What’s growing in June & July: Roses!

There’s something about Toronto and roses. Even the most unassuming front porch can often have an amazing display of climbing roses in June.

I once took a course on perennials at the then-Civic Garden Centre (now, Toronto Botanical Garden). It was taught by Keith Squires, of Country Squires Garden in Milton (worth a visit for his scree garden alone), and Keith was a fount of common-sense gardening quotations.

Rosa ‘New Dawn’

On the subject of roses, Keith Squires had this to say, “Roses are hardy creatures. Please don’t baby them.” Perhaps that’s the secret to Toronto’s rose-friendliness. Benign neglect.

I suspect it also has something to do with acid rain. Roses like a slightly acidic soil – although, as Mr. Squires says, most of them aren’t fussy.

‘New Dawn’ has glossy foliage, resistant to black-spot

Roses (or, rather, rose-singular; I had to give away my supposedly dead-easy Explorer Rosa ‘William Baffin,’ as I couldn’t give it enough sun) are one thing that I’ve managed to do right.

For nearly 20 years, my back garden has been home to one of the best of the climbing roses, Rosa ‘New Dawn.’

This rose will flower in part shade, and its shell-pink, green-apple-scented blooms usually smother the arbour just after the first day of summer. With the cooler, rainy weather of this year’s late spring, they’re a few days behind schedule and are just beginning to pop like popcorn now. ‘New Dawn’ has glossy green leaves that rarely succumb to black spot and other rose hazards.

As a matter of fact, the rose made first place (for climbers) among the favourites from the Canadian Rose Society. This link is well worth a browse if roses are on your TTP (Things To Plant) list.

Raindrops on roses…

I had high hopes for the much-hyped David Austin roses, of which I own ‘William Morris.’ Again, I was swayed by the name.

Yet, it doesn’t hold a candle to ‘New Dawn.’ She is a great performer; definitely one of my faves.

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