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Roses — after a difficult winter and spring — are blooming to life in time for this Coquitlam show

The Fraser Pacific Rose Society is holding its annual rose show at Coquitlam's Centennial garden and Dogwood pavilion on June 22 and 23
Olga Smeeth, a member of the Fraser Pacific Rose Society, checks the progess of one of the dozens of rose bushes coming to bloom at the Centennial garden, just in time for the group's annual show June 22 and 23.

“This is a blessed garden,” says Theresa Krause of the Fraser Pacific Rose Society. 

A week out from the group’s annual rose show she looks out over the Centennial garden behind Coquitlam’s Dogwood Pavilion (1655 Winslow Ave.) and marvels. After a difficult winter and cool, wet spring, just a few days of sunshine have started to bring the colourful blooms to life.

Krause said a few more days of warmth will have it positively bursting in time for the show, which runs 1 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 23.

She wasn’t always so optimistic.

A mild spell in January started to wake the bushes from their winter slumber but a subsequent deep freeze turned their canes black.

To save the plants, some of which are at least 30 years old, Krause said volunteers from the society’s 60 members mobilized to cut them back almost to the ground.

The slow arrival of spring warmth delayed their rejuvenation by a couple of weeks. But now that the days are longer and the sun is beginning to shine, the bushes are bouncing back by leaps and bounds.

Krause said the increasing incidence of extreme weather because of climate change is forcing rose gardeners to rethink how they care for their plants. Getting successfully through the winter means a lot of work in the fall.

It starts with trimming the bushes of all their leaves then spraying them with a mix of dormant oil and sulphur three times in subsequent months to discourage insects and kill fungus.

But, said Krause, this past winter and another rough season in 2022 have some gardeners covering their bushes with gardening fabric and mounding the dirt at their base to provide extra insulation to their roots.

“Now we have to wonder are we doing enough to protect them,” Krause said.

So far, the plants have been forgiving.

“Roses are very resilient,” Krause said.

The reward for the extra effort to keep them going is enduring, she added.

“You have these beautiful flowers from May to October, that’s the joy of it.”

This year, for the first time, admission to the rose show will be free thanks to funding from a Spirit of Coquitlam grant.

As well as providing an opportunity to admire the dozens of varieties of roses blooming in the Centennial garden and learn some tricks of the trade from society members who will be on hand to answer questions, the show includes floral art demonstrations at 2 p.m. each day.

Home gardeners can also enter their own roses, floral art creations and even photos of their roses in competitions and exhibition in the pavilion. They must be submitted from 6 to 9:45 a.m. Saturday, June 22, to be eligible for voting that occurs from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

For more information about the rose show, as well as its competitions, you can go to the Fraser Pacific Rose Society’s website.