RBG opens a rose garden for the 21st Century

It may be true that a rose by any other name is still a rose but the blossoms at the Royal Botanical Garden’s rejuvenated rose garden are not the same as those planted in 1967 to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday.

The original Centennial Rose Garden showcased a large monoculture of hybrid tea and floribunda roses for nearly 50 years. Despite the best efforts of the RBG’s horticulture team, however, the collection suffered in recent years. Eco-friendly treatments could not make up for the fact that the garden was full of disease-prone roses increasingly falling under the shadow of large growing shade trees.

Roses in the redesigned garden, together with such companion plants as yarrow, hyssop, cranesbill geranium and dill are sustainable, cold-hardy and disease-resistant.

“RBG is thrilled to welcome in a new era of sustainable horticulture in Hendri Park,” said RBG head of horticulture, Jim Mack. “The new Rose Garden embraces new designs and techniques that reflect a more modern environmentally conscious approach to growing roses. One that people can implement in their home gardens.”

The new garden has some 3,300 roses including 300 cultivated varieties, 4,500 companion plants and such new enhancements as upgraded pathways, fences, gazebos and lighting. Interpretive signs surrounding the central pond present a history of roses for interested visitors.

One of the hardy roses featured is Canadian Shield™, a low-maintenance, versatile garden and landscape rose that promises plenty of full red flowers and glossy green foliage throughout the growing season. This hardy flower can stand up to winter and resist disease from St. John’s, NL to Victoria, BC.

Canadian Shield™ is the first rose released from Vineland’s 49th Parallel Collection and was named Canada Blooms’ 2017 Plant of the Year. The next release in the series, Chinook Sunrise, blooms in a coral flush and will be available next spring. For more information see 49throses.com

Previewed by special guests and media earlier in the week, the new garden opens to the public June 23. It’s definitely worth the drive to Burlington!

More information can be found at rbg.ca/rosegarden

Words by Lorraine Hunter

Photos by Lorraine Flanigan and Lorraine Hunter