“The rose and the thorn, and sorrow and gladness are linked together.”

New Weathervane

If unexpected self-isolation can teach us anything, we must be grateful for simple things that perhaps we sometimes take for granted. Our personal freedom, health, and loved ones are the most important aspects of life I am grateful for. What joy I felt to be free again after those three weeks of lockdown and to catch that first glimpse of buds, blooms, and flowers in the garden. It was magic, and even if we cannot see the people closest to us for a while longer, the garden will have to suffice for now.

La Vien Rose Bud

Hurdles and obstacles are now overcome, and with fresh eyes, I was pleasantly surprised to find the joys of autumn abundantly visible when we arrived home. Everywhere I looked were signs that the drought had broken; extremely healthy weeds, overgrown grass, puddles, and wet corners in the surrounding paddocks. Best of all, though, were the blooms on many rose plants, especially those in their third year in the garden. These are and continue to be magnificent.

“One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. ” “I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.”

Earth Angel is a rose I planted in 2017, and although it has flowered each year since this year is the first bloom cycle where the soft pink and white flowers resemble the peony shaped blooms Earth Angel is known for. It makes a fabulous cut flower and is also richly fragrant.

With the abundance of rainfall since February the roses are proudly showing off their last opportunity to bloom before the onset of winter frosts. Autumn is their grand finale and a reward for patience which I have never seen since I started the garden.   This is due in part to a missed early season as many buds were damaged from heat, pests and birds. The birds had some fun eating new shoots and buds whilst we were away too but there are still plenty of stunning displays opening each day to enjoy both visually and through their fragrance.

Autumn blooms are not like the prolific first flush of spring but more a quiet yet dazzling array from a select group of plants that have not given up flowering. Each day they appear randomly, one after the other, in odd spots around the garden like a botanical treasure hunt. The blooms continue to appear, almost as if the roses had decided to take it slowly into dormancy, knowing full well I had missed the main event.

Autumn has come easily to the garden this year, spreading a welcome calmness and tranquillity. The last chance to enjoy the roses amid the long list of tasks; weeding, deadheading, and pruning, to name just a few.

Everywhere there is an alluring ambiance from the varying shades of green. Gone are the dry creek beds, empty dams, and sad looking trees that were parched and desperate for rain. Something I had dreamt about for weeks when locked inside with no fresh air or green space to view so, no wonder the garden looks good to me.

 It’s true that I have a wide range of interests. I like to write and paint and make music and go walking on my own and garden. In fact, gardening is probably what I enjoy doing more than anything else.

Viggo Mortensen

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.

Outside the kitchen window is this vibrant deep mauve rose called ‘Sweet Intoxication’ It is a Floribunda rose bred by Dr Keith W. Zary in the U.S in 2008. It has a wonderful scent due to the parentage of the rose being Perfume Perfection and Melody Parfumée ™.

La Vien Rose

After the intensity and ravage of summer, the roses can be bleached by the sun and paler than the expected colour. I notice that the blooms are brighter and more vibrant now in Autumn. A welcome change for sure.

On Saturday afternoons when all the things are done in the house and there’s no real work to be done, I play Bach and Chopin and turn it up real loudly and get a good bottle of chardonnay and sit out on my deck and look out at the garden.

Maya Angelou

All Content and Images Di Baker 2020

Title quote by Saadi of Shiraz, Medieval Persian poet

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