As I write, I am on board the Cunard line ‘Queen Elizabeth’ Ship as part of the Inaugural Australian Gardening Journey 4-11th February 2023, which has been excellent. One of the highlights was visiting more of Australia’s Botanical Gardens when in Port. However, the inclement weather made visiting the Melbourne Gardens impossible, but it was perfect for the Adelaide and Hobart Gardens I wandered through this week. Other people’s gardens are infinitely fascinating and any garden tended by someone else is always exciting to view and often thoroughly inspiring, and these two Botanic Gardens indeed were.
Apart from the pleasurable experience of a week at sea on a luxurious ship, a variety of garden-related activities have been offered that range from lectures, presentations, Q & A meetings, workshops and tours all around various aspects of gardening, from Small Space Gardens to Organic and Native Gardens, to an in-depth more historical account of Roses, Tomatoes and the Camelia with presenters that include; Grahame Ross, Steve Falcioni, Angus Stewart, Jamie Durie, Sarah Hamilton and Julia Zaetta.
On board any ship, it is always a joy to disembark and explore new areas after a day at sea. The visit to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens on a scorching yet beautiful day was, as expected, stunning, especially the expansive rose garden. We chose to visit independently rather than in a tour, to cover my love of roses and my husband’s of wine with a visit to the Adelaide Wine Centre, which is oddly enough side by side within the gardens. Both turned out to be enormous fun and highly recommended if visiting Adelaide.
At the entrance to the rose garden are two fantastic examples of Lady of Shalott roses, so I knew once I saw these beauties that the roses would be delightful. February is late for viewing the best of the Old Fashioned Heritage roses, as they were almost finished. Still, the garden boasts many different styles of roses, including Hybrid Teas, Modern Shrub roses, Landscape roses, Climbers, Floribundas, Miniature roses, Australian Bred roses, Polyantha, and Tea Roses were magnificent and many out in full bloom..
The rose garden is officially called The International Rose Garden, with more than 2,500 roses growing in an extensive area of well-kept beds, pergolas, arches, a sunken garden, pillars, and a circular garden. It is also home to the National Rose Trial Garden established in 1996.
The alluring perfume is intense as one wanders through the walkways and paths between massed roses and has plenty of roses selected for charities like The Children’s Rose, and the Thank You rose for the Leukemia Foundation.
Spectacular and imposing is the Bicentennial Conservatory, which sits adjacent to the Rose garden. It has a curvilinear shape that houses exotic rainforest plants from Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands. Another jewel in the Adelaide gardens is an ancient Wollemi Pine that they describe as the botanical find of the century because it dates back to the prehistoric time of dinosaurs. It is one of the oldest and rarest plants in the world I was told and thought to be extinct since 1994.
A stand-out rose in the rose gardens was this Fire and Ice rose, a sensational bi-coloured red and white rose. Fire and Ice were bred by Alain A. Meilland, Meilland International, in Antibes, France, in 2000 and was released in Australia by Treloar Roses in 2008. According to the South Australian Rose Society, the Fire and Ice rose varies greatly depending on the climate where it is grown. It is known to withstand the high temperatures of a hot, dry climate right through to the extreme cold below -10.
Fire and Ice is a Floribunda Grandiflora rose that sounds perfect for my region or in fact anywhere in Australia. The bushes grow in a compact manner to one metre and have extraordinary classic-shaped blooms in cream to white with bright cherry red tips.
The roses are primarily grown in traditional garden beds with perfectly weed-free dark, rich bare soil beneath and very few companion plants, apart from salvias. The sun was high in the sky as it was late in the day and not the best time to capture perfect blooms in photos but unavoidable. Although I’ve skipped over many other aspects of this beautiful garden in Adelaide to focus only on the roses, I must say that the trees were regal and magnificent and altogether it is a genuinely fantastic yard to get the chance to look around and be inspired by.
Content Di Baker February 2023
Title quote from William Howard Adams
Conservatory photo from commons.wikimedia.org