You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.

Contrary to my initial desire to grow roses amongst perennials in a heavily planted garden, I have decided to thin out one particular garden bed this season to be predominately only roses. The idea is a major change in my perspective and requires an enormous amount of work that I am halfway through. I was away from the garden for several months, and the weeds and grasses had taken a firm hold, plus the salvias and other perennials had become densely overgrown, large and disproportionate to the size of the garden.

“Gardening is a work of a lifetime: you never finish.”

With more time at home now and whilst the roses are still dormant, I’ve tackled the job of digging up roses to remove the substantial number of weeds; couch grass, onion weed, clover and more, then replanting—a golden opportunity to reposition specific roses if they had been too close together or in the wrong position. I uncovered some roses that (I hate to admit) had been buried underneath.

We are responsible for our plants, so I felt guilty of neglect when I found- to my delight, several roses hidden amongst the perennials, Some roses from last year had missed labelling, and the other reason or excuse is that some roses don’t do well in our hard clay soil. Once Spring comes because some roses remain small other plants like Catnip, Thyme or Salvias grow over them. On the other hand, I made a decision to leave one underneath a salvia for protection from harsh summer sun. This year’s bare root roses I aim to check more often because, I have found, that if a rose doesn’t grow well in the soil it may flourish in a pot with top grade potting mix instead.

Courtesy of David Austin Roses Uk

The labelling of roses is quite tricky, and I have tried several methods; metals tags engraved with a sharp point, plastic tags in the ground or the plastic labels on the stem close to the ground. These methods have limitations and do not last long. A rose enthusiast friend put me on to cattle ear tags. These are by far the best system for labelling roses. They are completely weather resistant so do not fade, get brittle or fall off, are large enough for a full name, easy to attach and once the foliage is out, they are not visible or unsightly. Mind you, ear tags are best for larger rose gardens to make them worthwhile as they come in bags of 100 unless you know someone who grazes cattle who would spare a few.

Write the rose name in waterproof pen and attach with twist ties.

These are the roses I rescued firstly; ‘The Poet’s Wife’ named Auswhirl and introduced to Australia by Treloars Roses in 2019. It is a beautiful bright yellow rose bred by David Austin (1926-2018) in the UK before 2014. Described by Treloars as  

Large cupped blooms of a lovely rich yellow which pale as they age and are produced in small clusters.  The fully double blooms contain a wonderful fruity fragrance with hints of lemon.  The leaves are a shining healthy colour on a low rounded shrub to 1.2m.

‘The Poet’s Wife’ would be fabulous mass planted; it has a fruity fragrance, glossy green foliage and best of all, like many David Austin roses can be grown in part shade.

The Poet’s Wife available at Roses Sales Online

Another is Princess Charlene de Monaco rose that was growing in the shade of a large Mystic Spires salvia that grew to over eight-foot. I’ve kept an eye on this beauty all season, and the shade protected it from Summer heat, but I had to wait until the end of Autumn for the Mystic Spires to flower before cutting it back.

Princess Charlene de Monaco rose is quite stunning. Bred by Meilland International France in 2010 as a Grandiflora Hybrid Tea rose that will grow to approximately 100 cm. The colour is exquisite. Blush pink to apricot, an award-winning rose with intense perfume. It was named after Princess Charlene, the Wife of Prince Albert II. This romantic looking rose has a ruffled peony shape and glossy green foliage that contrasts to the delicacy of the pastel-pink blooms.

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” 

Guy Savoy was the next rose I found and relocated; a large, rich red rose with splashes of white and cerise on the blooms. The rose is a flexible, vigorous plant that will reach three metres. The rose is named after the French Head Chef and owner of the Guy Savoy restaurant in Paris. Rankins roses describe Guy Savoy as

A hardy and fragrant rose in Australian conditions, Guy Savoy™ has thrived and become a wonderful plant for pillars and fences, with flexible and vigorous growth Guy will reach 3 metres in no time.With magnificent perfume, glorious colour, repeat flowering and magnitudes of lush blossoms Guy Savoy™ will not disappoint

Two Garden Delight roses were uncovered from a section of rampaging weeds and grasses, and now pruned, weeded and mulched. I’m looking forward to Spring to see the exciting colours of these roses in bloom again. Garden Delight is a Kordes, Floribunda rose bred in 2001 in Germany.

It’s the time that you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important…People have forgotten this truth, but you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.

Antoine de Saint-ExuperyThe Little Prince, Chapter XXI.

Lastly, an extraordinary rose relocated to a more prominent position but in no way lost or forgotten is Augusta Luise® (TANgust). This rose has ‘old world’ charm with its large fragrant unusual shape and beautiful peachy pink and yellow colours that turn salmon-pink as they age. Augusta Louise Stolberg-Stolberg (1753-1835) was the muse of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1775-1776, the famous German poet and playwright. As a muse she was known for lively correspondence although they personally had never met. Matthias Tantau created this rose variety in 1999 in honour of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Goethe. Auguste Luise is a vigorous rose with free branching habit and has soft colours. It does better towards the end of summer into Autumn as many of the roses do.

From the wives of a poet and King to a famous Chef and on to a literary muse, my garden is richer and more fragrant now these roses are enjoying more space, light and air circulation. Today they will be all finally mulched and fed with cow manure and Sudden Impact and be well on the way to producing stunning blooms for the garden come Spring.

Content Di Baker 2021

Images Di Baker or as cited

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