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Helsinki’s Rose Garden

Submitted by on July 24, 2013 – 8:55 amNo Comment

finland_helsinki_rose-garden_President_KekkonenIf you’ll be in Helsinki, Finland, this summer, Road Trips Gardeners be sure to stop by the Rose Garden — it’s in bloom from July until late autumn. (Do note that we’re talking about the flower garden, not the Helsinki nightclub of the same name).

A beautiful view opens up from the Winter Garden veranda over the Rose Garden towards the Töölönlahti Bay (map). The City Gardener Svante Olsson designed and built the Rose Garden in 1924 in a geometric gardening style.

The Rose Garden, overlooking Töölönlahti Bay, has both old and new shrub rose varieties. The range has changed over the years, with the selection criteria being the hardiness of the varieties and the color of the flower.

Traditionally, the stone foundations of the veranda have been lined with a yellow rose, the outermost beds have had white roses growing in them, the pink ones being next to the white ones and then finally dark reds in the center.

Shrub roses are low, highly cultivated and generally blooming for a long time. The current shrub rose varieties are the product of a hundred years of cultivation work. They have mainly been cultivated in Western and Central Europe as well as the United States, and the winter hardiness of varieties has not been an issue. In Finland, the poor winter hardiness of most shrub rose varieties poses a problem.

Pictured is “President Kekkonen”, a floribunda rose from the 1970s that’s an upright grower, 40-60 cm high. Young leaves are dark green and shiny and the semi-double, dark red blooms have a tinge of orange and a slight scent.

Other varieties to look for: Goldmarie (Cultivator: Kordes 1984), Lapponia (Cultivator: Tantau 1978), Schneewittchen (Iceberg) (Cultivator: Kordes 1958), Bella Rosa (Cultivator: Kordes 1981), Tellervo (Grüss an Bayern) (Cultivator: Kordes 1971), Sommerwind (Cultivator: Kordes 1985), Pink Robusta (Cultivator: Kordes 1986), Robusta (Cultivator: Kordes 1979), hybrid tea roses, polyantha roses and floribunda roses, created by crossing polyantha hybrids with hybrid tea roses.

(Photo courtesy of the Public Works Department of the City of Helsinki)

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