Even though the dire prediction for mountains of snow did not materialize, the winter has seemed too long for me. We are approximately 600 feet elevation and in close proximity to a mountain which means that when it rains just a few blocks away, it is snowing here – really not the best place on earth to try to grow roses! But, finally on March 5th we have witnessed our first harbinger of spring – a Robin! And, our little bird whose tone is flat has started to serenade us. I have no idea what the bird is, but I must try to find out this year.
As the years wear on, our yard seems to be getting larger. Gone are the days when we could whip it into shape in no time at all. I have even resorted to paying my dear grandson to help out with the early cleanup. I’m looking forward to getting all the pots that have been stored in the garage out into some sunshine. Today we have started to rake up the debris off the pathways and will top up the mulch to save a lot of weeding. Far too many of our rose canes are looking very black and our hope now is that once the mulch has been moved off the crowns of the roses there will be some green canes left to prune to.
Aside from working in our own gardens, the aim of our rose club this year is to attend a few of the Pacific Northwest District events, and to visit a few of the gardens on the lower mainland and the Island where we hope to see lots of roses.
As expected, many of our more tender cultivars are not looking too good. Some have a few inches of green cane while others are pruned down to the bud union. Our only salvation will be that new basil growth will come from the crown. Or – will the rootstock grow instead? We may be shopping for lots of new roses for next year. Hmmm – the prospect of having a place to try new roses may not be all that bad after all.
What a great year this has been for our Rose Gardens. Early in the season the outlook was a little gloomy with the extremely wet spring. But, when the sun did shine, the gardens took on a rosy glow. The growth has been exceptional in all members gardens. Now, if Mother Nature will allow all the abundant new canes to survive until next year, it should be a very rewarding one for rose growers.
A few of our new group started the season off with a trip to Seattle where we all enjoyed the Seattle Rose Society’s Rose Show. A few trips to public gardens and of course garden visits to members’ gardens helped to round out a very enjoyable rose season. The meetings at members’ homes and gardens worked out well for our rose club.
Plans are already being made for a few trips next year. One destination will be Vancouver Island where we will visit Butchart Gardens ( to see roses of course) and then up the Island to a few more gardens. We will also be visiting a friend and fellow rose grower on the Island.
There are lots of buds on the roses, so we are hoping for a nice September display of bloom. Providing it doesn’t get too wet, the blooms should be much nicer now that the thrips have disappeared. Some of the new roses have duly impressed. ‘Floral Fairytale’ is as pretty as the pictures I have seen, and the growth is bushy, but upright. There has not been a spot on any of the leaves so far, so this could mean it is as disease resistant as we have been told. The large peach/pink sprays of bloom have been everything I’d hoped for.
I had seen some very nice pictures of the climber ‘Candy Land’ which enticed me to give it a try, and this is another rose that has lived up to expectations. The lovely white striped pink blooms come in very large sprays and the thick rubbery foliage seems to be quite disease resistant.
‘William Shakespeare’ has aimed to please with 5 feet of growth and lots of flower, mostly in sprays so far. The colour is non fading and the repeat is fairly quick. I did have to stake a few of the wayward canes and think that I will have to give this one some support.