Rose Rookie


Hi folks,
My wife and I just returned from touring a great many gardens over in England. We were hugely impressed by the rose varieties there and have decided to finally try growing some for the first time here in our modest Toronto backyard garden.
We are rose rookies and are wondering whether you might know about the following four varieties and if they are suitable for growth in our zone:

-Tea Clipper

-Lady of Shallot


-Penelope rosa
-Generous gardener
If any of the above are suitable for Toronto, do you have any advice as to where or how we might buy their shoots to begin planting?

Finally, is there a ‘best season or time’ to do that planting here?
Thank you


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your questions about roses. Your English gardens tour sounds amazing !

Your first question is about plant hardiness zones. Depending on where you live in the Toronto area, you are in hardiness zone 6A, 6B or 7A. Generally speaking, these zones are lower the further you are away from Lake Ontario (and zone 7A is a small pocket right at the lake and including the Toronto islands). The hardiness zones for the roses you have asked about are : Tea Clipper (Zone 6-9), Lady of Shallot (Zone 5-9), Kiftsgate (Zone 7-9), Penelope (Zone 8-9), Generous Gardener (Zone 5-9). So Lady of Shallot and Generous Gardener will work in Toronto, Kiftsgate and Penelope won’t work, and I would say that Tea Clipper is borderline (you could try it but it might not survive one of our very harsh winters).

As to where you can buy Lady of Shallot or Generous Gardener or any other David Austen rose, here are two sources for this information :

The Canadian Rose Society – see the Links tab on their website. One of the links is for the website for David Austin Roses, which in addition to being a source for buying these roses, has information on a wide variety of topics related to these roses. The website for the Canadian Rose Society also has lots of information about planting and caring for roses, a list of roses that are easy to grow, and Canadian roses that you might want to consider since they are bred specifically for our climate.

Rose recommendations from the Halton Region Master Gardeners : There is a list of sources for roses at the bottom of page 3.

The best time to plant roses is in the spring or fall when the weather is cool. You will need the right growing conditions in your garden in order for your roses to thrive. This includes at least 6 hours of direct sun daily, soil that is well-drained and not high alkaline, enough room so that your rose is not competing with other plants for light, moisture and nutrients, and away from the roots of large trees.

Enjoy your search for the right roses for your garden !

Aug 20, 2022