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“Autumn has always been my favourite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”

Autumn has been gentle this year arriving ever so quietly, bringing days that are sheer perfection; hardly a breath of wind, bright blue skies, crisp morning air with days of such clarity it takes one’s breath away. April has been remarkable leaving me thinking how fortunate we are when nature offers days like these. The silence is broken only by occasional birdsong, and the sun promises more clear skies and comfort.

“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

William Cullen Bryant

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“The first breath of autumn was in the air, a prodigal feeling, a feeling of wanting, taking, and keeping before it is too late.”

J L Carr

Our lovely Easter break with friends and family is over and it is time to resume garden work. Today perennial planting continues with Erysimum ‘Sibirian Dwarf’ Wallflowers, Salvia Leucantha White, Phlox ‘Mother Of Pearl’, Veronica Barcolle, Kniphofia ‘Winter Cheer’, Plectranthus Gartenthus, Artemisia ludoviciana’ Valerie Finnes’, Stachys Thirkei ‘Dwarf Lamb’s Ears’, Salvia Azurea, Santolina and Silene Coronaria ‘Rose Campion’ going into pots or the garden. I’m aiming to create a look of soft silver foliage with some charming coloured plants in layers as well as a few striking focal plants like the Kniphofia Winter Cheer and Eriysimums.

There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

Henri Matisse

Chartreuse de Parme is an outstanding rose with a heady fragrance and is one rose that, since Autumn began, has continued to produce massive sized blooms in that old world cupped bloom form. It is part of the Delbard’s Grand Parfum Collection from France in 1996. The foliage is thick and robust and consistently has escaped any disease. Chartreuse de Parme -DELviola is sought for two reasons; the magnificent scent and the deep cerise, purple blooms.

I’ve had some excellent help recently, for the first time since starting the garden, that has made a colossal difference. All areas are now weeded, and tomorrow I will begin the mulching. The garden has been dry lately, in stark contrast to the rest of Australia. The typical Easter rains were a little late here, allowing time to enjoy April with friends outdoors for a few days. Then yesterday, the telltale signs of rain herald storms approaching. Kookaburras calling, wind changes, warmer air, the farmers hurriedly sowing new season crops through the night. Right on cue, today, the rain was a welcome change, as it always is for farmers and gardeners alike.

Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.” 

Marcelene Cox

”The trees, the flowers, the plants grow in silence. The stars, the sun, the moon move in silence. Silence gives us a new perspective.”

Mother Theresa

Autumn is a deeply silent month in this region and unlike the erratic winds of Spring, most days there is only a quiet soft breeze in the air allowing the serene silence of rural living to sink in.

Winter is short in Australia and I look forward to it with anticipation because it brings more time to prepare well for Spring. I’ve observed what works in this garden over several seasons now, and made new attempts at replicating the tried and true ideas into fresh areas; pulling out recalcitrant roses and any plants diseased or beyond saving, and have created plenty of space for seasonal plantings of new roses for mass planting and focal areas. The garden beds need rejuvenating after summer as roses are heavy feeders, and the soil will benefit from adding extra compost, gypsum, aged sheep manure, mulching the beds, and resting over winter. This work, plus all the new perennials in the ground, are all steps toward my vision for next season. Although, one never really knows how it will grow or turn out until the new landscape is created. We can initiate designs and make plans, but nature ultimately decides on the landscape outcome.

There are only a few roses out at present but many visible buds, so there will be another few weeks of rose blooms to enjoy before the winter frosts arrive. Reassuringly, some roses that struggled towards the end of summer with two-spotted mites and blackspot are now fully recovered and foliage is once again healthy and fresh in the garden. I think I’ve caught up on some of the tasks on my list, and it’s a great feeling to be making amends and witnessing the results of more attention focused on the garden.

“Nothing feels like home more than a garden full of gorgeous plants.”

Highlighted in the images from the garden this week, in order from the top, are the roses; La Vien Rose, Chartreuse de Parme, Alfred Sisley, Love Potion, Edgar Degas, Pink Intuition, Beautiful Girl, Per-Fyoom Perfume, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch and Spirit of Rural Women.

