Old Prairie Roses @ Brooks Alta Crop Diversification Center

Maybe somebody has already shown this info in the past so my apologies if it is common knowledge, but the garden was not to me nor the depth of the prairie rose content done by the famous pioneers of the past.

Some of you who have an interest in old prairie roses for hybridization reasons maybe surprised - like I was - at the claimed content of the gardens in the attachment in terms of old (1930 to 60’s) roses listed as being grown on the grounds-skinner- simonet- wright-bugnet-erskine-hansen. The government of alberta agriculture facility is in Brooks Alberta. Plow through the light intro and you will find the list and garden plan.

I always thought some were extinct or just about like Lac La Nonne, Lac Majeau. There are roses listed by those pioneers I had never heard of.

I have never been there and it is right in my backyard … how embarassing. It will be visited in June in bended knees.

Link: www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/opp4386/$FILE/rosegarden.pdf


The rose garden needs renovating in a bad way. For one thing, several of the Spinosissima cultivars have taken over too much. Can you come in the spring and help us out? You can go back to Calgary with a lot of loot (suckers of cultivars).

I should add the days of this rose garden may be numbered. There simply isn’t enough volunteer help to keep it up. Unfortunately, the town of Brooks doesn’t realize the value of it for tourism and never promotes it.

I’ll be there, and I’ll bring the old, 3/4 ton 4x4 if it still runs by then for haulage needs if required (cleanup and mulch). This is an opportunity I am not going to miss. The history contained is impressive and even more so as it so hard to find as actually growing - and just around the corner. I have been slowly - for me anyways - converting the gardens to the prairie roses over the last couple of years.

Paul to put a magnitude and scale to how much this treasure trove has interested me … there is approximately 65 examples in the collection of about 150 that I have never seen … that’s a lot of weeding I am going to have to do. This collection is unbelievable find and sure pays to surf the web. By the way I have never been able to find the rose list at Devonian Gardens web site, do you know if one exists?


You have to keep in mind that some of these cultivars are in poor condition and are fading out. Last fall I noted, for example, there wasn’t much left of ‘Helen Bland’ and it needs to be replaced. That cultivar had been in the rose garden for several decades. Fortunately, I have been propagating it and there is a plant available for replacement.

There is no rose list on the Devonian Botanic Garden web site. They don’t even have the rose garden as one of their main gardens featured on their web site, which is unacceptable. I guess they don’t value it that much. I can send you a list ot the approximately 300 cultivars/species grown in the rose garden. At least 200 of these I added over a period of seven years. It is likely the largest collection of cold hardy (Zone 2 - 3) roses in the world.