Jardin à la française

    “The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change: Yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.”

Paul Coelho
My French Garden -first season 2018

Last year after the initial success of my ‘first attempt’ garden, I was looking at the adjacent area of lawn one day and said to my husband ‘ How about I dig up this lawn and plant more roses’? In the silence that followed, I could almost hear his mind thinking “if it were roses, it would be less lawn to mow”! And so began my new project, the planting of the French garden in early 2018. Why French?

The idea was to plant a range of Delbard and other French roses including Belle Signeur, Belle Parfum, Chartreuse de Parme, Dioressence, Bordure Camaieu, Bordure Nacree and others like Versigny, Chateau Versaille, La Vien Rose, Pierre Gagnaire, Souvenir de Louise Amade, Paul Cezanne, Perfum de Paris and Sour Emmanuelle amongst others. With determination one day I dug up the small stone edging pictured above that had been laid by prisoners of war from Cowra during WW11. It will be used in another area where we had the same edging with pieces missing.

Before 2017

The colour scheme was to be soft peach colours and apricot with highlights of deeper coral and watermelon pink with just a touch of gold. As pictured in the image at the top of the post, the first Spring colours of the French Garden.

Bare site for French Garden 2018

I envisaged the colours would blend through to the two toned roses of Joyfulness, Paul Cezanne, Gruss an Aachen and Auguste Luise. Overall, it was a huge success and we have had many months of pleasure from the colour and fragrance of all the roses. In fact, it was quite exciting seeing them all bloom so spectacularly and watching the colour scheme unfold. The fragrance alone was remarkable.


Compared to some early setbacks in my first year, the garden is magnificent and looks fantastic from spring bloom until winter. This area is the most protected in the garden due to the larger roses providing part shade. And as time moves on a micro climate of sorts will develop so the plants won’t be burnt from the sun, and the blooms will continue well into late Autumn.

The French garden was not without mistakes. One was planting a perennial ‘echinacea’ that I expected to be pink and it grew tall and thick with garish bright, yellow flowers. I left it until the end of season and pulled the reluctant plant out to grow somewhere else.

The French garden has progressed this winter by planting more roses, and thinning some out of unsuitable colours and wild spreading roses that I moved elsewhere. Several roses from around the garden I also moved into the French garden for a chance of shade during the relentless, hot summer sun; Lady of Shalott, Ambridge Rose, Emilion Guillot and The Governor’s Wife plus Manam Cochet, Elodie Gossuin and Claude Monet. Time will tell in Spring this year after careful planning of colours, heights and new additional roses if ‘My French Garden’ gets closer to the vision in my mind’s eye of a full, abundant mass of colourful and perfumed blooms underplanted with thyme varieties as a groundcover and interesting companion plants.

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, 

Gertrude Stein

All Content and Images Di Baker 2019 All Rights Reserved

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