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Happy roses, seem to be healthy roses. After eight years of growing roses in Eastern Ontario, between Ottawa and Kingston, I have a rose garden that pleases me.

I have become ruthless in shovel pruning non-performers. Poor health, lack of vigour, failing to boom and they’re gone. I replace the under achievers with rose varieties that I’ve researched and believe might performer well based on that research.

Most of my roses are established. I have learned that roses in a cold climate take three to four years before they have the root system needed to perform at their peak after being pruned to near the ground each winter. I also have roses that are vigorous enough and healthy enough (in my conditions), so that they grow and bloom well in my climate.

I now have a list of roses that impress me every single year, my failsafe roses, so to speak. For my climate and my conditions the fail safe roses are: Folksinger, Redoute, Lillian Austin, Prairie Sunrise, John Davis, Northern Encore, Lilian Gibson, Hawkeye Belle, Prairie Harvest and the Crocus Rose. All standouts, all peak performers year after year.

This summer, possibly because of the apparently ideal growing conditions, and also perhaps because this is their third season, some others have also begun to stand out as well: Evelyn, Charles Darwin, Teasing Georgia and Abbe de Cluny are all, healthy, happy and booming ehuberantly. They are also sprouting new growth and new canes and obvioulsy planning to put on another major show soon.

Some new varieties I have planted this year, based on much research and mulling are: Geoff Hamilton, Caramel Antique, Christopher Marlow and Antique Fairy Tale. Based on their first year results, health vigour and rebloom are all very impressive. We’ll have to wait to see how they do after a Northeastern winter though.

I already have five or six under achievers on the shovel prune list for next spring and have decided to trial some more of the Brownell roses, based on the results of the two I already grow, Break O’ Day and Orange Ruffles.

Updated - August 2009

I live in: Canada

My zone is: 4b/5a Ont

My favorite forum 1 is Antique Roses.

First registered on October 31, 2002 .