These exceptional roses were bred to be easy to grow and easy to maintain, even for the novice gardener. All you need to do is follow a few simple tips to ensure that they thrive in your garden for years to come.
Planting a Canadian Artists rose is similar to planting any other rose bush, except that we recommend that you plant it where it will get plenty of sunlight, away from clogging wet clay soil and where it will get fairly good drainage. Roses for the most part don't like clay, so add plenty of humus and good composted material, along with a handful of bone meal for added phosphorus to give the roots a good start. Although the Artist's series can grow in any average soil, it is recommended to give them the best soil from the start so that they feel at ease straight off. Container-grown roses are the easiest to plant; you just plant at the same soil level as the level they were growing in the pot.
'Emily Carr' grows to about 3 feet (1 m) with a spread of 4.5 feet (150cm) with flowers of 3 in (7 cm) while 'Felix Leclerc' is a climber that can reach 7 - 8 feet (2 to 2.5 m) in zones 5 and 6, and 3 - 6 feet (1 to 2 m) in the Prairies or in zones 3 and 4. Its spread is about the same in all regions at 3 - 5 feet (1 to 1.5 m) with flowers of 4 in (10 cm) in diameter.
Planting times vary across the country but here's a quick list;
Siting these roses depends mostly on you as the designer, but we recommend a southern exposure where they will get the cool morning and warm afternoon heat, with a minimum of 4 to 5 hours of direct sun.
First Year Care
As with any other rose bush, treating your plant well in the first year will ensure its stability and longevity in your garden. If you follow these simple steps, your Canadian Artist's rose should give you plenty of bloom and enjoyment for years to come.
First off, don't fertilize your rose in its first year. Adding extra fertilizer will weaken the rose and make it want to reach too high, weakening its limbs. Check out www.rosemagazine.com/pages/planting.asp to see an overview on how to plant a rose bush, but keep in mind that the Canadian Artists roses are container grown, therefore they need not be planted lower than the level at which they are growing in the pot.
Roses that bloom all summer should be fertilized in early spring, again when blooming starts and then about every six weeks. Stop fertilizing two months before your first frost is expected. You can leave some flowers to produce rose hips later in the season for the birds and for winter interest, although this is not an essential part of care. If you wish to provide winter protection, you can use special rose cones or make a wire cage around the rose and fill it with straw (flax is recommended). Some gardeners also mound soil up over the base of the rose to about a foot deep, but don't take the soil from around the rose roots to do this.
Regular pruning is required for roses to achieve the proper shape and to set as many blooms as possible, but don't prune late in the season; do this in the spring where you can actually see which branches are dead. Prune back only to green and the closest outfacing bud. Roses die back from the tips and need their stems intact to prevent winter damage. When cutting blooms for indoor enjoyment, cut in the early morning, just before the sun gets too hot, such as before 10 am. Re-cut the end of the stem under water before placing it into your vase and add fresh water to your arrangement every day.
Perhaps the most important advice we can give Prairie and Chinook gardeners is to refrain from giving in to that week of nice, warm 'summerlike' weather in spring where your fingers itch to rake the lawn and winter mulch off the flower beds. It is usually followed by cold, wet and frigid weeks where a hard frost hits. That's when you hit yourself over the head with a baseball bat or wonder why your rose isn't budding in late June.
Hold off. In fact, here's a useful tip: wait until the fruit trees have budded out, trees like apples, cherries, plums and apricots. They have a better ingrown 'feeling' about when it's time to open up. And it doesn't matter what Mr. Jones, the I-know-everything-about-gardening expert down the block tells you. Listen to nature; you'll be rewarded with better blooms and a great rose garden!