“And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days.”
Toronto’s June days are especially perfect when the roses come into bloom: it’s Rose City. Generations of immigrants from Europe brought their love of growing roses here, (among other gardening traditions) and planted climbing varieties on their house fronts, leaving a legacy of tough, hardy climbers and shrubs that erupt into full bloom in mid summer, cascading and spilling over modest houses and apartments, peeking over fences or filling front yards with luxurious colour. Often the only garden note in a front yard may be a rose, but what a note.
For a show stopper in your garden, plant a rose. Try an easy climber like Blaze (red), New Dawn (pink) or any of the Explorer series of roses, developed in Canada. It’s the toughness of these plants that really amazes. Climbers and shrub roses are easy care, and bloom in profusion for weeks. Roses have a reputation for being delicate and a lot of trouble, but climbers and shrubs are not fussy plants. Hybrid teas are another story, needing a little more tending. Teas are gorgeous as cut flowers, but unlike a shrub or climber, aren’t the most attractive landscape plant.
If your house faces south, or west, with no deep shade, you’ll find a rose will be very happy in your garden. It’s almost impossible not to do well when you plant a rose against a sunny brick wall, facing south. Roses are community-minded, often planted out front, for passersby to enjoy. I take great pleasure every time I walk past my neighbours’ roses, and thank whoever planted them, no matter how long ago.