All About Roses

You might think that the Northern climate is too cold to grow beautiful, flowering roses.

Think again.

If your garden has an sunny location, with good air circulation, chances are you have an ideal place to grow roses.

From the hardiest hansa rugosa rose, to the richly fragrant white blanc double de coubert, to the climbing explorer rose series, there is a multitude of hardy rose varieties to tempt your senses and meet your expectations for winter survival.

The hansa rugosa rose has a reputation that withstands time. This crimson-coloured rose bursts with fragrance, producing sweet clove-like scented flowers in shades of reddish purple. Most will repeat bloom, some almost continuously. The majority will retain the lovely fragrance of their ancestry. The season finishes with orange-red hips, excellent for tea and wildlife. In general, this disease-resistant plant requires very little maintenance.

For a profusion of fragrance, try the rugosa rose blanc double de coubert. With the whitest of white flowers, this double-flowering hybrid rose will grow to five feet tall. The densely rounded rose bush is a good choice for hedging, but also looks good standing on its own.

Among the hardiest varieties, in the explorer rose series, is rosa rugosa Jens Munk. With proliferate, heavenly scented, pink flowers, this rose is full of vigour, reaching a maximum height of two metres, and a width of 1.5 metres. In the fall, this rose is adorned with attractive rose hips. Hardy to Zone 2, this variety flowers all summer long and rarely experiences any winter kill.

One of the first roses to bloom in the spring is the lilac flowering rose,Thérèse Bugnet. With slightly flattened, large, lilac pink, fragrant double flowers, this plant is vigorous and blooms all season long. The foliage turns an attractive and interesting brownish-red in the winter. This variety is extremely disease resistant, hardy and easy to grow.

The newly inducted rose variety, Hope for Humanity, is a striking red rose named in honour of the 100th anniversary of Canadian Red Cross Society. This low-growing, ever-blooming rose will reach a height and width of 0.5 metres. In its rich blood colour, this attractive full blossom rose starts blooming toward the end of June.

When considering planting roses, the key to growing successful roses is finding a location with good air circulation and minimum of six hours direct sunlight. Planting roses in fertile well-drained soil, with regular fertilizing, adds to the performance. For newly planted roses, cover the rose stem so a bud union, or graft, is three to five centimetres below the soil surface.

When pruning roses, cut back into the strong healthy pith or to a strong and vigorous bud. Healthy pith is white, not brown or discoloured. In the fall, prune your rose bushes and cover with straw or pine boughs.

With the beautiful selection of colours, fragrances and varieties, is it any wonder that roses are still the world’s most popular flower? By selecting rose varieties that are hardy to our Northern Zone 2b climate, and by following a few steps for care and maintenance, you add years to enjoyment of flowering roses.

Shari Morash is a gardening enthusiast and an accredited designer. She is the owner and founder of Northern Elegance. Contact her at [email protected]

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