I’m having a Magenta day. Not just red, but Magenta!

My rose garden began with my desire to play with colour. Like an artist's palette, the colours and hues available in roses are endless. Colour is everywhere; we see colours, feel them, taste, touch, and smell them and they have a profound effect on us in natural and numerous ways; moods, behaviour, circadian rhythms, motivation,… Continue reading I’m having a Magenta day. Not just red, but Magenta!

“Celebrate endings—for they precede new beginnings.” 

Today's the last day of the year, and I am in a celebratory mood looking forward to the New Year and a holiday away. As the year closes, I'm a long way from the garden by the harbour in Sydney, celebrating the end of a successful Spring but also reflecting on the past year. Nature… Continue reading “Celebrate endings—for they precede new beginnings.” 

“The real voyage in discovery is not in new landscapes but in having new eyes”

New landscapes are emerging, and I'm seeing the garden for the first time with fresh eyes because, at last, when I walk in the garden, I feel as though with fragrance wafting in the air and an abundance of perfect roses it is a 'proper garden' now. The experience of watching the roses unfold is… Continue reading “The real voyage in discovery is not in new landscapes but in having new eyes”

“Despite the gardener’s best intentions, Nature will improvise.”’

Today is a serene and beautiful clear sunny day, peaceful and still after the early morning cool and not a cloud in the sky. The sun shines, and the day is expected to be hot, a perfect summer day. Alas, like all things in nature, just when you thought it was time to enjoy the… Continue reading “Despite the gardener’s best intentions, Nature will improvise.”’

“ The most productive time in the garden is not spent digging and working but sitting and contemplating. ” 

Summer in the garden is all about doing as little as possible; it is a time to enjoy the roses and soak up the sun and summer breeze whilst thinking of all that needs to be done- watering, weeding and deadheading. Only a few gardeners can sit idle when deadheading needs doing, and most are… Continue reading “ The most productive time in the garden is not spent digging and working but sitting and contemplating. ” 

“As I leave the garden, I take a renewed view. And a quiet soul.”

Recently I visited the Botanical Gardens of two New Zealand cities, Dunedin and Christchurch. It was an uplifting experience to wander in the gardens and see a snapshot of the plants and trees of New Zealand's South Island and especially the roses bred here. As the quote above states, I left feeling at peace and… Continue reading “As I leave the garden, I take a renewed view. And a quiet soul.”

“And now let us welcome the New Year, Full of things that have never been.”

The dawn of a New Year is nearly here - a fresh start full of life's promise, a time when we celebrate new beginnings and plot new year's resolutions to be more mindful in our lives. For the garden, though, the new year is springtime in the southern hemisphere. By year's end, the delights of… Continue reading “And now let us welcome the New Year, Full of things that have never been.”

Be patient with yourself. Nothing in nature blooms all year.

As I look back on the past year in the garden, there are many triumphs, a few heartaches and much improvement. One of the lessons I've learnt this year is that gardens do not happen overnight; a relaxed attitude and patience are needed whilst waiting for the garden to mature. I now observe new forms… Continue reading Be patient with yourself. Nothing in nature blooms all year.

“The secret of landscapes isn’t creation…It’s maintenance.

All the new roses are transforming the garden landscape, and I am loving the changes. There are small glimpses of the colours and style to expect as the roses settle in and become more established. They blend beautifully with the older roses that are the garden stalwarts having triumphed and endured the last few years… Continue reading “The secret of landscapes isn’t creation…It’s maintenance.

“Yesterday’s rose endures in its name, we hold empty names”.

The names of roses, the history, and the romanticism of the names of roses are aspects, along with playing with colour, that I love about growing roses. Nowhere else could we find so varied a selection of people linked only through a rose name. Indeed, what else would the painter Auguste Renoir have in common… Continue reading “Yesterday’s rose endures in its name, we hold empty names”.

“It is December, and my world smells of roses.“

Today, the open windows on the first morning of summer bring a more profound joy because our Spring was so cloud-covered and wet. At last, the sun shines, it is wonderful and the garden looks and feels like summer. As if overnight, Spring undergrowth has dried and is, in part, ready to cut back, masses… Continue reading “It is December, and my world smells of roses.“

“Wild roses are fairest, and nature a better gardener than art.”

A tousled abundance of roses and perennials was my intent on creating a garden; sure enough, a profusion of roses and other florals now permeates the garden as spring nears the end of its reign. Copious roses hang from arching canes and interweave amongst the lavender, herbs and geraniums. Some stand upright with the sky… Continue reading “Wild roses are fairest, and nature a better gardener than art.”