Four of these roses are Delbards Painters Series; Alfred Sisley, Edgar Degas, La Vi En Rose and Pink Intuition with their almost handpainted appearance that combines colours like an artist’s impressions. All of the Painters Series are wonderfully colourful striped roses named after the Great French Impressionist Painters. Edgar Degas is out in bloom this week and is stunning in the garden and brilliant in sunlight. This rose is a sport of the Henri Matisse rose and was discovered by Guy Delbard in June 1994 in the greenhouse at Hyeres, France. It is a unique, semi-double rose with raspberry and magenta, hot pink and yellow stripes, a light scent, and glossy healthy foliage, as one can see in the image. It is tough, disease-resistant, and grows to about 120 cm high, sometimes in solitary blooms, and at times in clusters.

Pink Intuition is just starting to bloom again and is quite extraordinary with its distinct pink and white stripes. Pink Intuition -DELstrifram is a sport Hybrid Tea of Red Intuition discovered by Arnaud Delbard in France and sold by Delbard in 2003. The fragrance is mild, and the flower shape is a perfect, classical Hybrid Tea-shaped bloom in beautiful pinks. What I like about Pink Intuition is the blooms sit for a long time on the bush without fading and the shrub is strong and hardy growing to 150 cm.

Beautiful Girl – KORakucap, is another magnificent rose that does exactly what is expected. Bred by Kordes in Germany in 2009, as part of their Grandiflora range. Beautiful Girl features an antique style globular bloom form in bright cerise pink and silver that is romantic and so symmetrical and highly attractive. The foliage is light green and the rose is a tall upright large rose bush of 150 cm.

This one is called Per-Fyoom Perfume and needless to say, it has an intense scent reminiscent of apple blossoms and old fashioned myrrh fragrance. It is a light pink Hybrid Tea with a dense bushy growth habit and loads of blooms. It was bred by Hans Jurgen Evers in Germany in 2005, and introduced into Australia by Knight’s Roses in 2016 as ‘Per-Fyoom’.

“It is good 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

Next out in the sun today is Dame Elisabeth Murdoch rose – KORwarpeel; another Kordes Hybrid Tea rose bred in Germany in 2009. Named to honour the much loved and inspiring Australian, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch (1909-2012.) Her legacy is Cruden Farm in Victoria: the gardens and the stunning driveway, planted with over 100 lemon-scented gum trees, the lake and the walled garden. Never was any Australian figure more deserving of a beautiful rose to be named after her than Dame Elisabeth. ” Cruden Farm Diaries” is a book released in 2017 by Penguin/Lantern, written by Lisa Clausen about Michael Morrisons’ diaries of his work at Cruden Farm. It highlights the special friendship with Dame Elisabeth and their triumphs, dreams, work and sheer fun that he and Dame Elisabeth shared over the extraordinary 40-year relationship of developing and growing the Cruden Farm Gardens. Below is an extract from Michael Morrison’s Diaries -Dame Elisabeth at 90 years old being dropped off by Michael at a formal event in the city of Melbourne in 1999.

Wish I had thought to bring the camera – as we draw up at 81 Collins St, with several very smartly dressed ladies being dropped off in smart cars at the Alexandra Club – Dame E leaping out of the ute with her evening clothes over her arm.”

Aptly, the last rose today is the Spirit of Rural Women rose developed to honour the hundred years of pioneering Women in Agriculture and Business in South Australia. This unique South Australian organisation was set up to provide opportunities for education, friendship and self-development for women interested in rural, agricultural and business issues. The rose was bred by Meilland International France, in 2016 and introduced into Australia by Wagner’s Rose Nursery in 2018 as ‘Spirit of Rural Women’. It has a rose and spice scent and is hardy and healthy to about 150 cm tall.

I wonder what will be in flower for the end of the season? There are many buds, as I mentioned ready to open in the garden and these include; Lady of Shalott, Princess Michael of Kent, Coconut Ice, Love Potion, Miss Unique, Guy Savoy and my new Spiced Coffee roses amongst others I will highlight next time.

Di Baker All Content and Images 2022

Title quote by Lauren Destefano

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