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Garden’s blooms returning to life

Oak Bay completes major overhaul of rose garden at Windsor Park
Municipal gardener Helen Strohschein plants some new roses at the rose garden in Windsor Park.

Like a phoenix, Oak Bay’s most fragrant garden is coming up roses – again.

“The rose garden had reached its age a bit. The roses weren’t as prolific anymore,”  said municipal gardener Helen Strohschein. “Since the garden’s been built, we’ve come across issues with drainage.”

Faced with age, soil-borne disease and improper drainage, the rose garden adjacent to Windsor Park just wasn’t thriving.

Several tonnes of new soil and new plants later, they expect to have the garden restored even beyond its former glory.

“It’s something that we’ve discussed over quite a few years. The roses have been replaced, some have been there longer periods of time,” said Strohschein. “It’s a heritage site so a top-priority garden. We decided to take an opportunity … Let’s just rethink the whole garden.”

As a longtime employee working in the area, she’s seen the patronage, so when given the opportunity to redesign, she thought about the people she’d seen using the space.

“My biggest focus was, being there over multiple years, it’s a place that people seem to walk into but they leave very quickly. I wanted to create more of a green space within the garden,” Strohschein said. “I wanted to create spaces people could come in and spread a blanket and sit and eat and not feel like they had to get up and go.”

Parks expects the complete redesign to finish this week, featuring new bed locations, soil irrigation and 187 new roses all in a new layout.

“We’ve dialled down the beds, there will be half the beds there were prior,” said Strohschein. “”We’re trying to keep the same amount (of roses).”

Beds will feature tree roses, and the only original remaining rose will return, a Ruth Alexander climbing rose.

They expect loads of blooms by June.



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