I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order 

Time outside gardening and growing roses is a favourite pastime, and the garden is where I spend many happy hours, although there are times when a retreat indoors is the preferred option. Today was such a day. Eager and energetic, I headed out early, only to find a short while later, I was rushing towards the nearest door in a painful panic away from aggressive wasps hell-bent on attacking me.

What sort of insects do you rejoice in, where you come from?’ the gnat inquired.’I don’t rejoice in insects at all,’ Alice explained.

Lewis Carroll

On our recent encounters with wasps I’ve noticed an alarming pattern that is almost as if they have a silent signal between each other saying, ” you get the arms, I’ll go straight for the face and don’t let up.”
Wasps are savage when in protective mode if you are near their nests, and they sting repeatably. I ended up with a few stings on my cheek and arm. Once I was over the initial shock and pain, I decided it would be an inside work day, and the garden would have to wait.

Every garden presents innumerable fascinating problems.”

Winston Churchill

The tell-tale signs of being stung are evident on my swollen inflamed face which looks like I have had a cheek implant resulting in obscured vision; as it was so close to my eye. Unfortunately, I am sensitive to insect stings and bites, which flare up into more than a simple nuisance. But the rain and storms during the last few days are welcome distractions. The garden is now a haven of tranquillity, restful, calm and still.

On a brighter note, many more roses are coming out, which is pleasing. One is Pope John Paul 11 rose, which has one bloom open so far although a little rain damaged. The three standards are covered in buds that should bloom as soon as the sun comes out in the next week.
The pristine white of this prolific flowering rose opens from pointed, ovoid buds with roses in a solitary bloom form; it is perfect for picking and has a long vase life.

Pope John Paul 11 rose – JACegra is a hybrid tea rose from the Ultimate Rose Collection bred by Dr Keith W Zary in the USA in 2004, then introduced to the USA by Jackson & Perkins Co. in 2006 as ‘Pope John Paul II’. It was awarded a Gold Medal and Most Fragrant Rose at the ‘Australia’s Rose of the Year for 2010’ from the National Rose Trial Garden of Australia in Adelaide.

Then will I raise aloft the milk-white rose.
For whose sweet smell the air shall be perfumed.

William Shakespeare
Pope John Paul 11 Rose in Spring

According to the Rose Society of South Australia, the Pope rose as I call it, is well suited to a variety of climates, from Tasmania and Vancouver’s cool, damp regions to the hot, dry climate of Australia. The elegant classic rose is highly fragrant, and well-loved worldwide primarily due to its intense citrus scent, disease resistance and luminous white bloom.

Learn from roses; even when trampled they give off perfume, not despair.

Matshona Dhliwayo

Rosa Grace is out in bloom in a beautiful apricot shade that is darker in the middle and paler towards the edges. What I love about the Grace rose is the perfectly formed rosette blooms that are delicate, elegant and refined. I have Grace growing in two terracotta pots, and the relaxed branches billow in arching growth so far. This will become a medium shrub to 125 cm tall with a tea rose fragrance. Grace has repeated flowering all season and was bred by David Austin in the UK in 2001 as a Florists Rose, Shrub in the English Rose Collection. According to David Austin, the Grace rose was named to celebrate the special quality of ‘grace’ that characterises his English Roses.

Another highly fragrant rose is Old Port, a Floribunda Hybrid Tea rose with deep magenta blooms in an old-fashioned, quartered bloom form. The colour may be a deep pink than a magenta or purple blend during hot weather. Old Port is a thornless, compact and upright bush growing to 120 cm tall and was bred by Samuel Darragh McGredy in 1985- MACkati, then introduced in New Zealand by Egmont roses in 1991.

In garden arrangement, as in all other kinds of decorative work, one has not only to acquire a knowledge of what to do, but also to gain some wisdom in perceiving what it is well to let alone.”

Gertrude Jekyll


Coral, salmon, peach, blush, pink and orange; the colours in this rose are so striking. I love the colouring set against the green foliage. It is called My Mum, a Floribunda from New Zealand bred by Bob Matthews in 1999 and introduced in New Zealand by Matthews Nurseries Ltd. in 2012 as ‘My Mum’- MATmum.

Many Happy Returns rose is one I have never managed to get quite right in the garden. It was initially planted in a high-traffic area, it had to be cut back often, so unable to reach its full potential. I transplanted the rose, and still, the position could be better. Nonetheless, a beautiful rose with abundant pale pink and white roses throughout the season. This year, Many Happy Returns will overflow from a large tub rather than as a ground cover in the garden, which will be in a better position with more sun access.

Many Happy Returns: HARwanted is a pink blend Floribunda rose bred by Harkness & Co. in the United Kingdom in 1986 and introduced in 1991 as Many Happy Returns. The foliage is tough and leathery with dark-green leaves, indicating its high disease resistance. If this rose is not dead-headed, there will be clusters of lovely bright red rose hips galore.

Lady of Shalott rose blooming again in full Autumn colour

Moody Blues is the name of the rose below-MACmooblu, another Floribunda Hybrid Tea rose from New Zealand. Bred by Samuel Darragh McGredy IV in 1985 and introduced in New Zealand by Egmont Roses in 1991 as ‘Moody Blues’. Moody Blues rose isn’t available in Australia from my research, but it is a lovely soft mauve rose with a lighter reverse- feminine and old-fashioned.

“My life is part humor, part roses, part thorns.”

Bret Michaels

Content and Images Di Baker 2023

Title quote by John Burroughs 

Title Image is the The Chateau Versaille Rose – Di Baker

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