Mirage Landscaping has been taking care of personal and commercial properties in Calgary for three generations. Due to the extreme variations in weather we have, it can be very difficult to keep perennials, shrubs and trees as healthy and happy as possible. Fortunately, there are several varieties of pretty bloomers that can survive and tthrive in our climate, including the venerable rose. Beautiful, fragrant and colourful, roses are a welcome addition to any garden.
Depending on whether you live on Calgary’s sunny, grassy outer east edges, or at the western perimeter, where the terrain becomes more forested as elevations rise, you are in Canadian Zone 2 or 3 for plant hardiness. Many types of roses fall into the Zone 3 range, but many are Zone 4 or higher. This does not mean that growing roses is impossible, though, just that this means is that they need a little more help
By cheating the freezing temperatures here you can, with a little effort and perhaps some occasional expert help or advice, grow the roses you dream of having on your property.
Growing Roses in Calgary
The fundamental decisions you have to make about growing roses in Calgary are twofold: 1) Do you have adequate space and light available to grow roses in this climate? and; 2) How much labour to you want to put in to keep your roses healthy?
Due to the short growing season in Calgary, roses need at least six hours of strong daylight to become as established as possible before the next winter. Roses prefer about six feet of ground space, away from trees, and soil of a slightly acidic pH level. The hardier “prairie rose” or “shrub rose” subtypes can work well in Calgary, but there are well over 100 types of winter-hardy varietals that can get your rose garden started right and lasting through solidly into the spring thaw.
Roses Requiring More Effort
As is generally the case, the better something looks, be it a house, a car, or a even a living room, the higher maintenance it is in nature. Roses are no different. Roses are particularly susceptible to mould, and require adequate spacing from one another to ensure good air circulation and leaf drying after watering.
A root ball deep enough that it is below the usual frost line of about six inches is an essential step for success in growing roses, so purchasing a well-established plant in the first place is important. Planting a rose deeply is somewhat contrarian, since most rose varieties perform best in somewhat loose soil that drains well. Nevertheless, to have a fighting chance of getting through that first critical winter, it is better that the ground already insulates the root system, so that using mulch is even more effective.
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