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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Entries in USDA Zone 2 (2)


"Campfire" is a Continuous-Blooming Rose for Cold Climates. blooming roses are one of the most important plants that I use in my garden compositions. Their petals are reminiscent of the soft, old-fashioned flower heads of yesteryear, while their ruggedness resonates with gardeners in colder climates. Depending upon variety and growing conditions, a large number of them are resistant to pests and diseases.

The only shortcoming of this class of plants is the absence of intense fragrance usually associated with short blooming high maintenance hybrid tea and old-fashioned roses. Nevertheless, for this perennial gardener, who wants to see color in his flowerbeds all season long, nothing compares to continuous blooming rose bushes to pump out colorful flowers from early summer to late fall and sometimes to early winter. my enthusiasm, therefore, when I read, in the Spring 2013 edition of Garden Making magazine, that Campfire Rose, would be this season’s new introduction in the Canadian Artist Series. From the developers of the Explorer and Parkland roses, this series of next-generation plants are named after Canadian artists who created lasting works of beauty on canvas, in sculpture, or in song. Campfire Rose pays homage to a painting by Tom Thompson.

A Canadian Artists rose is evaluated more rigorously than those in the previous two series of Parkland and Explorer for the benefit of growers and gardeners across Canada and the northern United States. It must be adaptable to all parts of Canada and able to survive the climate, frost lines, diseases and capricious weather patterns from coast to coast. That means a gardener in Prince George, British Columbia, can reliably grow the same rose bush as the gardener in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Kingston, Ontario, Dauphin, Manitoba, or Truro, Nova Scotia.

For those of us who garden in cold climates, it’s comforting to know that roses that have been bred in Canada hardly ever require winter protection. Known for their toughness and refinement, they have strong root systems, clean foliage, good-to-excellent disease resistance, and strong blooming power.

Campfire Rose variety starts to flower in early summer and remains in bloom until hard frost sets in. Can a passionate gardener ask for anything more?

Growers report that this vibrant, multi-colored variety is an awesome performer. Commercial sites describe it as having a mild fragrance. Very rounded, full and bushy, it reaches 2 to 3 feet in height and is slightly wider than high.  

According to technical details supplied by the breeder and growers, the 20-petal blossoms of Campfire Rose begin as shapely buds with yellow and red tones. The flowers open yellow, edged in a deep rosy pink. Some blooms that appear  in the early season will be nearly all yellow, gradually developing pink edging. As the season progresses the pink edging becomes more prominent. Some flowers will be nearly all pink and some nearly all yellow. As autumn approaches, the blooms tend to be yellow in bud, quickly turning soft pink. Growers report that the unusual, stunning, visual effect is harlequin-like.  

Campfire Rose is described as being one of the most disease resistant of any hardy rose and cold hardy to USDA Zone 2 or CAN Zone 3. The branching on this plant is at 45 degrees, giving it both height and width. It covers ground quickly yet has enough height to be used as a high ground cover or low shrub. The stems are smooth with only the occasional short thorns, making it easy to work with.  This upcoming spring, I look forward with great excitement to test grow this new rose in my garden.

Most Canadian nurseries carry Canadian Artist roses. American gardeners should inquire at the nurseries listed below.



Levi Reunions Inc.


St. Paul

Bailey Nurseries


St. Paul

Friends School Of Minnesota


North Dakota


High Plains Concept



Harvest Garden Centre



Sheyenne Gardens



Helen's Country Greenhouse



The Flower House



Hwy 200 Greenhouse



Best Performing Perennials for USDA Zone 2, a book review

The Northern Gardener, Perennials That Survive & Thrive, Barbara Rayment, Harbour Publishing.

In northern climates, where the growing season is short, gardeners need to celebrate their flowerbeds as quickly as possible. They have no time to invest in the lengthy process of discovering a perennial’s innate personality. In unforgiving climates, therefore, gardeners appreciate forewarning about a plant’s behavior so that, during a protracted spring and summer, they can enjoy their perennial beds instead of correcting them.

Ms. Rayment successfully grows over 80 different plants in Canadian Zone 3; aka USDA Zone 2. In this handy guide for the cold climate flower gardener, she authoritatively draws upon personal experience with each plant to present the reader with one of the most truthful and well-balanced descriptions of perennials that I have ever read.

A short summer demands honesty about plant information. Revealing an intimate relationship with perennials, the author delivers both the good and the not-so-good about each one. Some are so robust that early frost kill is of no consequence; the plant will rebound quickly. A beautiful perennial may be so invasive that it will self-seed or spread vigorously. Another attractive one will secrete harmful sap that requires the gardener to wear gloves when handling.

More than 80 cold-climate hardy perennials are identified. With a warts-and-all biography for each, the gardener is assured that there will be no surprises in the flowerbed. It is also encouraging that these plants are attractive, tried-and-true perennials that require very little effort for them to flourish. Most are no-brainers, the workhorses that make us and our flowerbeds look good.

Since most books and web sites appeal to gardeners in all growing zones, it can be frustrating for those in cold climates to extract important technical details specific to their locations. What makes this guide so useful is that it pares down encyclopedic information to what is suitable for northern gardeners.

Consequently, there are specific lists of hardy perennials for wet sun, moist sun, wet shade, dry shade, and gravel or sandy soil. There are also separate lists for sunny rain, rockery, or woodlands, as well as plants that live in the extremes of soil pH and for those that are beneficial insect attractors. Readers interested in groundcovers will find lists for very low, low, mid height and tall perennials.

In order not to overwhelm the reader with the wealth of information they need, Ms. Rayment has sprinkled cautionary paragraphs and solid advice throughout the alphabetical plant biographies. In these easy-to digest nuggets, one will learn about aggressive spreaders, aphids, slugs and pest control, rodents, pets, bears, moose, clay, mulch, drought, flood and salt- tolerant plants, deer and rabbit-resistant plants, the importance of drainage, the role that ancient glacier activity played in determining the quality of northern soils, perennial maintenance, snow loads, soil texture and amendments.

This publication is also replete with so many plant photographs that northern gardeners might imagine they are paging through a catalogue created exclusively for their needs. That is exactly what the author has created. However, unlike a catalogue that only praises plants, in this book, the writer forewarns where necessary.

This is a clearly written, no-nonsense guide; the information is crisp and precise. The book is an example of the art of communication at its best; it delivers exactly what the reader needs; not a word or sentence has been wasted.