“You must fail at gardening to master it.”

Nature wins this week in the garden. If ever there was a time one needed some inspiration to garden, this is it. Forget the heat and typical summer weather; the number of mosquitoes since our floods and storms are extreme and make being in the garden almost impossible. I usually head out in summer with repellant on and wear long sleeves, long pants, gloves, and a spray jacket to give protection from bites, although it makes it mighty hot. But today, the army of mozzies managed to bite through all layers in just a few minutes.

It is disappointing to be driven inside by the aggravation of insects especially at a time when it is hard enough to do summer gardening anyway. But I did manage to dig out all of the giant weeds (Blackberry Nightshade) that may seem an easy task but try doing it whilst defending yourself from attack with swarms all over your head and face. With my spirits deflated, once completed hurriedly, I returned to the haven of indoors. I plan on a repeat each morning, even for half an hour of weeding and cutting back, and, hopefully, over the next week, the mozzies will lessen as the moisture dries up and bit by bit some form of order will return.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Nelson Mandela

“In order to become a good gardener or a more advanced gardener, you have to go through all of the same things. You have to kill a bunch of plants, get a bunch of diseases on your plants, and you just have to learn,”

Timothy Hammond-bigcitygardener

I have a whole border of roses that every year, as soon as the heat starts, they lose all their leaves, and I spend the rest of summer trying to resurrect them. These, I think, will have to go; after all, I’m not running a plant hospital here and will use my energy for plants that thrive in the region’s heat. Generally, I’m proud of the spectacular roses in the garden that are starting to come back after being deadheaded. Each day new blooms open but are never quite as spectacular as that first flush of Spring. Typical as most gardeners, I’m forever optimistic and will use my time when I can’t get outside to plan my next season.


To replace the failed roses along the border I’m considering the Ballerina rose. I like the charm of Ballerina that rose growers recommend for a compact floral hedge. It looks delicate and light in the landscape but is quite hardy with semi-glossy light foliage and masses of single small blooms. It only grows about a metre high and will spread sideways. Not only are the leaves and flowers pretty it also develops rich orange rose-hips in late Autumn. This one pictured below has been growing since 2017 and is always disease-free, does not mind the heat and brings a beautiful display of single blooms without any hassle.

“A garden is a thing of beauty and a job forever.”

Richard Briers

Rosa Ballerina was bred by Ann Bentall in 1937 and has remained a popular, old-fashioned rose ever since. Ann Bentall was a rose breeder and passionate gardener who, with her husband John, bred and sold roses in the 1920s and 1930s. She was attributed to also being the hybridiser of Buff Beauty and The Fairy. The famous rose breeder and Anglican minister, The Reverand Joseph Pemberton, ( 1852-1926) was recognised as the creator of the Hybrid musk class of roses characterised by disease-resistant, repeat flowering and blooms in clusters with a strong, musk scent. They are arching, in style with few thorns as we see in Penelope and Buff Beauty. When the Rev died he bequeathed the Pemberton rose fields in Essex UK to Ann and John Bentall.

Twilight Glow, is doing well this year. By tomorrow when I tie the long stems down, the whole top of the arch seat in the Tea garden will be covered at last. Twilight Glow has serrated petals of warm, soft orange, apricot colour and nice fragrance and is vigorous, easy to grow with particularly healthy, lush foliage and large blooms.

One of the most valuable traits is persistence

Octavia E Butler

Another highlight is Simplicity Lavender, which I have growing under the palm tree and in winter should be moved to full sun to allow more blooms to form. It is healthy but will thicken up more out of the partial shade and also be more true to its nature of continually blooming. The flowers are fragrant and a pink lavender colour plus easily cut for inside as there are few thorns.

Patience is an essential aspect of gardening because you are always waiting for something I find. Presently I’m anticipating the return of blooms on two roses because I was away when they bloomed in Spring. One called QuickSilver, I have never seen the actual flowers because it was planted as a bare root rose this season. And Kiss Me Kate was planted last year; both are growing well in the front garden on two separate arches.

Kiss Me Kate  – KORnagelio, was a new release in 2019 from Treloar’s and is bred by W Kordes in Germany in 2005 as part of the  Parfuma® Collection. The new variety Climbing Rose was invented in May 2005 at Klein Offenseth-Sparrieshoop, Germany by artificial pollination. Kiss Me Kate has two parent roses; Nahema and Lions Rose that I also have in the garden. Kiss Me Kate is pink with quartered bloom form and darker pink reverse. It is vigorous and a more robust, healthier rose than the original rose planted for the archway. Oddly enough, that happened to be Nahema; I removed it because it was always in trouble with two-spotted mites. The best characteristic of Kiss Me Kate is the strong fragrance with notes of green apple, lemon, myrrh, and raspberry.

QuickSilver  -KORpucoblu, I’m told is a deep mauve or lavender colour and has a mild sweet rose fragrance. The plant so far is robust, with dark green leathery foliage and when it flowers again I’m expecting to see pointed, ovoid buds and clusters of the deep lavender blooms. It was Bred by Tim Hermann Kordes in Germany, in 2004 and is a climber in the Arborose® Collection. 

El Nina weather is continuing in Australia and the tropical Pacific. The predictions of climate models suggest that

the 2021–22 La Niña will persist until early in the southern hemisphere autumn. La Niña increases the chance of above average rainfall across much of northern and eastern Australia during summer.


So, the wet weather is here to stay and one cannot help but think how extraordinary it is to go from El Nino where it never rained in our region just a few short years ago, to La Nina and all this water everywhere. As someone who likes time spent in the garden, I’m in awe of the versatility of plants that can adapt so well to such extreme growing conditions and still as they say ‘come up roses.’

Images Di Baker or as cited from Pinterest or Pexels.com

Content Di Baker 2022

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