Serenity has to be three-quarters hard work to be worth having.

Yes, it’s true peace and relaxation are often won by a bit of hard toil most of the time, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. There is nothing like relaxing at the end of the day, knowing you have made headway shaping the garden. Recently I’ve found more surprise roses hidden under some invasive plants that now will bloom once again soon.

Amoretto is one rose I had forgotten about and uncovered when I removed a large clump of Erigeron glaucus or seaside daisies that have gone rampant in the garden. I planted the seaside daisies in a hanging basket leaving more space, air and light around the Amoretto and other roses. I noticed Treloar’s rate this rose as highly disease-resistant, so I’m thinking that is the reason the rose survived being covered up so badly, especially with all the rain. Roses generally prefer open spaces with air movement and sunlight, or fungus and disease may result. Amoretto grows to 120 cm, has large fragrant blooms in an old fashioned style of English roses. The colour is a merge of apricot, light pink and cream. 

Without hard work nothing grows but weeds

Gordon B Hinckley

In the past, I’ve always nurtured and cared for many plants that, for various reasons, have not done well in the heavy clay soil, but I ended up with a plant hospital that was far too large to look after. It is not the main game in the garden to be spending so much time trying to bring back unhealthy roses so in the end, I decided the roses that thrive and survive our climate remain the focus.

Gardening is the work of a lifetime that is never finished

Oscar de la Renta

All gardens have limitations, and especially a rural location with no shade from next-door neighbours or other buildings that creates a space that can be very exposed. My garden has just one perfect spot that welcomes the first rays of the morning sun, ideal for roses; however, this premium location is not a garden bed, and I cannot dig one there, so everything has to be grown in large pots.

Today I relocated several roses from a garden bed into three large terracotta pots for this prime location that is not only perfect for the roses but we have the first view of them from the back door. Thes chosen ones were Graham Thomas, Shropshire Lad, and Summer Sun. Firstly the existing roses were dug out and planted in the garden bed; a few Sonia Rykiel roses. Next, the pots were cleaned and refilled with high-grade potting mix ready for the new roses.

Sonia Rykiel roses were started in pots like this to get them established and now are quite large hence the move to the garden. Sometimes it’s also good to wait before planting out bare-root roses to see precisely what growth habits they have, and in this case, it was obvious that eventually, they will be too branching to contain in pots.

Graham Thomas rose is a real beauty, strong and tall with rich yellow blooms in a cup shape and added bonus of a fresh tea rose fragrance. It repeats well from summer onwards. Graham Thomas is an English shrub rose bred by David C.H. Austin U K in 1983 and named after the horticulturalists and populariser of old roses. It grows upright to 120 cm but is called a climber. Now in a large pot mine will be placed against the verandah post to be a pillar rose.

Graham Thomas in the garden

One of my favourite roses is Shropshire Lad described by Diana at rosesalesonline as;

‘A Shropshire Lad’ is a David Austin Rose of immense beauty!  Grown as a climber or large shrub at the back of the garden border this magnificent rose will continually produce large, fully double cupped and beautifully fragrant peachy-pink fading to cream blooms which are quite suited to a vase.  The rose is healthy and robust – definitely worthy adding to your David Austin rose collection! 

Shropshire Lad was moved to a large terracotta pot too and will grow as a pillar rose. I’m looking forward to the peachy pink cup-shaped flowers that will be visible from the lounge room and the strong fruity fragrance. The best thing is, apart from the delicate coloured blooms, it is almost thornless. The rose was named after a popular collection of sixty-three poems by the English poet Alfred Edward Housman, published in 1896. 

So the best spot has these favourite roses now; Graham Thomas, Shropshire Lad, Summer Sun, Diana, Princess of Wales and also Silver Jubilee rose, they can grow sheltered from the harshness of the western sun and possible winds in the late afternoon. It’s a very British backyard when you think about it but quite unplanned.

‘Diana, Princess of Wales’ is a really beautiful rose, bred by Keith Zary in the US and released in 1998. In some countries the rose is known as Diana and Elegant Lady, It is a Hybrid Tea rose in pinks and creams that will, after this season, have to be moved into the garden bed as it grows tall to 165 cm. After the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, this rose was chosen from a worldwide search and given the name ‘Diana, Princess of Wales’ as a charity rose.

“It is a good idea to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.”

James Douglas

Lastly, the Silver Jubilee is a hybrid tea rose that is so stunning and never stops flowering. Rosa ‘Silver Jubilee’ was bred by Scottish rose breeder Ann G Cocker in Scotland before 1974. This rose’s prolific nature is impressive, and the colours are striking, ranging from a silvery deep pink to apricot, copper with hints of peach and very glossy dark green foliage. Described by Peter Beales as

one of the best roses ever raised”

Spring is not far away and there is a lively taste in the air of things to come. With hardly an idle moment between pruning, feeding and weeding the existing garden and building the new potager garden it will be fantastic to stop and smell the roses once more. And, after this extended time at home, it will be a treat to welcome Spring once again.

Hard work is rewarding beyond gold. Sweating is living.

Terri Guillemets

All content Di Baker 2021

Title quote by Henry Stanley Haskins

Header Image courtesy of Dream Gardens facebook group

Images by Di Baker or as cited

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