I have no experience with roses and I would like them in my front garden surrounding a blue spruce. Is there a variety that is rich in colour, has lots of blooms, and is easy to maintain?
Zone 5 and Zone 6 roses would be a good choice for Toronto. I would also recommend you connect to a local Rose Society as they can be a wealth of information. Try York Rose and Garden Society of Toronto at http://www.icangarden.com/clubs/YRGS/. Sometimes managing roses can be a difficult due to the pests and disease associated with them but they can be easily managed with the right support and information from a garden club and it can be a fun challenge! It is essential to choose the right plant for the right location to avoid cultivation problems.
Plant Selections: Bright pink or red would look nice with the large swath of bluish green spruce behind them. Also, a rose that produces bright large rose hips that would be left on the rose for winter interest using the spruce as a backdrop.
A Rugosa rose would suit a space next to a spruce. Depending on how large the garden bed is near the spruce, they would fill in nicely around the base of the spruce as a little hedge. They’re low maintenance, have great fall colour with nice rose hips for winter interest. One called ‘Hansa’ has rich mauve red blooms from summer to fall. Rugosa rose has many colours and variety so you would have lots of choice to suit your tastes.
Different varieties of shrub roses would work and come in many varieties. You should choose a repeat blooming variety such as Flower Carpet.
Shrub roses such as Bonica could work. Bonica is not really a rich colour and might look washed out in front of the spruce but they are easy to grow for beginners as they have little pest and disease and tolerate many conditions.