My favourite garden project is my ‘Tea Garden’, a small area, started in 2018, that is viewed from the kitchen window and surrounds a large arch seat. There is a plum tree outside the fence that, together with the arch, provide a perfect place for a quiet reverie and a cuppa, especially in Spring. When I came across this arch seat in Bathurst, I thought it would be just perfect to compliment my new garden idea.

First days

The garden thrives in the northern sun, and I love sitting here in the early morning sipping a tea and inspecting the roses. The garden has had many names over the few years it’s been growing, but The Tea Garden is the most appropriate and special.

The garden is a semi-circular shape bordering the fence and hosts a range of roses, lavenders, Autumn joy, verbenas and thymes with climbing roses on the arch seat. The colours are designed to be white, yellows to apricot and orange contrasted with shades of mauve to purples. The roses provide the main dominance of colour with soft silvery foliage of Italian and French lavender. Growing on the north side of the farmhouse, where the area gets hot afternoon sun, so I have to watch the moisture, but the roses love the sun and bloom continually. Next to the garden is an old orange tree, so the colours are perfect when out in bloom together. It is a beautiful and peaceful place to enjoy a tea at any time of day.

Any time is tea time.

Alice In Wonderland

The rose highlight in the Tea Garden is Twilight Glow that is starting to climb the sides of the arch- romantic ruffled flowers in a gorgeous blush to gold colour. Twilight Glow is a vigorous climber that should by next season have reached the top of the arch. It has an old fashioned bloom form with serrated petals and a light fruity fragrance and lime to pale green, lush foliage. The foliage provides a good contrast with the soft romantic shaped blooms. Graham Thomas and La Jago roses also stand proudly growing like two large custodians protecting the garden and create a striking presence on either side of the arch at the back.
Graham Thomas is a David Austin rose in rich deep yellow colouring with a tea rose scent. La Jago is a Delbard rose with unique colours in orange, gold to raspberry red.

Twilight Glow at the end of Summer 2021

Many plants have been transplanted from around the garden to the Tea Garden where they thrive because of the Northern aspect. One is Little Sunset, a miniature patio rose with spectacular clusters of yellow blooms with red outer petals. Bred and grown by Kordes, Germany as part of their Lilliputs Collection -code name (Korlutmag).

Little Sunset was a neat and compact rose before transplanting and expected to grow to 40 cm as described by the Treloars’ but after growing in the Tea Garden, it is now 90 cm and continuously in bloom with glossy, strong foliage, and is completely disease-free and stunning. This rose has been one of the Tea Garden highlights, so I highly recommend it for the garden or any large pot on the verandah. It is prolific and gorgeous!

Paving complete

I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.

Fyodor Dostoevsky 
Time to expand and put in a garden edging

Mauves, purples and as close to blue as roses get are some of the Tea garden contrasting varieties, including; Dusky Moon, Sweet Intoxication, Angel Face, Blue Emotion, Charles de Gaulle, Gra’s Blue, Simplicity Lavender, Love Potion, and Vol de Nuit.

Vol De Nuit translated as ‘Night Flight’, and has beautiful deep mauve coloured highly fragrant elegant blooms.

There are quite a few lavender plants in the Tea Garden that give of that distinctive lavender scent as you walk in and out to the seat. There are also France Libre, Silver Ghost, Rise n Shine and Iceberg roses. France Libre rose is tall with golden orange and yellow reverse blooms. Bred by Andre Delbard-Chabert France in 1981. Deljanour is the code name and it is healthy, strong and very eye catching with perfect bloom shape- perfect for flowers inside.

The soft Lilac blooms pictured above are Tangles, a charming, always flowering, low-growing rose with lovely pale green foliage. This one is still in a pot but about to be grown in The Tea Garden site shortly. Tangles was named after the Southern Right Whale and the volunteer photographers who spent considerable time recording these amazing mammals’ sightings.

Silver Ghost

Angel face and Silver Ghost roses have underplantings of Autumn Joy, Stocks and Verbenas, providing bright colour when the roses are not blooming. Silver Ghost this year has been a stunning addition to the garden; a Kordes Rose bred in Germany in 1991-Kormifori. It was fairly ordinary in the position down the front, but since moving it to the northerly aspect has become a delightful bush that has been smothered with pristine clear white single blooms all season long.

The Tea Garden is relatively new, so France Libre and many of the roses are not fully grown. I have found that given a good year of rainfall and no extremes in temperature, the roses look established after two seasons, possibly three in some cases.

France Libre courtesy of Helpmefind.com

According to Treloar’s rose growers in Victoria, roses will live for fifty years, so it is worth being patient in getting them started. Their basic rose-care advice is to supply four main things: deep watering, a soil ph of 6.5, 6 hours of direct sunlight and food.

Starting to take shape Spring 2020

All content and images Di Baker 2021 with the exception of the France Libre image courtesy of helpmefind.com