“Every spring, like it or not, we are all beginners, all over again.”

Perfect blooms in the garden this season are scarce because I’ve had a few setbacks. The roses are not looking good at all. Growing roses definitely has its up and downs and this week is a mix of both. It still hasn’t rained. The air is very dry and it feels as if it has not rained for months which is sadly true. Watering will never be the same as a good downpour of rain on the garden. We had several howling, armageddon style dust storms last week leaving all the foliage on the roses spotted with dust and destroying new growth tips from the force. The blooms on the roses are damaged and the garden has had a real shakeup. I’ve started to notice too, that many blooms are going brown before they open properly and becoming half-eaten and deformed in shape. Not at all what I had planned for the first flush of Spring.

At first, I thought it was wind damage, but on closer inspection, it’s tiny thrips inside the buds that cause the browning. Then, the buds are eaten by the ladybirds and in some instances, the birds decide to eat the lot. Leaving behind a devoured rosebud and bloom half-eaten. This is nature’s cycle. Although it is a shame after all the work and patience required, waiting for the new blooms to unfold, to find them so distorted and not perfect.

“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments.”

Janet Kilburn Phillips


Sadly, I had to cut many buds and blooms off the plants’ and I have sprayed some with the hose because evidently, thrips hate water. Seasons come and go and each year is different. Last year we had aphids but now its thrips. I wonder if it is due to the dry weather? It was not enjoyable removing all my long-awaited rose blooms prematurely and I’m hoping the second flush will be a clearer looking roses on each bush. Fingers crossed.

Di Baker Image

We want plants to be perfect but they rarely grow exactly as we intended or match precisely our vision. Fortunately, this setback is not in all parts of the garden and the new area around the back, I view from the kitchen, is absolutely delightful. So colourful and healthy and all the roses are growing very well. I’d go so far as to say its been a great success.


According to Treloar’s Roses on their website. Thrips are about 2mm long and can be yellow to black and arrive in the wind usually on hot dry days in Spring and Summer. Thrips feed by draining the contents of plant cells, causing white specks or trails on new leaves and scarring on petals which are often seen as brown blemishes on light coloured blooms. Most people notice the effects on pale-coloured flowers first leaving blooms with brown edges. If left they can be quite destructive and often cause deformities in new growth. More information is available on the Treloar’s website

Let’s not talk though about the belligerent white cockatoos too much that have also created havoc. Today they have demolished at least three-quarters of my Shropshire Lad rose that had been growing well out by garage posts. I finally had this rose about to flower and wham! It is now tiny again with a pile of sawn-off branches in a heap around the pot. I have tidied the plant up before I took this photo as it was really pulled apart.

White Cockatoos have a destructive nature that is hard to cope with. Earlier this year we had just completed a new upstairs deck. We had it painted and it was looking fabulous when we noticed large areas of the railings around the deck were damaged in several spots where the white cockatoos had attempted to eat the wood. When there is so much land and trees to chew on, why oh why, do they have to eat the newly painted timber?

“Hope is one of the essential tools of a farmer or gardener.” 

Amy Stewart

So yes, I hope that my use of water and eco oil will do the trick and the predicted rain on Sunday also may help with the thrips. As for the birds, they are just another aspect of living on a property and trying to garden. To be honest the birds do not usually give us much grief and so far this season all the plants are behind fences for the wallabies, kangaroos and sheep.

Title quote is from Dominique Browning

Images Header Image Chic and Antique

1st Image Maria Labanda Unsplash

2nd Image Michelle Henderson Unsplash.

3rd Image Di Baker

4th Image John Torcasio on Unsplash

5th Image Di Baker

6th Image Unsplash

All Content Di Baker 2019 All Rights Reserved

One thought

  1. Hi Di
    This is fabulous and I love hearing all your stories…the trials and the successes. You are very talented plus an inspiring gardener. I cant believe you have created such lushness out of such harsh conditions and through drought as well. Very impressive and all the roses are so beautiful. The scents must be heavenly. Love Ange xxxx


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