Ah, the beauty of roses

If you live in most of Canada, the idea of planting tender English roses is laughable. Plants that do grow here are hardy things that can withstand the most frigid climates. English roses are too delicate to survive the winter and too high maintenance to grow during the rest of the year.

Prairie Celebration Rose, developed by Lynn M. Collicutt

Meanwhile, books and films romance roses to the extreme. Sprawling secret gardens heady with fragrance; quaint English cottages draped in reds and pinks. Elegance. Luxury. Nothing like the often bland native thorny shrubs that grow in the wild here.

Photo courtesy of Max Pixel – definitely not taken in Canada

But for the past 50 years, growers such as Georges Bugnet, Robert Simonet and John Wallace have been crossing native species, such as Wild Prickly Rose, with the larger and more colourful English roses. They created new cultivars that are cold hardy and disease resistant. These new flowers don’t just survive, but flourish.

Bill Reid Rose, developed by Dr. Campbell Davidson

Now the sweet scent of Darn Gorgeous Roses wafts over us as we explore botanic gardens and our neighbours admire the variety of vibrant yellow Tundra Rose that can be seen from across the street (not an ‘actual’ rose).

Breeders invested time and research into creating these new varieties because of how gorgeous they are and also because they can be very useful!

Hope For Humanity Roses, developed by Lynn M. Collicutt
  • Plant shrubs such as Hedge Rose on hillsides to stop soil erosion or for hedging yards (Ever been pricked by a rose stem? Their thorns are very effective at discouraging intruders). 
Morden Blush Rose, developed by Henry H. Marshall
  • Sell fresh cut flowers or bouquet arrangements for a modest profit. Fresh roses can be sold at garden centres, floral boutiques, and farmers markets to reach all different kinds of customers
Louise Bugnet rose, developed by Georges Bugnet
  • Cultivate roses to make infused products such as perfumes, oils, and various cosmetics that give individuals that desirous blush on their cheeks or luscious red hue across their lips.
Canada Blooms Rose, developed by Claude Richer
  • Collect petals and rosehips (the berries derived from rose plants) to use in various sweet foods such as turkish delight or rosehip jam or tea.

TreeTime.ca has been selling native species such as Prickly Wild Rose and hybrid varieties like the Darn Gorgeous Rose for a while now, but we are always interested in learning more about plants that add colour and quality to our life here in Canada.