NVCC’s Waterbury campus is one of only 17 trial sites nationwide where critical data is collected that will help identify the most disease and pest resistant, hardiest and most garden-worthy rose cultivars while providing objective, accurate, and reliable information about the cultivars tested for each climate region across the U.S. This research, led by the American Rose Trials for Sustainability® (A.R.T.S. ®), is the first of its kind and helping inform industry professionals and the gardening public.
A.R.T.S. ® was formed in late 2012 and the first roses to be officially evaluated by the program were planted in the Spring of 2014. The organization is defining a new kind of "beautiful" in roses identifying which get highest marks in resilience, disease-resistance, drought tolerance, heat/cold tolerance, as well as soil and nutrient adaptability. NVCC’s students, faculty and staff are all assisting in the data collection efforts on 120 rose shrubs growing on campus in a six randomized block plantings. Evaluations of the rose shrubs are completed monthly and data is collected through any device with Wi-Fi access and then added to a national database. Over the course of six months, members of the Horticulture program provide 720 evaluations. This summer, two NVCC horticulture students are carrying the research torch and will be volunteering their time to take data. The evaluations are taken for two consecutive years. After each two year trial period, new varieties are added to plots and old varieties are removed.
“Third-party trials are necessary because they aren’t motivated by money. It’s a necessity in the industry and for the good of all,” says Michael Schwartz, Academic Assistant to the Horticulture program. Schwartz was instrumental to developing the relationships to get NVCC set up as a trial site. An article he wrote along with other colleagues appears in the May 2019 issue of Nursery Management magazine featuring the important work that the A.R.T.S. ® is doing to trial and award roses with superior performance.
NVCC is the only community college in Connecticut that offers a degree in horticulture. Through the program, students can continue their education at a four-year university or apply for employment in landscaping, greenhouses, garden centers or landscape design centers. For more information, visit nv.edu/horticulture.