“If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”

Roses are the masterpiece of nature, adored the world over for their beauty and mesmerising fragrance. Today I have a selection of roses I photographed on one day early this week when I ducked outside to the damp garden to shoot a few snaps of the roses that were in bloom and had survived the… Continue reading “If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”

“Each garden has its own surprise.”

Season after season, wonderful surprises pop up in the garden as if by magic. These unexpected elements create new landscapes that are delightful reminders of what gardening is actually about. Mirabel Osler calls it the 'alchemy of the garden.' A pleasing effect from a myriad of plants creates something more than individual details. An unexpected… Continue reading “Each garden has its own surprise.”

“It takes a loyal gardener to tend roses.”

  The garden is buzzing with life, and the roses are spectacular in every direction. The best news is that the roses have only just started to open, which means many more weeks and months of blooms are yet to come, Spring: a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can truly be. One of the… Continue reading “It takes a loyal gardener to tend roses.”

Out of the Blue

body of water during dawn

Blue is one of the most popular colours. The azure blue of the sky is reflected in our lakes, oceans and waterways and creates the haze in distant mountains but the pigment blue in the garden is extremely rare. So, even though Blue is all around us in the environment, Blue is elusive and there… Continue reading Out of the Blue

And they’re off…

No, I'm not talking about the Melbourne Cup, even though it is on soon. It is the Spring flush in the garden that has my attention. Each morning I wake to more and more blooms radiating like beacons over the garden despite the cloudy, wet weather. One by one, each rose bush opens with a… Continue reading And they’re off…

“There may be many flowers in a person’s life, but there is only one rose.”

A favourite rose is difficult to define, but the Lady of Shalott® rose is a cherished rose in my garden. The photo above is the first bloom of the year and was taken in the shade on a cloudy day, so it does not highlight the golden glow these beautiful roses usually emit. A romantic… Continue reading “There may be many flowers in a person’s life, but there is only one rose.”

“A gardener learns to play the hand he’s dealt” 

Once again, I've been saved from garden watering by obliging clouds and another deluge of rain over the last three days. It was predicted and arrived on schedule almost to the hour, beginning as quiet stillness in the air that made me think of the phrase, the calm before the storm. Followed by soft Irish… Continue reading “A gardener learns to play the hand he’s dealt” 

“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.”

Spring is here, and what a delight it is each morning to witness the buds unfolding that herald the start to the season. Sometimes hidden under the spectacular, fresh, clean and new foliage, are welcome flashes of colour from new blooms. The leaves are stunning too, from glossy lime green to darkest maroon with bright… Continue reading “Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.”

“If I wore beige, nobody would know who I am.”

The portrait above is a beautiful painting of HM Queen Elizabeth II, aged nine years, who was born Princess Elizabeth of York (1926-2022). May she rest in Peace. The artist is Hungarian-British painter Philip Alexius de László, known for his portraits of royals and aristocrats. (1869-1937)Queen Elizabeth II, like others in the Royal family, have… Continue reading “If I wore beige, nobody would know who I am.”

“The sound of the rain needs no translation.”

dew glass rain raindrops

Overnight the garden has gone from an abundance of colourful perfumed roses and perennials to a windblown saturated, flooded garden. Many roses lie in a sodden mess face down in ponds of still water. I love the sound of rain on our tin roof, but just now, rain is not what we want to hear.… Continue reading “The sound of the rain needs no translation.”

“In the garden as in writing, punctuation is needed to clarify structure and meanings. A garden without punctuation is like prose without full stops or music without a beat.”

Spring is in the air and there are signs that the garden is coming together. Over the time I've been gardening, the climbing roses have been the trickiest to get right. I initially envisaged an abundance of rose blooms cascading around the front door and verandah posts of the old Australian farmhouse (1910 ) where… Continue reading “In the garden as in writing, punctuation is needed to clarify structure and meanings. A garden without punctuation is like prose without full stops or music without a beat.”

“Spring: The music of open windows.”

Spring is here, and good times in the garden are coming. Don't you just love the first days of early Spring when the windows can be flung open, and the breeze can blow through the house after all the rain and cold of winter? It enlivens the senses and makes you feel good, especially on… Continue reading “Spring: The music of open windows.”

