The Garden of Carol and Heiko Lotzgeselle’s of Edmonton, Alberta

Lay Me Down on a Bed of Roses!

‘April in Paris’
Award-winning roses ‘Sheer Bliss’
Profusely blooming Explorer rose, ‘John Davis’
‘Rhapsody in blue’

“Touch of Class’
The sensual, heady scent of hundreds of roses greets the visitor to Carol and Heiko Lotzgeselle’s garden and hints at delights to come. Rounding the back corner of the house, the visitor’s senses are overwhelmed and the garden beckons the newcomer to inspect close up the gorgeous blooms. Every sunny and not so sunny spot in the garden that will support a rose bush is radiant with blooms in all imaginable colours and sizes.

Heiko has filled the garden with beds of roses divided by grass pathways. Each bed features a different colour. There are beds of red, pink and yellow roses. Each bed includes bi-colours and colour blends which add life and variety.

Heiko’s favourite rose is a hybrid tea called ‘Parole’. It’s a two-tone purple rose whose fragrant flowers reach 20 cm (eight inches) across. The other roses vary in size from 20 cm across to less than 2.5 cm. Most are hybrid tea roses or floribundas, although there are also a few hardy roses, mostly climbers. One bed is edged with over 100 miniature roses; others are edged with alyssum.

The Lotzgeselle garden won first place in the rose garden category of the Edmonton Horticultural Society garden competition a few years ago and again in 2008. It is easy to see why. Not only are there over 400 roses, but the garden is carefully laid out to showcase their beauty.

A large fountain circled by a pea gravel path anchors one of the beds, allowing a visitor to get close to the marvellous specimens growing there. It is easy to lose track of time as one wanders from one glowing flower to another, touching and smelling.

Heiko built a gazebo that fills one corner of the garden. Predictably, roses climb up its sides. The gazebo is furnished with comfortable chairs that invite one to relax for a while. From inside the gazebo one has a wonderful view of the red rose bed, with other beds behind it. It`s a peaceful spot for enjoying a glass of wine on a summer evening, with the fragrance of roses carried on the breeze and the sound of birds and insects a harmonious counterpoint.

Fifteen years ago, the Lotzgeselle garden held 10 or 12 roses, but a few years later Heiko got serious about growing roses and the numbers quickly mounted. Tending the roses is Heiko’s exercise regime, a welcome change from his job as a home builder.

Beautiful as they are, roses are not the only plants growing in the Lotzgeselle garden. Two mature spruce trees form a backdrop for a swing where Heiko and Carol like to sit and enjoy their garden. Other trees shade parts of the garden. A Nanking cherry provides early bloom and later attracts birds.

Along a fence, delphiniums thrust regal wands to the sky and beside them clematis adds a colourful counterpoint. Lilies grow beside the house, lending brilliant colour to the scene. In spring peonies provide colour, and their foliage is an attractive presence for the rest of the season. Along the side of the house, Carol has created a bed lush with large hostas, goatsbeard and ligularia. These large plants give an almost tropical feel to this corner of the garden. Astilbes, bergenia, lysimachia and lamium thrive in other shady areas.

Carol has added touches of colour throughout the garden. A pot of pansies nestles under the spruce trees and pots of petunias hang on one wall. Heiko and Carol have settled on a division of labour in their garden.

Heiko tends the roses, and Carol looks after the other plants. Together, they have created a wonderful sanctuary in the middle of a busy city.

Maggie Easton is president of the Edmonton Horticulture Society and knowledgeable gardener.

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