The Ellis County Master Gardener Association is joining with Dr. Steve George, a professor and landscape horticulture specialist with the Texas Cooperative Extension and the Texas A&M University System, in a project called National Earth-Kind Rose Field Trials.

“The plants are part of a statewide testing program that qualify plants based on their performance, resistance to insects and disease, and amount of supplemental water necessary to grow them,” said Jamey Guarascio-Cosper, board chairman and media liasion for the Ellis County Master Gardener Association.

“This project combines the best techniques of organic and traditional gardening,” said Kimberly Ellis, local chairman of the project. “The field trials will include planting of three plants for six different rose test cultivars for a total of 18.

“During the trial period, which is three years, no soil amendments, commercial fertilizer or pesticides will be applied,” Ellis said. “In addition, no pruning will be performed and mulch will be added twice a year with only a minimum of watering.”

Ellis said the rose beds will be located at Getzendaner Park around the star garden. The beds have been prepped and the planting of rose cultivars is expected in October.

“I just want people to know how very fortunate we are to have such a wonderful (Waxahachie) parks department,” she said. “This three-year project would not be possible without their assistance. They have provided the mulch, tilled the dirt, added compost and killed the weeds in preparation for the roses.”

Ellis said the Earth-Kind project is “one of the most prestigious” horticultural plant designations bestowed by Texas Cooperative Extension.

“It is based on years of extensive field research conducted by A&M scientists,” she said.

For further information, log on to Ellis County Master Gardener Association Web site at www.ecmga.com or call (972) 825-5175.

E-mail Paul at paul.gauntt@waxahachiedailylight.com