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Veronica Sliva

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Veronica Sliva

Veronica Sliva is the director for the Garden Writers Association as well as a journalist and blogger, specializing in gardening and lifestyle topics. Her work appears in a variety of magazines, newspapers and on the Web. @AGardenersWorld

How to Garden: Rose Fright

Posted by Veronica Sliva Friday, June 25, 2010 11:14 AM EDT

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By: Veronica Sliva

I admit it. I've always avoided growing roses, feeling that they were too much trouble for my style of gardening (lazy.)  On the odd occasion when I caved into temptation and planted a rose, I usually got so fed up with the blackspot (a rose fungus that eats at the leaves) and the bugs that soon followed that out it came -- fast. 

Having said that, there was an exception once. In my last house I had a climber near the front door called Galway Bay. I chose it because of its name (to honour my Irish heritage). The rose bloom itself wasn't all that impressive, -- kind of a salmony-pink colour, really a bit washed out looking and zero fragrance -- but with a nice shape. Whenever blackspot or the bugs started attacking it (and they did with regularity), I just chopped it back to wherever the damaged part ended (I don’t use chemicals in my garden…ever). The plant always bounced back and bloomed again, so Galway Bay got to stay. Now that I have moved and with a new garden to develop, roses are on my mind again.



I have an old well-loved 3-tier bird bath that makes the perfect focal point for a rose bed. At Sheridan Nurseries I discovered the Easy Elegance Roses. They are billed as tough, easy to grow and are resistant to pests and diseases.

Island Dancer is my favourite. It grows 3 feet high max, and has ruffled petals that are orangey-pink on the top and pure white underneath…reminds me of a swishy salsa dancers skirt. I planted them around the bird bath and circled them with Lavender Elegance Ice. I love how they look surrounding this vintage bird bath. Very romantic.


Easy Elegance Rose; Galway Bay Rose

I decided to do a little more research on roses and find other types that suit my non-chemical instincts. And, with the pesticide ban in Ontario (and other parts of Canada), adopting a non-chemical style will soon become everyone's style (finally!!). The emphasis in the future is going to be on roses that look good without the chemical soups of the past.

My quest led me to Palatine Fruit and Roses, a specialty nursery in Niagara-on-the Lake.  They grow roses bred by a German grower named Kordes. After a visit to the nursery I think the Kordes Fairy Tale roses will suit me very well.


Golden Fairy Tale; Elegant Fairy Tale

Fairy Tale roses are old fashioned looking (reminds me of those that were in my grandmother’s garden) with fully double blooms and healthy, glossy foliage. All the varieties are pretty as a picture, but I was smitten with a couple in particular. Golden Fairy Tale is butter yellow with super fragrant blooms. A stem I plucked and put into a vase had me to swooning every time I passed by.

I also had to have a porcelain pink beauty called Elegant Fairy Tale. It is more faintly scented than Golden Fairy Tale, but the delicate colour is classy and gorgeous. Both these roses are classified as shrub roses and are perfect for a small garden since they grow only about 4 feet high. Though they don’t need to be grown on a trellis, mine are in a tight space. I placed a trellis behind them anyway so that I can tie back any canes that start to wander onto the path.

I’m thinking of investigating miniature roses next. I hear they don’t need much attention to look beautiful either.

Have you had success with a particular variety that you'd like to share? Are you a rose veteran?

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Topics: Summer, Outdoor, Landscaping, Flowers

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