Every year when the new rose catalogs begin to hit my mailbox one of the first things that I look for is the AARS symbol. All-America Rose Selections is a designation given to roses that have passed a very rigorous evaluation.

These evaluations are conducted at 20 AARS trial gardens throughout the country. They are located in all USDA climate zones. The plants in the test gardens are given the same care as they would receive in an average home garden.

Only the roses that pass these rigid processes get the coveted AARS designation.

The criteria that the plants are judged on are: vigor of the plant, fragrance, disease resistance, foliage, flower production, growth habits, bud and flower form, and overall value.

There are the 2 AARS winners for 2008.

Dream Come True

The image

This is a Grandiflora with a yellow center and ruby red petals to the outside of the bloom.

It’s hardy to USDA zone 5 (zone 4 with winter protection)

It has a mild fragrance

The blooms are large and can reach up to 5 inches in diameter.

This is only the third rose that was hybridized by an amateur, Dr. John Pottschmidt, of Cincinnati, Ohio

This 2008 winner is introduced by Weeks Roses.

Mardi Gras

The image

This selection is a floribunda, with blooms of pink orange and yellow.

It grows to a height of about 4 feet.

It is hardy to zone 5.

It is very disease resistant.

'Mardi Gras' is introduced by Jackson & Perkins

All American Rose Selections have been awarding their honors since 1940. If you’re looking for a quality rose that has been time tested look for the AARS logo.

Images and plant facts courtesy of All American Rose Selections