I’ve come to realize, being flower obsessed, one of my favourite things to do is visit beautiful gardens and flower farms and talk to people who are as passionate about flowers as I am. I think of it as floral tourism and have started using my own little made up term “fleurism” to describe it. I’ve decided to start sharing some of my fleurism adventures on the blog and my first post is close to home.
This weekend I took a trip with the husband and dog to Galetta Rose Nurseries, about 40 minutes outside of Ottawa, before they closed for the season. The nursery lies on a property that was a gravel quarry in the 1950’s before the current owner purchased the property in 1981 and planted a variety of pine trees. It’s now a peaceful, lush place you would never guess looked like the surface of the moon 35 years ago (you can see a before photo here).
The nursery was established in 1993 and sells exclusively hardy roses. In other words, they only sell roses that will grow back after a harsh Ottawa winter without special protection. Their roses are all grown on-site without pesticides and are hand weeded. By contrast, garden centres at big box stores will sell roses grown in warmer climates with the use of chemicals and those roses won’t necessarily thrive here without a lot of effort.
Galetta Rose Nurseries sells about 75 varieties of roses and I’d probably like one of each (you can see pictures of their offerings on their Facebook page). Unfortunately I don’t have room to establish a garden at the moment so I settled for one lovely “Prairie Snowdrift” I’m hoping I can squeeze into a small bed near the front door of our new home and get some blooms before frost comes. Some of my favourite roses they grow are: Morden Blush, Morden Belle, Prairie Joy, Madame Hardy, Madame Plantier, Rambling Red, Alchymist, and Charles de Mills.
What I would love to do next season is follow the model of My Luscious Backyard which grows and harvests flowers in various gardens around downtown Toronto. Garden grown roses have such a special quality that can’t be replicated in mass produced ones. If any readers know of anyone in the Glebe or nearby willing to have a flower enthusiast take care of planting and maintaining their garden in exchange for being able to harvest blooms, please put them in touch! I promise to plant some beautiful roses!
For those interested in planting their own roses, I’d highly recommend taking a day trip to Galetta Rose Nurseries when they open up again next year. They have the most varieties to choose from in May at the beginning of their season and in late June the roses put on a beautiful display. There’s lots to do and see in the area (ex. beautiful conservation areas, berry picking, a fudge factory!) and the owner thoughtfully provides weekly suggestions for nearby places to visit. It’s an experience you won’t get going to a big box garden centre. Mark and his wife Sue are both very friendly and knowledgeable about the roses they sell, and it’s clear Galetta Rose Nurseries is a labour of love.