It is official, the roses this year are a triumph, and I could not be happier with the results. The chilly slow start to Spring and natures reluctance to bring out the sun has seen blooms open at a regal and leisurely pace, but now the brakes are off, and full bloom is upon us. After all the setbacks and issues with drought, heatwaves, spider mites, beetles, and birdlife destroying the past Spring blooms, the roses and garden are gorgeous right now. It is a silent gift from nature for patience and perseverance, or perhaps it’s just that time has passed, the roses are more established, and we have had a wonderful rain-filled season.
From the initial burst from winter dormancy, what was once foliage then tiny buds is now a vision of colour. Everything about this season is magnificent, and the roses are spectacular. Whether inside or out, at every angle around the farmhouse, the roses are visible and stunning. And with only a slight breeze of late, the blooms sit perfectly in the Spring sunlight for an extended time and do not drop petals too fast, which is a real bonus adding to a sense of garden permanence.
It is quite breathtaking to be in amongst so many roses out in flower all at once. It shouldn’t be such a surprise as, after all, that’s what we aim for when designing and planting a garden. Once started, though, it is easy to be a bit naive about what is actually involved. I certainly had no idea I would need to be as tenacious and, at the same time, so patient, especially with roses that take time to become fully grown and have sometimes been very disappointing. This year whatever the reasons the blooms behave as they are meant to and at times fill me with a sense of awe and disbelief. I’m often heard saying that “it looks like a proper garden”.
Initially, I spent quite a bit of time on the look of the garden landscape and colour scheme that this year has come together well. The colours are stunning even on cloudy days. In fact, sometimes, the colours are so vibrant and rich that without the sun, they stand out even more and really pop amongst the foliage. The changes in light also create incredible differences in the garden. My favourite is the early morning, but the evening light is striking as well on rose blooms. The contrasts of bright orange and magenta, the deep vibrant red against the soft apricot and cream and the suns rays are certainly worth the effort.
The landscape of the garden quite naturally changes with each season depending on how you prune and thin out the plants, what new plants are added and of course the nature of the plants themselves that grow as they please. Often in unique ways not necessarily as planned or the size, we had envisaged. The landscape this year, is finally how I had wanted when I first began, full, colourful and established. There is a section that is drier than the rest of the garden, receiving full afternoon sun and has always struggled, but now stunning blooms sitting perfectly on glossy foliage and the area is looking fantastic.
‘Life of the Party’ roses look exactly like the images from Wagners as they bloom which is reassuring. They are a fun, modern shrub rose with old-style blooms in a range of colours on the same bush from cream to soft yellow and pink. This rose was bred by Tom Carruth, the USA in 2017 and is a new release rose this year from Wagners in Australia. I planted a row of these along with the front window as they are meant to be compact, and disease resistant but also thrive in our hot dry climate.
Delightful is one way of describing the Children’s Rose and this year it is just that. Delightful and simply beautiful. The bush is wide and a perfect shape with the prolific number of blooms and buds yet to open. It is a Hybrid tea from the Romantica collection and bred by Alan Meilland France in 1994. The Children’s Rose is almost thornless and upright which is what I like and has semi-glossy leaves that are dark green. The blooms are a gorgeous soft pink and this year are huge. I’m finding as the roses become more true to size the ones that are easier to manage are definitely the upright bushes where the blooms sit more perfectly on the branches and are more visible. Whereas, many of the more spreading and wayward style roses, the blooms fall to the ground and are often hidden underneath.
I’m astonished at the size of the blooms and the health and vigour of the plants this year in the garden. The foliage is bright, glossy, with few signs of aphids, thrips or other pests so far, touch wood. I have got several roses with blackspot after the recent showers that arrived at the wrong time of the day and during the night, which is not great for roses. So far, though, with eco fungicide and eco seaweed, it is under control and manageable.
Magma Rose above has perfectly formed huge flowers this year and is back on track after losing all the leaves last season and looking pretty awful. Magma has few thorns and is a Florists Rose, Hybrid Tea from Freelander® Collection at Kordes. Bred in Germany 2003 by W Kordes and sons and makes a fabulous cut flower. The vivid sunset colours of golden yellow and red are incredible and it is one of my favourites.
Funny how things work out sometimes when you dislike something and find that months or years later, suddenly it is a favourite. The rose Kardinal came initially as part of a cut flower collection and to me was a disappointment as it was bright classic red which at that time was not part of my design. I admit I was wrong because Kardinal is by far the best rose in the garden. It is immaculate, stunning, long-lasting and repeats faster than any other rose. I picked a few Kardinal blooms last week and 10 days later they have not dropped a petal and are still the same inside in this small vase.
Content Di Baker 2021
Images Di Baker in my garden Spring 2021