How could we ever forget that nature is in charge when we live through such extreme weather conditions.? Smoke filled atmosphere from the fires burning many kilometres away, the continual chance of dust storms, no rain, high winds and hot temperatures. I feel I should apologise to my roses for giving them such horrible conditions and expecting them to bloom for me and grow this season.
Away from the garden last week for just 4 days and despite having a reliable neighbour watering for me, some of the roses on my return were ‘crisp’ rather than showing luscious green foliage. Such a disappointment so early in the season to see so many burnt leaves on the rose bushes. It is not lack of water but the heat and strong sunlight and of course the dreaded two-spotted mites that suck all the nutrients from the leaves when dry conditions prevail.
Cinderella is one such rose that on my return I noticed was crisp looking resembling parchment paper. This beautiful rose has done well for 3-4 and is surrounded by other very healthy roses with lush green foliage and blooms galore. Yet for some reason, Cinderella rose is sunburnt and in a bad way. I hope it survives after my watering and care.
On the other hand, I had taken out several roses from the garden and potted them as I thought they didn’t look good and may eventually die. These roses have turned the corner from stunted and frail-looking to showing healthy signs of lush new growth and buds. All it not lost. One of these was Diana Princess of Wales Rose for some reason was just a stick in the ground. So I potted it out thinking there would be a small chance of survival and much to my delight has now sprouted again and looks lush and green. Tangles and several Many Happy Returns roses I also potted because they were stunted too and not growing very much. These beautiful roses are all doing well now and especially the Many Happy Returns pictured above. It was a good decision to relocate them, and I’m delighted they were not lost.
So there are success stories, and many plants have blossomed through my care and attention. Take La Jago a richly coloured unique rose planted to replace a rose killed by frost last year. It is gorgeous with a strong fruity scent and raspberry pink blooms. This was in flower for my return, and apart from needing slightly darker foliage, I love it.
I agree with rose breeder Alan Meilland when he says that roses are the same everywhere. It does seem more satisfying, though, to grow a perfect bloom in the Sahara or the middle of a drought in Australia than in the perfect conditions of France or the UK. Daily despite the horrid conditions, I am quite chuffed that I have managed to grow any blooms at all this year. Given the current climate, if I were not so vigilant, almost all of my roses would be gone by now.
Today as an example, although still early it is already scorching, the air is dry, and a thick blanket of smoke lies across the landscape spreading in every direction choking all that resides outside.
Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds me again to be patient and hope that we will have more rain next year. I’m very grateful I have water as there are many gardens in the regional towns of NSW that will not survive the current conditions given the towns have such severe water restrictions. I have lost many plants this year from frost, dry weather, mites and sunburn but I’ve also saved more.
Words and Images by Di Baker All Rights reserved 2019
Title quote by Sebastian Bras from Country Style Magazine