Say the word ‘roses’ and most people will picture a garden filled with a riot of colourful blossoms and fragrant scents. But if they know anything about roses, they’ll soon start thinking about blackspot, mildew and cankers. And, after that, they’ll soon start reflecting on the environmental horrors of pesticides.
The Royal Botanical Gardens Hendri Park Rose Garden, planted in 1967 to celebrate Canada’s centenary, had suffered from all those problems and more. The large monoculture of hybrid tea and floribunda roses was disease-prone and unhappy.
As a result, the Royal Botanical Gardens engaged US rose consultant Peter Kukeilski and Aldershot in 2016 to perform a dramatic facelift. “Peter’s whole thesis is about sustainable gardens for the future,” says Aldershot’s Iain Souter. “You’re using cultivars that are far less dependent on chemistry and you’re pairing them with companion plants such as yarrow, hyssop and dill.” These companion plans are sustainable, cold-hardy and disease-resistant.
The new garden — which is far more diverse than before — contains more than three thousand roses including 300 cultivated varieties and an even greater number of companion plants. As well, there are upgraded pathways, fences, gazebos and lighting. The central portion of the park remains a captivating reflecting pool.
The project took the ALC team of 12 to 20 gardeners about seven months of construction time to complete, with construction starting in July 2017. They planted all the roses in April and May 2018 and the improved garden re-opened in June 2018.
One of the many hardy roses featured in the new garden is called the Canadian Shield™, a low-maintenance, versatile garden and landscape rose that bursts with full red flowers and glossy green foliage throughout the growing season. The rose is a repeat bloomer, meaning you can catch its flowers throughout the summer. Developed at Ontario’s Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, the rose was named Canada Blooms’ 2017 Plant of the Year.
Click on the gallery below to view the results and see more photos on the Design/Build page.