The Rose has to be the most iconic garden shrub of all. There is something classic, traditional even about a rose garden. Many people have come to believe that Roses are for the experienced gardeners only, that they are complicated and require lots of work. Let’s look into that.
Roses love lots of sun and heat. A minimum of six hours of sunshine is needed per a day, and the more the better. Roses will not tolerate exposure to north and west winds as they bring in the wind-chill factor. Any branches that stick out of the snow for winter will likely freeze off.
Some of the most favourable location of a Rose to be planted would be on the south side of a building or fence where they have full sun exposure and have some heat return to them from the south facing wall behind them. The wall behind them will also give them protection from the north winds in winter. Make sure that you never place any kind of plants closer than 2 feet from a South or west wall. The amount of heat being reflected from that wall can be overwhelming if planted too close and the plants will suffer from severe dehydration.
There are many, MANY different varieties of Roses: classic tea Roses, long-stem hybrid Roses used for making bouquets, climbing Roses and so forth. Here in the frozen north we have some limitations on what will survive, but there are still plenty to choose from.
While some climbing roses have been grown successfully in Manitoba they often freeze back severely in winter and need to be restarted. Hybrid roses for bouquets, and Tea Roses are too cold sensitive for our climate as well. They can sometimes be grown for a few years, but tend to shrink from one year to the next as they slowly die back in the cold. Therefore the shrub roses are the more popular option.
A typical shrub rose will grow to be between 2-3 feet tall and wide. Like all roses, they will bloom best if they are pruned first thing in spring. Roses always bloom on the fresh growth, and if pruned at the right time again in summer can re-bloom. It is often best to prune your roses immediately after the flowers have faded to usher in another round of flowers as soon as possible.
One family of roses that has been tested and trusted in Manitoba for many years are the Morden Parkland roses. These are the roses that were developed at Morden research centre here in Manitoba, so you know that they have a good tolerance for our climate. Some of our favourites include the Morden Blush Rose (White flower with a pink center, very high petal count giving new flowers a full, Tea Rose look), Morden Centennial Rose (large, medium pink flowers), Winnipeg Parks Rose (very large, ruby pink flowers), and the Adelaide Hoodless Rose (Red flowers).
Wild rose hybrids are a newer development in Manitoba, the cross breeding of wild roses with domestic roses to create a beautiful and yet cold hardy option. This includes the Pavement series Roses, and the Therese Bugnet Rose. The Pavement Roses are known for being resilient enough to use in boulevards along the streets in Winnipeg. We have planted the Therese Bugnet Rose in an open field here at Falk Nurseries, and it has grown into a wonderful hedge about 5 feet tall!
There have been some new Rose varieties that were developed and released in the last few years. The campfire rose is particularly interesting. The flowers begin yellow with traces of pink. As the flowers become older they changes from yellow to more pink.
The Canadian Shield Rose was developed and released as part of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canada. This rose has red leaves on the fresh growth and a true red blossom.
The Oscar Peterson Rose on the other hand has pure white flowers and very clean, compact foliage.
The Never Alone Rose is a dwarf Rose that has red flowers with a white core. Sales of this rose support the Never Alone Foundation as they support cancer patients.
The Chinook Sunrise Rose is one of the newest. The blossom starts with a light orange shade which fades to an apricot blush making it very unique in our landscape.
I currently have a Campfire, Never Alone, Canadian Shield, and Chinook Sunrise Roses in my yard right now. Trying to find space for new varieties is always a challenge, but what can I say. I’m addicted to collecting!