepted for trial are identified by a number provided by the Secretary, which is known only to the Rose Breeder/Introducer & the Secretary.


(3)          The trials are for new rose cultivars, which at the time of planting, are not in commerce within the Commonwealth of Aust.


(4)          All cultivars, with the exception of climbing roses, are trialed for a period of 2 years.

Climbing roses are assessed in their 2nd and 3rd years.  At the completion of trial, plants will be removed and remain the property of the original supplier, but those not reclaimed by the 21st July, will be destroyed.


(5)          In the event of the non establishment of any plant, the Secretary will advise the supplier by  end of September so that a replacement can be made not later than mid October in its first year of trial.


(6)          Number of plants to be submitted.

  • Hybrid Tea and Floribunda – 4 plants
  • Miniature, Mini Flora and Polyantha – 6 plants
  • Shrub , including Hybrid Musk, Rugosa etc. and Ground Cover – 3 plants
  • Climbers, Ramblers and Pillars – 2 plants


The number of trial plants still growing after planting which are still eligible to be assessed, are as the following list:-

  • Hybrid Tea and Floribunda                    (4 original submitted)   eligible for assessment  =  2
  • Mini / Mini Flora and Polyantha           (6 original submitted)   eligible for assessment   =  3
  • Shrub and Ground Covers                      (3 original submitted)   eligible for assessment   =  2
  • Climbers, Ramblers and Pillars             (2 original submitted)   eligible for assessment   =  1


(7)          It is recommended that Roses provided for Trial are 2nd year plants.


(8)          The NRTGA has the right to accept or reject any nomination submitted, on the basis of lack of available space, or late entry.


(9)          Sports are accepted for trial, but, are not eligible to win the “Davis Award” for “The Best Australian Bred Rose”.


(10)        Removal from Trial.  The Management Council, on advice from the Co- ordinator and Secretary has the right to order the removal of any cultivar after discussion with the supplier if it is deemed to be spreading disease to adjoining plants.


(11)        A  charge of  $160.00  is made for each cultivar entered in the trial. Note:-  No GST is payable, or can be claimed, on this fee.


(12)       All Breeders/Agents or Representatives that wish to remove roses or budwood etc. from the NRTGA are to advise the NRTGA Coordinator of intent at least 24 hours in advance. The Coordinator will then advise the relevant ABG staff member of a pending visit including the visitors name and approximate time of visit.



The maintenance of the trial plants and environs are under the control of the  Management Council and in accordance with guidelines agreed between the NRSA and the ABG. This includes:-

  • Dead heading and pruning is carried out in accordance with the breeder’s instructions as specified on the entry form at the time of nomination.  If no special instructions are received, dead heading and pruning  is carried out in accordance with normal rose maintenance practice.
  • Soil.  The site, in a sunny open position, is prepared in accordance with good rose culture, with necessary additives made to ensure a nutrient level suitable for rose growth and a target pH of 7 to 7.5.
  •  Disease Prevention.  If spraying is considered necessary by the Management Council, all cultivars are treated uniformly, unless specified to the contrary on the application form.
  • Fertilising.   Applications of acceptable rose fertilisers are applied when directed by the Management Council, usually three times per year, and all plants are treated uniformly.
  •  Irrigation.  Uniform watering takes place at intervals determined by climatic conditions.  When used, water is applied by drip irrigation as a good deep soaking.
  • Mulching.  All plants are mulched after planting.
  • Additional Maintenance. Other maintenance procedures may be approved by the Management Council if deemed necessary to ensure the health and vigor of the roses in the Trial.



The assessment of roses is the responsibility of a panel of permanent  judges–not fewer than 6 for each assessment. All assessors are appointed by the Management Council  and represent a wide spectrum of rose knowledge. Any person with any interest  in, or contact with any entry, are not included on the assessment panel for that entry.  Assessments are made at  monthly intervals from December to May in the 1st year of trial and October to May for the 2nd year.    Assessors use prepared sheets and undertake the judging within a designated  7  day period.    Assessment  figures  are recorded by the Secretary and are kept  confidential.

Perfume assessments are carried out once  in the 1st year of Trial  and in Spring and Autumn in the 2nd year of Trial, by a perfume panel of not less than 6.

Climbing roses are not assessed in the first year of their three (3) years in the trial.


Plants are assessed on the following criteria:

As recommended by the WFRS new criteria. Maximum Points = 100.


