Spring in the snow

Day 1: When does spring begin for a gardener? Valentines Day?

I have been pouring through order catalogues for weeks, but last night I completed my 2018 bare root rose order, and for the sake of simplicity, will call this the season’s day 1. The count for spring planting against the old cedar posts in the farm yard is now 14: funny, that. I’ll have the odd addition to this as the summer approaches. I am hoping these will sit playfully and perhaps elegantly surrounding the old yellow and red brick Victorian farm house.


Red Eden  Climbing. Classic old rose fragrance & form. Re-blooms. 5″ blooms. Heat tolerant. Good in the vase. Grows 10-12ft. Source just up the road, in Waterdown, at Hortico.com. They have also developed a fabulous organic rose feed & pest inhibitor.

Don Juan of course! Free blooming. Very fragrant. Heat tolerant. Grows  12-15ft. Good in the vase. Source, Hortico.

Dublin Bay. Free blooming Irish bred climber.  Fruity fragrance. Disease resistant, and good cut. Grows up to 12ft. Source, Hortico.

Tess of the d’Ubervilles. David Austin climber. Free blooming. Very thorny. Strong myrrh fragrance. Just 8ft. Good in the vase. Source, David Austin’s North American distributor in Texas, on-line at  the U.K. home base,  https://www.davidaustinroses.com/eu/

Mister Lincoln. Dark and velvety. Strong damask fragrance. Good disease and heat resistance. Repeat flowering. This is not a climber: 4ft. Great cut. Source, oddly, David Austin directly, via Texas. Sadly, that’s what Canadians must do.

I have ordered one more red through David Austin, to be at the discretion of the powers that be. Whether that is Falstaff climbing, or Munstead Wood, or Shakespeare, time will tell. I will keep you updated.

I will post my yellows Friday. Happy Valentine’s Day to all.


Styx Crossing

With nearly 60 years since this 100 acre heaven has been farmed, approaching 20 years since my nationally famous garden writer father’s passing, the solo task, of creating compelling gardens in the rolling stoney landscape of Styx Crossing, seems overwhelming. Over the coming winter months I will share with you my reflections, regarding both my father H. Fred Dale, and myself, through this wild, beautiful, and stubborn property we both have loved. The past, present and future will collide I hope in a marvelously Canadian way. Above all, this will be about the bliss and madness of gardeners and gardening. We are in zone 5, but not zoned out.