Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Do You Really Have to Protect Roses for the Winter?

novembre 1 anglais (

Yes… if you planted bush roses (hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, etc.) in a cold climate. These roses are only fully hardy to zone 7 or zone 8 and for most Northern gardeners, will need to be cut back severely and covered with a thick layer of soil or mulch (this is called “mounding”). In zones 5 and below, even that will likely not been enough: you’ll need to further cover them with landscape cloth or a rose cone. Even so, there may well be losses with these very fragile plants.

The laidback cold climate gardener, however, simply doesn’t plant tender roses, so banishes hybrid teas and their ilk from his gardening palette. Instead, he grows only hardy roses, ones adapted to his zone or to even colder zones. Being perfectly hardy, many to zone 3 or even below, they need no winter protection. Just let them take care of themselves. In the spring, simply remove any dead or damaged branches, that’s all.

Today, hardy roses are widely available in most nurseries and in fact are the most popular roses sold in zones 2 to 6. You’ll find a whole range of sizes, colors and perfumes and – good news! – most are highly disease resistant as well. Look especially for own-root hardy roses: since they are not grafted: if anything happens to them, they’ll simply sprout from the base to bloom again. Sometimes life is soooo simple!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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