Just step outdoors, see the light on the hills, the stars at night- that’s enough.

The weather of late is glorious and the days so clear. It is fresh in the mornings with the warmth of sunny days followed by the grandeur of an empyrean night sky.
Nothing is more spectacular than the inland domed sky on a cloudless crisp cold night. At times like this, it all seems worthwhile living away from the coast in a rural setting.

The garden is peaceful; all the wasps have retreated, the weeds are under control, and roses continue to bloom abundantly. What more could we ask for than a garden thriving in Autumn, providing a last glimpse of colour before the frosts arrive?

“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise.”

George Eliot

Any roses out at this time of year are an unexpected bounty from the garden. I was visiting another garden last weekend in my local town, and not one rose was out in bloom, so it depends on the style or variety of rose growing and the late summer care as to how long roses will bloom. There are many roses in the garden not out at present, although the allure of the hundreds still out certainly makes up for it.

Diana Princess of Wales Rose

Overall, the garden is coming into its own and is fully recovered from late summer neglect and all the weeds. A few of my projects planned for winter are underway and plans afoot for a revamp of my palm garden. I have started opening this area up and have planted Viola banksii – Native Violet a hardy spreading ground cover for shady parts of the garden. It has charming small white flowers with purple marks and mid green leaves.

“If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour.”

Victoria Erickson

Today I have a collection of flowers from the garden that, in one instance, are better than they were all season long. I’m referring firstly to the rose Diana Princess of Wales.

This beautiful rose, like her namesake, has had ups and downs and been unwell, recovered and now thrives in a secluded area of the garden where this Autumn has suddenly bloomed exceedingly well. In the past, there would have been just one rose out at a time, but now six to seven roses are present. It is magnificent, with subtle colouring and eye-catching soft pastel blooms.

The Diana Princess of Wales Rose JACshaq is also known as Diana and Elegant Lady and is not sold in the UK to avoid confusion with the Princess of Wales Rose. The rose is a Hybrid Tea rose bred by the American rose breeder Keith Zary in 1998 as part of the New Generation Roses ® Collection. The parentage of the rose is Anne Morrow Lindbergh X Sheer Elegance.  

Diana Princess of Wales rose has a classic style bloom with ivory petals overlaid with a clear pink blush. Overall the colour becomes a pastel blend of creams and pinks with a hint of lemon. The colour will darken in warmer regions as the flower fades.

She grows in a vintage-style pot in the garden, having been rescued when she was not doing very well some years ago. I only noticed it the day before we were to leave on an overseas trip. So, I potted the rose and left it in a safe place to be watered in the hope recovery would occur. On our return, the rose surprised me with gorgeous blooms and has flourished ever since. 

Diana, Princess of Wales rose is best as a specimen plant in the garden due to the vigorous upright growth. She will escape the large pot and return to the garden this winter as it is expected to grow to 150-165 cm tall with well-branched large, glossy, medium green foliage. The thorns are hooked and large, so watch out for this one. The fragrance is classified as moderate with a mildly sweet tea scent. The flowers have many petals up to 40, and some can reach 12 centimetres across. They are mainly solitary and on long stems, so they are perfect as a cut flower. Available at Wagner’s Rose Nursery.

“Autumn! The greatest show of all the times!”

Mehmet Murat ildan

The next rose does not need any encouragement or recovery since it was planted and is thriving, providing a profusion of late-season colour. Love Song- WEKstameda is a gorgeous Floribunda rose with beautifully formed lavender blooms that last and last. Bred by Tom Carruth in the USA in 2009 and introduced to the US by Weeks Wholesale Rose Growers in 2011 as Love Song.

Love Song is a bushy, rounded, upright rose that will repeatedly bloom all season in small clusters from ovoid round buds. It is very striking, with only a mild citrus scent. The roses are well-shaped with a high-centred bloom form and matte medium-green foliage. Three Love Song roses are in a cluster along the front fence; I expect them to grow to 130-150 cm tall and cannot wait to see the fence disappear.

Providing a contrast also along the front fence yet still in pastel tones is Sweet Honey Rose by Kordes. Sweet Honey features apricot and cream roses growing in large clusters in a cupped bloom form on healthy glossy foliage to one metre.

My intention with the three Sweet Honey roses was to form a low hedge of soft apricot roses that sit on low, very bushy plants and have exquisite hybrid tea-shaped, scented blooms. Sweet Honey has been a great addition to the garden, with stunning roses out all the time and showing no sign of slowing down even though only planted in December last year.
The Royal Horticultural Society named Sweet Honey -KORMECASO Rose of the Year in 2020. It was bred by W Kordes & Sons in Germany in 2004 and introduced to Australia by Treloar Roses in 2022 as Sweet Honey Floribunda Rose.

And all at once summer collapsed into Autumn 

Oscar Wilde

At last after a few months of waiting the Fire Opal roses have recovered from a late summer prune and are budded up and blooming. If the weather continues to be this warm they will be abundantly in flower by the end of the week.

I have added this Princesse de Monaco rose ( above) to show that given the proper care and a touch of rain, roses can be transplanted, recovered and bloom again in a few weeks. This Princesse Monaco rose was moved from the back garden troughs only before Easter this year when I planted Golden Beauty, and here it is, coming into flower once more; magic. The front path area is a far better long-term position for this elegant rose’s grandeur and height, and I’m chuffed it is in flower again so soon.

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”

Stanley Horowitz

A feast of flowers and foliage out so late in Autumn 2023, see the bee hidden amongst the petals- below

The last rose to highlight is the ever popular and famous Peace Rose that has been around a long time and never fails to delight. I didn’t think these would flower again this year but in true form it has. No wonder that by 1992 over one hundred million hybrid Tea Peace roses had been sold around the world. Rosa Peace was once called Rosa ‘Madame A. Meilland’. At the height of spring bloom the actual rose blooms may be 6″ across, so approximately 16.5 cm. They are always magnificent.

This stunning weather is due to continue for the next few days in our region anyway; sunny, cloudless skies, no wind and cool, clear nights. So do yourself a favour and get out and enjoy the sunshine and the starry skies whenever you can and if possible stop and smell the roses.

Title quote Anaïs Nin

All content and images Di Baker April 2023

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