From Patterson Garden, University of Saskatchewan.

My hubby and I spent a few days earlier this month in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, so I could attend some workshops during the University of Saskatchewan’s annual Hort Week.  I had such an amazing time and met so many nice people, plus I learned a lot about plant diseases, insect pests and controls, and Prairie-hardy trees and shrubs.   Over the next few posts, I’ll share some pics from the trip – this was our first time to Saskatoon and I was impressed with the beauty of this city on the South Saskatchewan River.

One of the stops we made was to tour the University’s Patterson Garden, a public arboretum.  We actually went there over two evenings because (a) it has so many trees and shrubs to explore and (b) the mosquitoes chased us out the first night!  The mozzies were INSANE while we were there – I’m not one of those people who are typically bothered by them, but I was practically eaten alive this trip.   One of the participants in the insect pests workshop worked for the City of Saskatoon and he said that according to tests they had done, the mosquito population hadn’t yet reached a record peak, but it was close.

Here is more information about Patterson Garden, from the U of S’s website:

The University’s Arboretum was established in 1966 and contains one of the most diverse collections of trees, shrubs, and vines in the Prairie Provinces. Species from northern regions of the world as well as historic cultivars developed by pioneer plant breeders are on display. All specimens are labeled with common and scientific names. An invaluable reference for horticulture and botany, the picturesque site is also used for photography, field trips, and strolls.

The Arboretum is located in zone 2b of the hardiness zones of Canada, experiencing a sunny continental climate with cold snowy winters and hot summers. Despite climatic extremes many woody plants thrive here, responding to well-defined seasons and long hours of summer sunshine.

Patterson Garden Arboretum is a garden attraction of Canada’s Garden Route. It is nearby to the campus area and is open to the public throughout the year, free of charge, from sunrise to sunset.

We came across this beautiful rose with fading flowers near the end of the second evening – it is not a named cultivar, at least not according to the plate, which read:  Rosa 73846001 (J5 Rose).   Most of the plants had their planting dates marked on the plates, but not this one, so I’m not sure how old it is.

Gorgeous!

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I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  What plans do you have (gardening or otherwise)?

Book review: Growing roses in Calgary.

It looks like we’re in for a couple of really soggy days, which will make getting into the flowerbeds a bit of a nightmare.  I was hoping to do some bed clean up and apply compost and mulch this weekend, but it looks like I’ll be cozying up with a good book instead.  Not a bad option, mind you!  😉

A really good book that I’ve recently had the pleasure of perusing is the Calgary Rose Society’s Growing Roses in Calgary (2010).  The only rose I have at the moment is a double-flowering mini that my former landlady “gave” me to look after on her behalf.  Her granddaughter had picked it up from a grocery store floral kiosk and she was fearful that it wouldn’t make it a month indoors (she was probably right), so it ended up outside.  It has actually performed quite well for (going on) seven summers.

I would love to grow a real rose garden, full of hardy Parklands and Explorers, tough roses that can withstand Calgary’s crazy climate.  We sit at hardiness zone 3a, nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an altitude of 1084 metres (3557 feet),and we have really weird winters with alternating cold, excessive snow, balmy Chinooks, and drought.   The summers that follow are often too wet or too dry, replete with massive hailstorms and cool Prairie nights.  On top of it all, our soil is hardly ideal – it’s alkaline and chockful of clay.  It’s a challenge growing anything here, much less roses, which is why the Rose Society decided we needed our own guidebook.

If you can get past the insanely gorgeous photographs in this book (I dare you to choose only one favourite flower!), there is a TON of information on how to grow both hardy and tender roses here in Cowtown – or anywhere with a difficult climate.  Everything is here:  planting and cultural tips, container growing, propagation, trouble shooting, landscaping designs, organic growing solutions, and, of course, plant selection.   If you’re thinking about growing roses in Calgary, find a copy of this book before you start digging (and buying) – it’s like having the entire Rose Society’s membership and all of their wealth of knowledge and experience on call, 24-7.  And did I mention the pretty pictures?

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Okay.  If I could pick my favourite hardy rose, it would probably be the Parkland (Morden) selection ‘Hope for Humanity’ (Rosa x ‘Hope for Humanity’), a blood-red double that was first introduced in 1995, and chosen to honour the Canadian Red Cross upon its 100th anniversary in 2009.  I was working in a garden centre in the summer prior, and we could not keep ‘Hope for Humanity’ on our racks – customers were clamouring to buy them and our suppliers couldn’t get them to us quickly enough.

Oh, but wait.  There’s ‘Morden Sunrise’ and ‘Morden Blush.’  I simply adore the multi-hued roses…and what about ‘Winnipeg Parks’ and ‘Adelaide Hoodless’?  And the Canadian Artist Series?  And…?

What are your favourite roses (hardy or otherwise)?  Are you growing roses in your garden?

Related postsPerfect Perennials for the Prairie Gardener.

Book Reviews for Spring Planning.