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”

Today is crisp and beautiful; the sun shines after yesterday's wet day. Sheep graze in the long grass and the new roses that were 'heeled in' are now all planted. The days after rain have an allure all their own that no amount of watering can replicate. It's like waking up to a promise of… Continue reading “All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”

“Nothing is more the child of art than a garden.” 

Claude Monet in his garden Many great painters from the past were also avid gardeners who chose to paint their surroundings and families enjoying the garden. Why not? The garden is so full of colour through the months of spring, summer and autumn, with beautiful spaces to view and capture in paint. At this time… Continue reading “Nothing is more the child of art than a garden.” 

“Just remember, during the winter, there’s a seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes a rose.”

Frost on Lamb's Ear As the light came across the horizon at dawn on several mornings this week, a white landscape of thick frost was revealed, all is motionless, and it's bitterly cold. Although I noticed yesterday that the surrounding paddocks of canola are coming into flower, a sure sign we are heading towards Spring,… Continue reading “Just remember, during the winter, there’s a seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes a rose.”

“The Rose is without an explanation; She blooms because She blooms.”

Winter has been here with a vengeance over the last few weeks with wild weather, heavy rain and devastating floods in Australia for the third time this year. It is cold and bleak outside, but the odd thing is there are hundreds of roses out in bloom. Some roses blooming have never really been in… Continue reading “The Rose is without an explanation; She blooms because She blooms.”

“The colour of spring is in the flowers; the colour of winter is in the imagination.”

As I walk through the garden now with winter well and truly here, I am surprised to still see beautiful rose blooms opening despite the cold mornings and nights. The tenacity of some of the roses is remarkable, refusing to give up and rest. When my eyes rove across the garden they don't see what… Continue reading “The colour of spring is in the flowers; the colour of winter is in the imagination.”

“Let no one think that real gardening is a bucolic and meditative occupation. It is an insatiable passion, like everything else to which we a give our heart.”  

blue white and red poppy flower field

Drive, inspiration, enthusiasm, tools and plants at the ready-check. What is missing is fine weather? Incessant rain, cold, bleak and cloudy days mean few moments suitable for gardening, but not to be deterred; these days are perfect for more detailed planning. On days like these, the creative mind can endlessly design the ultimate garden on… Continue reading “Let no one think that real gardening is a bucolic and meditative occupation. It is an insatiable passion, like everything else to which we a give our heart.”  

“Apprentice yourself to nature. Not a day will pass without her opening a new and wondrous world of experience to learn from and enjoy.”

Today was a real treat as I was able to spend three hours this morning involved in a Horticultural Symposium hosted by Michael McCoy, a first for me. Michael had curated a rich and diverse lineup of speakers, including Fergus Garret, Ed Flint, Sophie Thomson, Jimi Blake, Donna Somerville, and Casein Schmidt. To say it… Continue reading “Apprentice yourself to nature. Not a day will pass without her opening a new and wondrous world of experience to learn from and enjoy.”

“A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring.” 

Ironically, the popularity of a dry naturalistic or wild garden is at its peak, just as we are experiencing unprecedented wet conditions from La Nina in Australia. The garden flourishes in this pre-winter stage with no frost and extra moisture. As I contemplate the garden feeling cosy, and warm inside, and view the countryside beyond,… Continue reading “A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness and its enduring.” 

The Painters Collection of Roses

“What I need most of all are flowers, always, always.”Claude Monet, 1840-1926 Impressionist painter and life-long gardener The Painters Collection of roses by Delbards France, are sensational and catch your eye in the garden with their unique colouring and happy disposition. This season my garden will be complete with the entire range of the Painters… Continue reading The Painters Collection of Roses

“Don’t think the garden loses it’s ectasy in Winter. Its quiet but the roots are down there riotous.”

With only a few days left before winter is officially here, we have tasted days to come. On cloudy days when the sun's warmth is missed retreating indoors to winter comforts, the fireside, cosy rugs and delicious hot soups are welcome diversions. "There ought to be Gardens for all Months in the year, in which,… Continue reading “Don’t think the garden loses it’s ectasy in Winter. Its quiet but the roots are down there riotous.”

“Who has learned to garden who did not at the same time learn to be patient?”

I spoke too soon last time, and now that drop of rain has continued for days. Not a deluge, thankfully, but enough drizzle, fog and dampness to prevent working outside. The timing of recent rains was perfect because I'd almost finished applying compost and mulch, so the extra water would well and truly have soaked… Continue reading “Who has learned to garden who did not at the same time learn to be patient?”