DARREL KOEHLER: The Prairie Gardener — Easy-Care Roses

No one has done more to create the easy-care modern roses you now find in so many gardens than Canadians breeders. Unless gardeners were ready to battle subzero cold and hot and humid summers, they were just out of luck.

A modern rose is any cultivar introduced since the advent of the hybrid tea in 1867. Only a few, however, combined hardy habits, disease and pest resistance, beauty and ease of maintenance sought by gardeners.

Among those roses are the beloved Canadians: the Morden, Man., hybrids and the Canadian Explorer hybrids. All are recent developments.

Here’s a little history on the Canadian roses:

The Canadian Explorer hybrids were created and released by the Canadian Department of Agriculture. They have proven to be very hardy and low-maintenance plants and among the best roses ever developed.

Explorer varieties include “John Cabot,” “William Baffin,” “Champlain,” “John Davis,” “Henry Hudson” and “William Booth,” all named after Canadian explorers.

The Morden hybrids are the result of an excellent breeding program at the Morden Research Station. (Morden is not far from the international border near Langdon, N.D.) These roses are very hardy, easy to care for and everblooming. Some have a wonderful scent.

Morden varieties include “Morden Centennial,” “Morden Blush,”  “Morden Fireglow,” “Morden Cardinette,” “Morden Ruby,” “Morden Snowbeauty,” “Morden Sunrise,” and a personal favorite, “Morden Fireglow.”

Explorer and Morden roses require little or no pruning. If needed, remove thin-caliber canes with hand pruner and the larger ones with long-handled clippers or a pruning saw. Remove poor quality older canes, those larger than about 2 inches in diameter, in the spring.

A good time to plant roses is now. If the roses are potted, they will put on enough growth to get them through the winter. Many garden centers want to clear out remaining spring stock, and they have dropped the price, too.

Pick a well-drained spot in a sunny location. Amend soil with well-rotted compost, manure or peat moss. Fertilize with a well-balanced, organic fertilizer in the spring. Your last time to fertilize is midsummer. Otherwise, follow general rose growing tips you probably have practiced in the past.



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