My landscape dream is a charming, romantic, overflowing garden with a wide range of interesting yet not necessarily rare plants. Plants blend happily in the hot, dry, and sometimes frosty climate and impart an impressionistic outlook that softens the harshness of the rural Australian environs.
To achieve this goal, in the beginning, I over planted some rose varieties, which has been helpful to gain a thorough insight into rose habits, growing patterns and the meaning of the terms used in the alluring rose catalogues and websites. I now know what is meant first hand by; a vigorous hard-stemmed rose, perfect as an impenetrable hedge, ferocious thorns on arching canes etc. Sadly many of these early choices did not make it or I found them inappropriate.
To this end, I am carefully planning a mix of perennials and new roses with emphasis on height, habit, colour. Unless a climbing rose for a specific position, the choices are limited to only roses with upright, strong growth habits and few thorns and fragrance if possible.
Old-fashioned roses and plants appeal because of their history and are delightful, bringing that sense of nostalgia to the garden. Although, the fact that they only flower once a year is, in my opinion, not worth the effort. Perhaps one or two, but for plants to be selected to be in my garden, they need to contribute more than one flush of blooms in Spring or be architecturally interesting or decorative in other ways.
Several varieties have gone in; lately, that will quite dramatically change the garden’s landscape. One definitely needs a great imagination or an ability to visualise what plants will look like next season when planting because you never really know what it will look like when fully grown. It is like landscape painting but with a blindfold on, and rather than being perfectly arranged, the design will take the shape of its own accord. Not in a hit-or-miss way, a lot of thought goes into deciding where plants go, but the nature of gardens is that the climate, surrounding plants and care and attention will create the final outcome of the landscape regardless.
In the garden this week, activity has been a balance of culling some plants, weeding, ripping out long lawn runners, watering with eco-seaweed and eco-rose, making new garden edges, cutting finished perennials to the ground, with the fun bit of planting fresh roses and a few new perennials. Just Joey and In Appreciation are my latest selection. Both are already growing in the garden, but I chose these tried and true varieties to fill some spaces rather than unfamiliar ones because I also love the colours.
A standout rose is In Appreciation (TAN91151). An intensely vibrant magenta or cerise pink coloured rose that makes a long-lasting magnificent cut flower. In Appreciation will bloom over a long period and will grow to 1.5 metres tall with a slight perfume. This fantastic rose was bred by Mathias Tantau Jr in Germany in 1991 and in Australia by Nieuwesteeg, Victoria, since 2004.
In contrast, Just Joey ( CANjujo) is a golden coppery colour or rich apricot shade with unique frilly petals. Bred in the UK by Cants of Colchester in 1972. It is a Hybrid Tea rose that grows well in Australia and is considered one of the World’s favourite roses with a seductive, spicy scent in the beautiful large blooms. It will grow to 1.2 metres and has good disease and heat resistance.
Many herbs and plants have ended up being invasive so I’m relatively cautious about new plants and have made enough mistakes to be more discerning when planting. Lemon Balm is one that, except for the fragrance of the foliage, is not great in the garden and I’m still struggling to remove it. To a lesser degree, Apple Mint, which looks soft and gentle, pops up everywhere and has long runners. Lemon Balm grows in strong-rooted clumps and needs digging out, but Apple Mint will pull out easily from the ground, spreading but not really invasive. Some salvias and catmint can go crazy too, but at least they can be cut back at the end of Summer very easily.
Also, what may be invasive or an aggressive growing plant may not be the same in another area; warmer or cooler region. Generally, if plants grow by spreading runners and have rhizomes, I am only planting them in the garden in pots or containers. Another way is to purchase hybrids from a nursery where they are sold in sterile form. I also read that the variegated types will usually be less vigorous growers. Watch out for Yuccas, Yarrows, Agapanthus, any herbs in the Mint family, Patterson’s curse, Lantana, Tansy, Morning glory, Passionfruit vine, English Ivy, and Golden bamboo; amongst others
One old-fashioned rose I am planting this season in more significant numbers is Ballerina, a playful rather whimsical addition to the verandah garden border because it has an extended flowering time and a free-flowing habit. Ballerina is growing well in one position in the garden and two others are completely stunted and need removing to a better position. In all, there will be five along the verandah edge in the morning sun. Ballerina Rose likes sun to semi-shade and is a tough, very versatile, short rounded bush.
The Ballerina rose is a Hybrid Musk, a unique rose that grows into an expansive light-filled shrub with small pink open flowers that fade to white as it ages. It is rarely out of bloom and will continue until late Autumn. Bred by John Bentall UK in 1937, who was the gardener and assistant of Joseph and Florence Pemberton around 1920.
Joseph Pemberton (1952-1926) was the breeder of the well known and much loved Hybrid Musk roses.
He was responsible for developing roses with a continuous and bountiful display of free-flowing, fragrant, and healthy blooms in a more relaxed form. Using the climber ‘Trier, ‘ Pemberton crossed it with hybrid tea roses to produce a class of highly scented, cluster-flowered roses still popular today. He called them Hybrid Teas and later Hybrid Musks. Pemberton also bred other hybrid teas and several Multiflora ramblers still growing today.
The Hybrid Musks reached their popularity after Pemberton’s death when his sister Florence and assistant Bentall continued his work, later developing the well known Fairy, Felicia and Penelope roses.
All the images chosen for this post were taken yesterday in the garden- except Ballerina. They may not be the best rose images, but for this time of year, after the season we have had, blooms are scarce or just starting to bud and open again. If the roses are deadheaded in this region, they will bloom for 6-7 months of the year. Due to the extended damp conditions, black-spot has been rampant, which caused rose defoliation in many of my favourite roses but once treated, the leaves have started to grow back well and new buds are forming thank goodness.
Along with the desired rose selections this year is the aim for; more plants that are drought resistant to a certain extent; more sustainable plants that are not reliant on intervention and are more a partnership between the gardener and nature and the planting of the dry garden an area of perennials that require very little extra irrigation than normal rainfall in the region. More to come next time….
Content Di Baker March 2022
All images Di Baker in the garden yesterday March 2022 except Ballerina from last Spring
Title Quote by William Kent
Title Image is Olivia Rose Austin David Austin Rose in the garden –
Awarded “Australian Rose of the Year 2020”