‘Sophia Renaissance' A member of the Renaissance series of roses from Poulsen, this is Denmark's answer to the Austin English roses. “‘Sophia Renaissance' looks like a hybrid tea but it doesn't need winter protection,” Laberge says. The bush grows to about one metre tall and has medium yellow blooms. It looks good in a bed planting or in a mixed border. Zone 5.
‘Bonica 82' and ‘Royal Bonica' Bred by Meilland of France, these are two more roses that need no winter protection in Zone 5. ‘Bonica 82', with medium pink blooms, reaches 80 centimetres at the MBG, while ‘Royal Bonica', with red-tinged pink blossoms, reaches one metre. “They're easygoing plants with a cascading habit, which makes them good for walls,” Laberge says. ‘Bonica 82' was voted the world's favourite rose by the World Federation of Rose Societies last year. Zone 4.
‘Roberta Bondar' Named for the first Canadian female astronaut in space, ‘Roberta Bondar' is a deep yellow climber, bred in Canada by Joyce Fleming. A specimen at the MBG covers a 2.5-metre pillar. But beware, it needs winter protection: “If you lie it down and cover it for the winter, it'll climb,” says Laberge. But if you don't, it will die back. “It'll grow like a bush.” Zone 6.
‘John Davis' standard One of the challenges of growing standard roses in Canada is their susceptibility to cold. A standard specimen of the Explorer rose, ‘John Davis' at the MBG has withstood five winters because it's grafted to a rugosa. Now two metres tall, its branches cascade and the blooms last well into autumn. Laberge would like to see nurseries across the country stocking this winter-hardy standard. Zone 3.
‘Eutin' This reddish pink stunner is massed in a border at the edge of the MBG's rose garden. An almost forgotten floribunda, introduced by Kordes in 1940, it requires some protection. “It would survive well if you mounded soil on it for the winter,” says Laberge. Its arching stems are reminiscent of ‘The Fairy'; unlike other floribundas, its not upright. She likes it because of its disease resistance and its prolific blooming habit. Expect as many as 30 blooms on each plant. Zone 4.
‘Easy Going' A golden floribunda from Harkness in England, it boasts between 25 and 30 petals per bloom. This variety works best in Canada's mild zones and is not winter-hardy in Zone 5, says Laberge.
‘Eureka' This butter-coloured rose was introduced into the MBG's novelty borders in 2003. “We don't yet know about its hardiness here,” says Laberge. “And roses seldom get sick during their first year, so we can't yet make a diagnosis on disease resistance.” A 2003 All-America Rose Selection winner. Zone 6.
‘Hot Cocoa' Another 2003 AARS winner, ‘Hot Cocoa' also performed well in the novelty gardens, blooming from July through October. The pointed buds of ‘Hot Cocoa' are a deep rust colour against its glossy foliage. Zone 6.
‘Cherry Parfait' Also a 2003 AARS winner, ‘Cherry Parfait' is a showy red and white grandifora, introduced by Meilland. “After its first year in the novelty garden, I think it has potential,” says Laberge. “It's almost shrubby in style and has good branching.” Zone 6.