General Impression – 30

  • Plant, Foliage, Vigor, Flowering, Novelty

Flower – 30

  • Blooms, Buds, Colour, Abundance of Flowering
  • Recurrent Bloom, Post Flowering, Novelty

Disease Resistance – 30

  • Fungal Diseases, Pest Tolerance

Fragrance – 10


Points allotted for the above, are in conformity with practice throughout the world rose trial gardens.

The monthly assessment results count for 90% of the total assessment, and the remaining 10% is the average of the perfume which is added to give a total mark out of 100. The method of determining perfume results is as follows:-

  1. The assessment marks will be from 0 to 10.
  2. Assessments will be conducted in April of the first year and October and April in the second year.
  3. Only the highest marks of the three assessments will be considered.
  4. Each Assessors highest marks for each cultivar will be totalled and then divided by the number of Perfume Assessors to obtain the final result.


Tabulation of Results and Award Determination

  1. The Secretary totals the results received from each of the assessors for each assessment period and produces an assessment average for each rose for the assessment.
  1. The totals received for each rose and each assessment are added together and then divided by the total number of assessments for that rose in that year (6 assessments 1st year, 8 – 2nd year). This produces a yearly mark.

For example:



  1. To calculate the overall assessment result for each rose, the Rose Trial Council has agreed that the first year’s result is worth 40% and the second year 60%. This reflects the number of assessments and the rose’s maturity over the 2 years of trialling. It’s weighted towards second year results. At the completion of the final years assessment the points for perfume (out of 10) are added to give the final results out of 100.


Trial Assessment results are forwarded, once for 1st Year plants,(at end of  the 1st Year period), and twice in their 2nd year, (mid year and final period), to those who have submitted the roses for trial.

The results are forwarded to the Management Council within 8 weeks of the final assessment for decisions on awards. They are subsequently forwarded to all entrants in confidence by the Secretary. These results remain confidential until the Presentation of Awards for that Trial period.

People’s Choice event is held each year at the National Rose Trial Gardens, and members of the public are encouraged to assess the trial roses and cast their vote for their favoured roses, and view those roses most likely to be released in the coming seasons.

These results provide an excellent insight for rose breeders, rose growers and retailers, as  to those types of roses which are most popular with the public.



Method of Identification and Classification of Cultivar

Identification is in the form of 6 or 7 figures—ie    09-10-145


First two figures indicate year of planting –ie  2009

Second set, starting from 10, indicates type of cultivar and is as follows:-

  • 10= Hybrid Tea
  • 11= Floribunda
  • 12= Miniature/ Mini Flora
  • 15= Shrub
  • 17= Ground Cover
  • 18= Climber

Third set of numbers starting from- 01- represents breeder’s number,  and is also the rose bed number .

Hence a number of 09-10-145 is a nomination accepted for 2009,– planting of a Hybrid Tea rose, and is  for breeder  number 145 and also for rose bed  145.

Any trial rose can be re-classified if requested by the entrant up to the end of the 1st year assessment period. The information leading to this re-classification may be provided by the Secretary to the entrant on advice from the assessors.



Upon completion of the trial, the Management Council will, in accordance with the assessment results,  give major awards and certificates to cultivars obtaining  68 %  and above.

Other awards which may be considered by the Management Council are one day assessments only, and are used as  publicity and promotion of the Trial Garden.

Awards are as follows, and are presented in the name of “National Rose Society of Australia”

  • Gold Medal                        (75% or above)
  • Silver Medal                       (73 to 74.99%)
  • Bronze Medal                    (70 to 72.99%)
  • Certificate of Merit          (68 to 69.99%)

The rose with the highest mark is awarded with the “Marion de Boehme Memorial Award” and can use the NRTGA trademarked  term  “Australia’s Rose of The Year” with the appropriate year attached.


Other awards are:-

  • The Hamilton Gardens New Zealand Perpetual  Award–     for best Hybrid Tea Rose.
  • Rose Hills Perpetual Challenge Bowl   (USA)–     for best Floribunda.
  • The Governor of Gifu’s Award   (Japan)–    for Most Fragrant Rose of trial.
  • Jamie Irwin Award for—   “The Most Pest and Disease Tolerant Rose”.
  • The Gerald Meylan Perpetual Trophy—    for best Shrub or Ground Cover Rose.
  • The Davis Award—    for  “Best Australian Bred Rose”


Note:- Cultivars must receive a mark of 68% or more to receive any Award.

Awards are not made public, or released to the media, until the awards ceremony is held in each year.



Click to download the National Rose Trial Garden Application Form