Friends, I knew that we had a long, hard winter here, but I didn't know how exactly how hard it was until my normal spring chores came around to my "formal rose bed." You can see it below and then from a different angle, just after cleanup, open and bare, ready to begin new growth again.
It has been years since this bed looked so bare, so lacking of the beauty within. It probably hasn't looked this way since I first planted it, over 10 years ago. In most years of late, as Zone 6B has moved up to our region, I've given most of these roses a mere trim with a hedge trimmer, leaving 3-5 foot bushes throughout the garden. Only one or two Hybrid Teas get a regular scalping, and sometimes even 'Tiffany' or 'First Prize' stays at the 3-foot level. This year, however, most every rose was either growing back completely from the roots or had only spotty growth higher on the bush. I could hear them whispering. "Renew us." "Help us."
Many of the 50+ roses in this bed are cane hardy to at least Zone 4, so that really tells me what our winter was like. The remaining tall roses of the picture are 'Therese Bugnet', 'John Franklin', 'Martin Frobisher' 'Earthsong', 'Variegata di Bologna', 'Red Moss', 'Leda', 'Blush Hip', and 'Coquette de Blanche'. Notice that most of these are either Canadian Roses or Old Garden Roses.
As for the chopped off group, they're a varied lot of fame. Two English roses, 'Golden Celebration' and 'The Dark Lady'. About eight Griffith Buck roses went down, including 'Prairie Harvest' and 'Autumn Sunset'. 'Sally Holmes' and 'Lady Elsie May' became midgets, along with two Bailey Roses including 'Hot Wonder and 'High Voltage'. Even two Canadian roses, 'Winnepeg Park' and 'Morden Fireglow', got burr cuts.
I would be upset at the winter kill, but, to be truthful, this wholesale destruction needed to happen anyway. The bushes here were tangled and overgrown, some of them massive things that were shading out more delicate neighbors. And, in the end, it is fitting that the renewal of this garden took place on the eve of Easter. What better day to ready oneself and one's garden for a new beginning?