Rethinking the Rose Garden…


I’ve been walking through my rose garden for days now, wondering what I can do to enhance what should be the most beautiful spot in my garden.  I love roses.  The west-facing plot allotted for roses has the best exposure  (in my garden) for roses to thrive in my growing zone (4B).  The soil is enhanced every year, and I mulch my roses in the fall…why is it underperforming?  Or am I impatient?

Not too many generations back in my family tree is a long line of farmers.  As a young girl, I remember my grandparents worrying about their crops, whether or not the weather would cooperate or would some other disaster wipe out months of hard labour.  Now that I’m a serious garden, I identify with my farmer roots more than ever.

Climate, (a stronger force than us),  affects us all and we have to adapt to it. Reflecting on the photos taken last spring, my garden appears to be 2-3 weeks behind last year.  The back end of my rose garden was buried under (many) inches of ice until recently, and this is where (it appears) that I have lost over a dozen roses… unless they are taking their sweet time to wake up.  I think that’s wishful thinking though.  Last summer was burning hot and dry. It’s possible those conditions (along with the ice) added extra stress and began the decline of the roses.  Whatever the problem, I have significant gaps in the rose garden.  What to do now…

As the disappointment becomes a reality, it’s time to make a new plan for this garden.  I will not completely give up on roses (ever), but I’ve determined that I can’t be so rigid in my planning.  Until now, I only grew hybrid tea roses in this garden.  Over the weekend, I moved around planters from other areas and planted them with annuals (have I gone overboard with the lavender theme?).  I will plant peonies along the wall in front of the espaliered apple trees to complement the roses, and in the fall, I will plant pink tulips between the other plants.  Hopefully, this will bring some life to this garden a few weeks earlier than in the past years.  I did pick up six new roses earlier this spring to add to the rose garden …I wished I had bought more, by now the Rose House at the garden centre will be empty.




Last summer, a kind and thoughtful CC customer gave me these two adorable cherubs.  She was moving (downsizing) and wanted a new home for them.  I have moved them further down in the rose garden, where I have my pet cemetery.   Three of my beloved dog’s ashes are buried here…I know she loves animals and hopefully will agree that this is the perfect spot for them.




For all the joy gardening brings, there will always be challenges too.  And sometimes disappointments bring new opportunities to create something even more beautiful…only time will tell!

xox Judy



2 thoughts on “Rethinking the Rose Garden…”

  1. Sorry to hear about your rose bushes Judy. I too have lost rose bushes after them doing really well for a few years. Nature truly is mysterious. I planted two plots of tulips last Fall. One grouping is up and in bud, and the other plot just three feet away is a total loss. ? So to fill in the empty area, I am planting two more Canadian Shield rose bushes. I love these rose bushes. The roses are beautiful, it blooms from Summer to Fall, and they have a lovely soft fragrance. It was developed in Manitoba for the 150th anniversary of Canada, and for our northern winters. Now I’m scratching my head, wondering why my front lawn is so aweful this Spring?

  2. Hi Karen, I’m sorry to hear you are having garden challenges too And I agree is it a head scratcher! My back lawn is a disaster, but I’m know who (Charlie) is the culprit. I’d love to see pictures of your roses when they are in full bloom…they sound wonderful. xox Judy❤️

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