From earliest childhood, I have memories of the flowers my mother grew in our garden. Snowdrops and crocus in early spring, sweet bi-coloured columbine in May and fountains of pink and red roses all summer long. As long as I’ve had a garden, I’ve grown roses. From those uninspiring thorny canes sprout the promise of heavenly beautiful and often fragrant blooms every year.
Now in a townhouse, I have space for a few roses. But lucky me, I have only a short walk to one of the prettiest rose gardens in the whole city. I have to give much credit to the man that created the Queens Park Rose Garden as well as those who maintain it with love and attention. This garden contains roses of every shape and colour in the possible palette. From purest white through every shade of pink, apricot, yellow, red, mauve, burgundy and combinations of red or pink and white stripes. My favourites are the roses where the petals melt from soft yellow to pink to salmon….just like the most beautiful sunset.
If I could share a few bits of wisdom on growing roses, first it would be to pick a trusted variety for health and disease resistance. This can vary by region, so get opinions from knowledgeable gardeners in your area. Roses get all manner of bugs and problems so chosing well and treating them right will go along way in your overall enjoyment of your rose(s). The second most important thing is to meet their needs of good quality soil, something akin to fluffy chocolate cake by liberally mixing in manure and compost. Also feed the soil, not the rose, which means using organic fertilizers like bonemeal, alfalfa, greensand, kelp and epsom salts. Of course you can buy a premade mixture, but best to pick one with these kinds of natural ingredients. It’s very important to pick an area with at least 6 hours of sun a day and good air circulation.
Every time I walk through the rose garden, I take a moment to stop and stick my nose deeply into a variety that comes in a soft red colour but does not have the most perfect blooms. But just like with people, sometimes we look past the imperfections to the hidden beauty, which in this case is the most delicious ‘Fragrant Cloud’ of sweet perfume you could possible imagine. Aside from health and beauty, in my opinion, fragrance is a top consideration when choosing a rose.
"Enchanted Evening"...notice the unusual scalloped petals
"Love Struck"....each petal is 'painted' with a deeper pink
"Playboy"....one of my favourites
"Rapsody in Blue"...the closest a rose ever gets to the colour blue
"Rock 'n' Roll"......this one really catches your eye
This photo doesn't do this colour justice..."Wild Blue Yonder" is the most beautiful shade of vibrant magenta