Starting a garden in zone 3... suggestions, please!

redwolfdoc_z5(5)January 26, 2014

Hello All (particularly Carol, if you're reading)

My sister is in Calgary, zone 3, and has asked me to help her plan a garden. Her yard is a rectangular patch of grass with little to no shade, east-facing. She's no gardener, so I need low-maintenance picks. There's absolutely nothing there now, so I'm primarily looking at shrubs and/or trees to set the stage.

I would love to suggest a couple easy-care species roses - can you steer me? Do you have favourites? And what about other shrubs? Are Chinooks a major issue? I live in balmy zone 5, with lots of snow and hot humid summers near the Great Lakes... not at all the same!

Thanks in advance!

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toolbelt68 (7)(7)

What size of an area are we talking about? Some of these rose folks will have her planting 20000 roses just for openers....... :-))))

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:01PM
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For low care roses, I would look at the Parkland series of roses as they were bred for the Canadian prairies, 3 that I have & like are Morden Blush, Cuthbert Grant & Hope For Humanity. Also google "Calgary gardening", there are several links that look useful.

This post was edited by wirosarian on Sun, Jan 26, 14 at 22:49

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:48PM
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canadian_rose(zone 3a)

Hi Karen!
I live in Calgary. However, my roses will not work for your sister, because I overwinter them (potted) in the garage - so I can go up to zone 7 or 8.

However - these are low maintenance roses that everyone buys here - because they are good!

1. Morden Blush - I had this in Edmonton - it grew to 3 X 2 feet. Lots and lots of blooms. Very pretty.
2. Morden Centennial - lots and lots of blooms. I grew this in Edmonton. Really pretty.
3. John Davis - wonderful rose - I have this in my front yard. Gets completely covered in roses. Has to establish first in order to get the huge amount of bloom it can get.
4. If she wants to try a fragrant tender rose - Brother Cadfael grew to 3 - 4 feet in my Edmonton garden. I protected it - but the canes were fine to the tips - so she could see if it survives.
5. Hansa - everyone here grows this one. The city uses it extensively. Very fragrant. Hybrid Rugosa - so it is close to a species rose.
6. Alexander McKenzie - probably closest to a hybrid tea bloom you will find in a hardy rose.
7. Therese Bugnet - hybridized in Alberta and really tough. I grew it in zone 2. Lovely fragrance.

Yes, we get Chinooks - and they are the bane of people who grow tender roses here. However, the above roses should be fine.

John Davis is probably the best of the lot. But they are all really stellar roses.

I can not seem to use apostrophes. So I am sounded quite stilted. Sorry about that :)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 2:48AM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

Carol, you've lived in zone 2--isn't that like the arctic circle or something? Sorry, I'm just being silly, but wow. What kind of temps did you get there? I was surprised to see you list Brother Cadfael as a possibility above. I do love that rose, but didn't know he was that hardy. That's wonderful. Diane

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 3:08AM
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plantloverkat north Houston(zone 9a)

Obviously I can't give any recommendations based on my experience since I live in a much warmer zone, but I came across this old thread on the "Far North Gardening" forum when doing a search for William Booth a few months ago. Even though the thread is from 2006, many of the rose photos are still able to be viewed, although some have been removed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rose Gallery for the Far North Gardening forum

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 9:13AM
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Morden Snowbeauty - Hardy to 2b (I think this is just a gorgeous rose)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 2:15PM
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I also recommend Alexander MacKenzie (hardy to 3b) Overall a very elegant shrub. Mine is at my back fence line and makes a big impact from a distance.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 2:21PM
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donaldvancouver(cool wet z8)

Hi- I'm from Calgary, and I agree with the above suggestions- there are some wonderful roses you can grow there. I might add Lambert Closse and Prairie Joy for their beauty.
May I also suggest that your sister take the opportunity to amend the soil before planting? She may not get this opportunity again, and if she can add a lot of organic matter, she'll reap the benefits for years to come.
Also remind your sister to bury the roses good and deep, with the crowns well under the soil. Even own-root roses.
And water abundantly in fall, and cover the roses with whatever snow there may be on the ground during winter.
Last tip: the Rugosa hybrids tend to go chlorotic there due to the alkaline soil. Chelated iron helps.
Wish her luck!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 8:41PM
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canadian_rose(zone 3a)

Another rose someone I know suggested is Alba Maximus (I think that's what it's called).

Diane the temperatures there would get to -58 F for about 3 weeks every winter. Plus it was ALWAYS overcast with a really low ceiling. Blech.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 10:34PM
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Thank you everyone so much! Some great suggestions and some lovely roses listed - I'm sure I'll be able to help her! I know the ones I like best, but I supposed I ought to ask her what her colour/scent etc. preferences are! lol

Donald, thank you for the suggestion to amend the soil. I've been looking into it and it does seem to be key. I will recommend it to her for sure.

Does anyone here have preference for own root vs. grafted, and any particular root stock preference? I was looking through the Calgary Rose Society website and they recommend own root. Who do you like to order from?

I'll be visiting my sister from April 16 to the 28th or so - is this too early to put new roses in the ground? How about other shrubs?

I really appreciate all the great advice! And Carol - zone 2?! Brrr! I bet the nights were loooong!


    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 8:36PM
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donaldvancouver(cool wet z8)

The hardy roses are offered own-root more often than not. If you like to see your roses before you buy them, the local garden centres should have most of these in stock in April. (And yes, April is fine for planting shrubs and perennials, if there's no snow on the ground.)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:24PM
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canadian_rose(zone 3a)

I would advise against planting roses in April. No way. :)
If you get any of the roses that I mentioned, they should be found at the local greenhouses. They mostly sell only hardy roses for here. So when the roses come out at the greenhouses is usually a fine time to plant. Most people wait until after the long weekend in May. She'll know the holiday date - I can't remember it right now. If they're bare root, I would wait until middle of June.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 2:21AM
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