“I look upon the pleasure we take in a garden as one of the most innocent delights in human life.”

The early stages of Spring in the garden this year were magnificent. The full flush of blooms I missed though, as I had to be away for several weeks. As expected, I was greeted by thousands of spent rose blooms ready to deadhead and thriving rampant weeds on my return to the garden last week. Unfortunately, many hours of hard work await.

Among the weeds and lawn that has hastened into the garden beds are some beautiful roses, not least this gorgeous new rose named after the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. She sits in pride of place in two vintage-style pots on the verandah so that she can be viewed from inside the house. The Frida Kahlo™ rose is covered in large scarlet blooms with contrasting golden stripes and centres forming a rich, vibrant, bold rose like her paintings. Frida Kahlo often painted flowers and is quoted as saying.

“I paint flowers so they will not die.”

Frida Kahlo

This rose bred by Christain Bédard in the USA in 2014 is unique, and the colours intensify as it ages, becoming redder before it finishes. It was introduced into Australia by Swanes Nurseries in 2020 with the registration name of either; University of Chester or WEKcifrabaun. A Floribunda Modern shrub rose grows to a bushy upright, compact size of 100 cm. It is easy to see from the pictures that the Frida Kahlo rose is robust, healthy and vigorous with thick glossy foliage and abundant blooms in clusters. The rose experts suggest only prune lightly for two years, then prune it back by about a third. Available at Wagners Rose Nursery.

Another rose that has flourished this year is ‘Diana, Princess of Wales. Usually, a pastel and softly coloured rose is a bright, vibrant and colourful plant -healthy and strong this season. I am chuffed to see this as I nearly lost this one in the drought a few years ago, but it is clearly thriving now, and our hotter temperatures lately have deepened the colouring of this gorgeous rose.

Diana Princess of Wales Roses 2021

Also known as Diana and Elegant Lady, this one has nice long stems with the classic Hybrid Tea form, great for cut flowers. Until now my Diana rose has always had heavy blooms that hung down in soft pastel colours but this year with the extra growth it is more robust, upright, and has many deeper coloured blooms in an unusual pink shade. It is on the way to be being a vigorous specimen rose in the garden and will grow to 1.65 cm.

Do not watch the petals fall from the rose with sadness, know that, like life, things sometimes must fade, before they can bloom again.”

“Roses do not bloom hurriedly; for beauty, like any masterpiece, takes time to blossom.” .

Matshona Dhliwayo

Although it is only a picture of one bloom this new release rose is a real treat. Called ‘Heaven on Earth’ it is a peach, apricot Floribunda shrub rose bred by William Kordes 111, Germany in 2003. Treloar’s roses introduced ‘Heaven on Earth’ as a new release rose this year – 2021. The registered name is Korravreli and it is easy to see why it won the Gold Medal, for Rose of the Year and the Best Floribunda at the 2021 National Rose Trial Garden Awards.

There is something spectacular about ‘Heaven on Earth’. It has large glossy greyish-green foliage, pointed ovoid-shaped buds and divine, large full symmetrical blooms in a cup shape that last for ages on the bush. I have two of these roses, and I’m told the colours can range from pink to a coral or orange shade or even a yellowy cream. Evidently, the thick foliage indicates that this rose is heat tolerant and perfect for the Australian climate.

One of my favourite roses is, as you know because I write about this one often, the Rosa Paul Cezanne, thriving in the new circular garden beds in the potager garden. Despite all the rain and humidity that has meant a bit of black spot in the garden, my new Paul Cezanne roses are flowering and appear a deeper colour this year without problems.

When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.”

Paul Cezanne

The hot weather has arrived, the days are long and temperatures are now well into the high 30’s with yesterday at more like 40 degrees C. We even had a random dust storm this week. So here are my tips for keeping the garden healthy, cool and happy throughout the Summer.

10 Summer Garden Tips

  1. Garden early in the day before it heats up is a must especially for heavier tasks. I try to get out early and be finished by 10am in a our hot climate. Wear sunscreen, hat, gloves and long sleeves to avoid sunburn and mosquitoes not to mention for protection from thorns.
  2. Keep the water up to plants in Summer, it is the best fertiliser you can give them. Water early in the morning so that the water is not left on the rose foliage overnight to reduce the risk of mildew and fungal diseases attacking the leaves and to prevent evaporation. Watering when the sun is high and hot will burn the foliage.
  3. Every few weeks water with a solution of eco seaweed to help improve the vigour and health of your plants, improve the drought tolerance of the roses and prevent disease. It can be used on all plants including natives, vegetables, lawns and flowering plants. If plants are sick use once a week. For transplant shock apply every day for 3 days then once a week.
  4. Add Epsom Salts to your roses to boost magnesium. 1 heaped tablespoon to 4.5 litres of water. Add to the watering can and pour over foliage or into the soil.
  5. Keep a keen eye on the garden for any changes to plants like loss of leaves or black spots on foliage. Spider mites or other pests can appear quickly so watch out and take action to reduce the damage.
  6. Deadhead blooms on roses to create the opportunity for continuous blooms until Autumn.
  7. Mulch the garden with organic material to retain moisture like compost, whoflungdung or sugarcane mulch etc and wear a mask to apply the mulch into the garden.
  8. Pots need to be watered every day in Summer especially stone, concrete or terracotta pots and if possible keep them away from the hot, westerly, afternoon sunlight. Water directly into the pots until it runs free underneath.
  9. Provide temporary shelter to new plants to avoid burning the foliage.
  10. Lawns looking lush and green are a boost to the morale in a hot climate and give the garden a verdant, luxuriant look so plenty of water is needed to prevent them turning brown, dry and dusty.

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”

Charles Bowden

Title quote by Marcus Tullius Cicero

All Content and Images Di Baker 2021

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