• Legend and Lore • In the Garden

Rose spp


  • Native to the Orient
  • Woody shrub
  • Zone 2-9
  • Full sun to Partial Shade
  • June to September depending on the cultivar
Legend and Lore

Records show that roses were cultivated during the Shen Nung Dynasty in China from 2737 to 2697 B.C. The Western world did not follow suit until the Romans cultivated them for their beauty, fragrance and medicinal properties. Greenhouses using hot water pipes kept the plants warm enough to bloom in winter. As the Roman Empire declined the roses also lost its appeal. The Church in the 1200s embraced the symbolism of a white rose for the Immaculate Conception and red for the Christ’s blood. Rosary beads were traditionally made from a heated mixture of chopped rose petals, salt and water that was rolled into shape and then strung together to form a complete rosary.

Rose hips contain calcium, iron and phosphorous and are richer than oranges in vitamin C. During World War II, the British gathered huge quantities of the rose hips to replace the citrus fruits that could not be imported.

Only fragrant roses have flavorful petals, most Rosa rugosa fall in this category: Rosa rugosa ‘alba’ the Damask rose (R. damascene) and the Apothecary rose (R. gallica) therefore taste all the roses before you use them in the kitchen. The Experimental developed a series of rugosa (rough roses) named after our explorers: 'Alexander MacKenzie,' 'Captain Samuel Holland,''Champlain,' 'Charles Albannel' 'David Thompson' 'George Vancouver,''Henry Hudson,''Henry Kelsey,''J.P. Connell,' 'Jens Munk,' 'John Cabot,' 'John Davis,' 'John Franklin,' 'Lambert Closse,' 'Louis Jolliet,' 'Martin Frobisher,' 'Royal Edward,' 'Simon Frase,' 'William Baffin,' 'William Booth.' Another series was developped at the Experimental in Winnipeg called the Parkland series.

In the Garden

Roses need full sun, prefers moist, rich, sandy and well- drained soil. They require one inch of water per week, more in hot weather and when newly planted. Soaker hose or drip irrigation will reduce mildew and/or black spot. Plant roses in the spring; add mulch and the following spring sprinkle a tablespoon of Epsom salt around the base of the plant. Pruning should be done in the spring, cut at a forty-five degree angle toward an outfacing bud.  Never prune in the fall. Cut flowers down to the lowest five or seven leaflet group: this encourages growth outward.

The stems are prickly/thorny, leaves are pinnate, fragrant flowers with five petals, colours include whites, pinks, reds and yellows. Good companion planting includes Alliums (onions, garlic, chives) protects roses from Black Spot, aphids and enhances their scent – Lavendula  (lavender) deters moths, aphids and fleas.

In the Kitchen