Why grow a rose?
Andrea Bellamy |

Rosa 'Bonica' in my mother's garden

A month or so ago, I asked readers to tell me why roses deserve a place in the modern garden. Under the (d)elusion that roses were finicky, spindly, high-maintenance wusses that didn’t belong in a  environmentally-conscious garden, I couldn’t imagine why on earth I’d plant one.

Then I heard from you. 71 of you – 69 of whom passionately defended the rose (the other two, well, they agreed with me!). There were so many great arguments. Several people called upon history and literature, saying that the rose is the “quintessential plant,” one that is necessary in a garden if it is to be truly called a garden. The practical among you told me, rightly so, that it’s all about finding the right variety. Some people actually argued – and I’m not at all convinced I agree! – that the appeal of roses is their difficulty (surely those are the varieties I’d want to avoid, being a somewhat “relaxed” gardener). Many of you reminded me of the scent of roses, truly a sweet perfume, and the romance it adds to a garden. And a few readers, knowing how to hit me where it counts – argued for the rose as an edible plant (I hadn’t considered that!).

But Nancy (commenter #10) said all of that and more, so I’m happy to award her with the grand prize – two tickets to the World Rose Festival, held in Vancouver from June 19-21, 2009, as well as $100 in rose shrubs from Select Roses. Congratulations, Nancy!

As a bonus, I’m able to offer a runner-up prize of two tickets to the event to Brian Cole (commenter #62), who had me feeling a bit sentimental with his entry. Any man who writes, “Roses remind me of the love of my life, my wife of nearly 50 years, whose beauty never fades” deserves a prize in my book! Enjoy the show, Brian!

Thanks to everyone who shared their love of roses. I must say, I’m actually convinced and looking forward to finding the right rose for my garden.

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