“The secret of landscapes isn’t creation…It’s maintenance.

All the new roses are transforming the garden landscape, and I am loving the changes. There are small glimpses of the colours and style to expect as the roses settle in and become more established. They blend beautifully with the older roses that are the garden stalwarts having triumphed and endured the last few years of extremes; heatwave, drought and flood. Nothing can faze them now. Famous last words but I hope they are true.

As the garden takes on this new look, the slightly bare areas are filled enough to see what will work this season and what I should have done differently. Already, plans are afoot for the winter tweaks, and I’m glad I removed some troublesome roses and made room for the new styles.


Every week more roses come out and are thrilling as the preceding ones fade. The prolific nature of roses like Peach Profusion, Queen Elizabeth 11, La Vien Rose and Sharifa Asma delight once more with their second flush.

Anna Olivier is the name of this stunning rose that, several years ago, I placed in a pot as I was unsure where the best spot for it was in the garden. It is a French Tea rose bred by Jean-Claude Ducher, France, in 1872, so an old rose with a prolific number of blooms, almost without any thorns. The roses are the softest pale apricot and are highly disease-resistant, trouble-free and gorgeous.

Life is a garden. It is an opportunity. You can grow weeds, you can grow roses; it all depends on you.


The inspired look I was after is now becoming a reality, and like all things in nature, it has taken time to develop. It is an ongoing learning process to become familiar with the range of available rose styles, the structural growth habits, and the predicted colour of the various blooms. At times in the past, I was naive about the descriptions of particular roses and made the wrong choices with roses that were far too unruly and headstrong for my liking. Colours, too, can change in our hot, dry climate and tend to be much brighter and the colour more potent so caution and restraint are needed.

Some areas, in hindsight, could have resonated with more of the romantic vintage colour scheme I had envisaged. Still, most of the roses blend superbly into the landscape and provide that appealing old-world charm that roses do so well as this Jubilee Celebration rose does. This one is a David Austin rose from the English Rose Collection, UK 1993 and introduced to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s 50th Jubilee in 2002. The registration name is AUShunter, which features unrivalled-sized blooms in a rich salmon pink with yellow undertones and raspberry scent. It is a spectacular rose that will grow to 120 cm in a medium bushy, well-branched shrub.

Soul Sister rose is superb in the garden with an unusual subtle colouring that slowly changes from bronze chocolate brown buds to a milky latte colour, then fades to a soft lavender pink and pale mauve. Every time I look at the Soul Sister rose, the blooms appear to have a new shade- it is so elegant and intriguing.

I love the muted shades of Jude the Obscure, Paul Bocuse, Princess Charlene, Sweet Juliet, Spiced Coffee, Julia’s Rose and one of the new releases for next year- Vintage. Available at Wagner’s roses. There are several new releases for next year from Wagners and well worth a look, like Australian Beauty, Emily Bronte, Spicy Pafuma and The Mill on the Floss. They also have a range of Italian roses called Rose Barni, available now for next season.

A garden requires patient labour and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.

Lyberty Hide Bailey

La Vien Rose

The philosopher who said that work well done never needs doing over never weeded a garden.” 

Ray D Everson

Lately, my time in the garden has been all about weeding, let’s call it maintenance—a necessary and dominating aspect of growing roses. No one ever said that growing roses was in any way low-maintenance and what is that anyway? There is no point in a garden when there is nothing to do. The purpose of gardening is to get stuck in with nature and lavish our attention on plants, especially roses, that will bring their rewards in many ways. As the famous quote by Alfred Austin says,

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.

Ballerina Rose

Summer Maintenance Essentials.

  • Pruning- cutting back- deadheading
  • Wise watering – a deep soak each week on the ground, not the leaves
  • Mulching
  • Weeding
  • Feed roses with organic fertiliser
  • Eco spray management
  • Staking and inspection, especially in windy weather.
  • Watch out for spider mites in hot, dry weather.
  • Let roses breathe by ensuring good air circulation around the plants.
  • Keep an eye on the future, and note the roses that do well the others may require removal.
  • Look after roses in pots.

Pink Intuition

Besides necessary maintenance, Summer in a garden is about enjoyment, particularly roses. Stop and smell the roses is a famous catchphrase, but so true. If we can’t enjoy the rewards of the work spent planting, nurturing and maintaining a garden, there is no point in doing it all.

To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment. 

Jane Austin

Garden maintenance allows the mind to wander whilst pulling weeds, watering or any repetitive tasks that are all part of the fun of gardening. These pastimes provide a great sense of accomplishment, and you feel good through and through when finished. However, this year, with all the extra rainfall, the weeds seem to be growing almost overnight, and it is a struggle to keep up, and I’ve had to ignore some areas.

Christmas time approaches, and the party season is upon us, so after these next few days of garden enthusiasm, I am hanging up my cap, secateurs, garden apron, and gloves and replacing them with season’s sparkles, champagne, and good times for the next few weeks. Until the New Year, Happy Christmas, everyone!

Content Di Baker 2022

Images Di Baker 2022

1 thought on ““The secret of landscapes isn’t creation…It’s maintenance.”

  1. I simply adore the style of your colorful posts! One thing you mentioned really struck me: if a rose disappoints, don’t be afraid to replace it with another. I’ve had to make this decision many times over years of gardening, and not just with roses. Sometimes moving a plant to a different location can bring it back to life; other times the plant is just not worth saving. Although it has always been hard to say goodbye to my green friends, any plant or shrub that simply doesn’t thrive is now replaced with a healthier alternative without any guilt on my part. After all, life is too short to coddle sickly plants!

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