Roses may be the flowers of love and romance, but there is nothing romantic about the time spent combating disease and pests to attain beautiful flowers. Gardeners would enjoy rose growing much more if they could find varieties that produce blooms without requiring constant attention.

And there is such a rose: 'Belinda's Dream' is a beautiful, modern shrub rose with a high degree of disease resistance. It produces large, fragrant, pink blossoms throughout the season.

A true Texas rose, 'Belinda's Dream' was developed by Dr. Robert Bayse, a Texas A&M University mathematics professor and amateur rose breeder for 50 years. Introduced in 1992, it is a cross between 'Tiffany' and 'Jersey Beauty.' Bayse focused on producing roses that were genetically resistant to black spot, a common fungal disease of roses. 'Belinda's Dream' will tolerate outbreaks of black spot and powdery mildew, seldom requiring treatment.

Rose lovers also desire fragrant blooms with long stems for cut flowers. 'Belinda's Dream' delivers with a delightful fragrance and large, cuplike double blossoms on long stems.

Growing more than 5 feet tall and as much as 4 feet wide, 'Belinda's Dream' grows in Zones 5 through 9 and is winter-hardy in Texas. This versatile rose, with lustrous blue-green foliage, can be used in mixed borders, as a hedge or in containers. In extensive trials, 'Belinda's Dream' proved tolerant of our alkaline soils, but it will flourish in sites with good drainage and benefits from the addition of organic matter to the planting bed.

Many roses are planted in April, when blooms captivate admirers. Now is an ideal time to plant roses, however.

'Belinda's Dream' is readily available as container-grown nursery stock. Select a site that receives at least six hours of full sun daily. Incorporate organic matter into the soil and plant with the top of the root ball slightly above ground level, which will allow the roots to settle. Water as needed, keeping soil moist until well established, and avoid splashing water on the leaves. Add mulch to conserve moisture and moderate soil temperature.

Prune and fertilize in mid- to late February. Another light pruning may be done in the latter part of August. 'Belinda's Dream' should reward you with flushes of blooms from spring until frost.

'Belinda's Dream' is the first rose to be named a Texas Superstar by Texas A&M. This rose and other Texas Superstars have been identified by university and industry as "superior landscape plants for Texas," says Dr. Steve George, a Texas Cooperative Extension horticulturist.

'Belinda's Dream' is also a designated EarthKind rose. George explains that the "Extension's EarthKind designation is given only to thoroughly tested plant materials," ones that enable beautiful, productive landscapes; require minimum maintenance; and provide maximum environmental protection.

'Belinda's Dream' is an outstanding choice for anyone wanting to grow beautiful roses that do not require constant care. It is not uncommon to see up to 25 blooms on a single plant. It is a true Superstar.

• Charla Anthony is the horticulture program assistant at Texas Cooperative Extension, Brazos County, 2619 Texas 21 W., Bryan, Texas 77803. Her e-mail address is charla.anthony@theeagle.com.

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