Whoever was the garden writer who quipped that for Canada and the northern US, hybrid tea roses are annual shrubs, was quite right. In our climate, when it comes to selecting roses, the first consideration has to be hardiness. In many ways, this simplifies your choice as most roses are not very hardy. Here is a review of some of the roses that are grown at Roche Fleurie.
|John Davis rose on a trellis|
The rose shown above and below is John Davis, of the Explorer series. A series of roses that were bred here in Canada especially for winter hardiness. I have had John Davis for several years, but it took some time for it to get going. I expect it to cover that trellis completely in a few years. It is a very pleasant pink colour. Reading about it, I noticed that none of the sites I consulted mentioned that John Davis does not have any thorns. At least this one does not.
On each side of Celsiana above are Prairie Dawn and Prairie Joy of the Parkland series. I think one of them must have been mislabeled because to me they look identical. They do not have a very strong fragrance, but the flowers have a beautiful rounded shape. Even with judicious pruning they don't get as tall as Celsiana, but on the whole they look better.
|Prairie Joy & Prairie Dawn|
It can easily reach 8 feet tall. It is what I would call a dependable rose.
Another old rose which is very dependable is the following one which was sold to me as F.J. Grootendorst, a rugosa created in the Netherland in 1918. However it was mislabeled because many people familiar with the rose commented that it looks very much like Charles de Mills. It looks just like it apparently but Charles de Mills is almost thornless and this one if very thorny. It is no doubt one of Charles's close relations!
We grow ours along the wall of the vegetable garden. Although it does not get very tall, it does not mind growing in a thin line along the wall rather than as a shrub.
|Charles de Mills?|
Another rugosa with a Dutch name is Jens Munk (hardy to 2b - it could almost live in the
Arctic!). It is also part of the Explorer series (1974). I like its pale pink colour. Like the preceding one, it does not seem to mind being pressed against a wall and only allowed to grow sideways rather than in a normal shrub fashion.
The last one I will mention is another Explorer rose, "HenryKelsey". It is supposed to be slightly less hardy than the other Explorers. In this garden it has never shown any hardiness problem, but it is not as vigorous as others in the same series, never growing taller than 5 feet. I like the fact that it is a true red with no blue in it.