“Do not watch the petals fall from the rose with sadness, know that, like life, things sometimes must fade, before they can bloom again.”  

In anticipation, I wait for nature to bring more cold days to give the roses the silent nod to sleep. After only a few days of chill, the garden is showing signs of slowing down, and moving towards dormancy even though many roses remain in bloom. Some are brilliant, almost perfect whilst others are lovely, but on the wane.

Sweet Honey Rose

Of course, I’d love to see the blooms continue all year, but I also have garden plans ready for the next season’s spring flush and am eager to start. There are many tasks involved in this process, not least of all the digging up and transplanting of five to eight standard roses, several very tall rose bushes, and more roses growing in pots that need either planting out or repotting. Then the garden pruning once the frosts finish, the eco-management spray plan, and garden bed preparation for new roses- lots to do.

I welcome the autumnal chill in the air. There is a stimulation about it. Life moves to a different rhythm. There is a sense of change in the atmosphere and change is good inasmuch as it prevents stagnation. We should grow weary of a summer that never ended.

Patience Strong
Rosa; Sweet Honey in Buds

Getting stuck into plans one has drawn up and pondered over for several months is so satisfying; I am like an archer’s bow, drawn, poised and ready to get into it. As discussed before, sections are completed, like the Golden Beauty roses. The golden blooms are a welcome addition to the colour scape along the verandah when picking herbs for the kitchen, as they are growing in the same troughs.

When I began growing roses, it was always about having an abundance of colourful blooms that inspired me. I had my heart set on a bountiful collection of roses, easily viewed from the inside, with enough blooms to cut from the garden whenever I wanted.

This hope for the future is at the heart of all gardening.” 

Marina Schinz

Over time this has been achieved, and for most of the year, the garden is brimful of roses, all but during the middle of winter in Australia. I don’t cut rose blooms often, preferring to view them in the garden. However, I love the thought I could fill a vase or basket at any time for the table, guestrooms or as gifts with the added aromatic delights of scented lavender, rosemary, sage and thyme, amongst other companion plants.

I am hoping for better times. That’s how you know us hapless gardeners — by our dirty fingernails and our absurd, unquenchable optimism about next year.

Mary McGrory

Duet Roses in bloom again

Rosa Duet is one such rose that delivers in spades because it flowers so prolifically, and the two-tone pink blooms sit on the shrub for a long time and do not change, drop, fall, ball or droop. The entire bush is a flower arrangement in itself, balanced and distinctive. ‘

I don’t think we’ll ever know all there is to know about gardening, and I’m just as glad there will always be some magic about it!”

Barbara Damrosch

Duet is a pink blend Hybrid tea rose bred by Herbert Swim in the USA in 1960. The parent plants are Rosa ‘Fandango’ and Rosa ‘Roundelay’. Duet is perfect for a vase as it is long-lasting once cut, with a pleasant tea-rose scent—a prolific bloomer on a healthy shrub that is spectacular in the garden landscape.

Rose lovers at this time of year eagerly await the arrival of their chosen bare-root rose orders. The growers are busy digging the roses and preparing them for delivery from July to September. Like many gardeners, my task is to rejuvenate the soil and create more space, but it is a giant Tetris puzzle. I plan to remove any diseased or non-productive roses, plant out well-established rose plants currently in pots; Diana Princess of Wales, Herkules, Thank You, and Adorable roses and relocate any that require more sun.

“The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing better than they have ever done before.”

Vita Sackville-West

Also, next season’s plantings will focus on more cut flower varieties; Blue Moon, Forget Me Knot, Graham Thomas, Madame Delbard, Blackberry Nip, Brilliance, Carmagnole, The Wedding Rose and a few new release roses I will be discussing below.

“Good planting design does not follow a formula. At best, it allows you to experiment with nature and through nature to make an
original statement. As in all of the arts, the best garden designers take risks. Only by taking risks can you come up with something exciting and original.”

James Van Sweden

The rose blooms are not perfect in late Autumn, and the foliage is speckled with yellowing leaves and some blackspot, but the splashes of colour are gorgeous. Out in dazzling bloom is La Jago, and Papi Delbard Climbing, amongst many others. It is the ideal time to plant new roses or transplant roses or perennials from pots because the soil is still relatively warm to encourage root growth before the real cold of winter hits. The roses and perennials established now, before the start of spring, will show a magnificent display, having had a little more time to settle in.

The Mango Tango roses pictured above continue to flower, and the Autumn weather has deepened the colours that glow, whether in sunshine or shade. These, along with the Golden Beauty roses, are truly spectacular choices from last year’s new release bare root rose collections. Both varieties are never without roses in bloom.

As part of the winter plans to fine-tune the colour schemes, Pope John Paul 11 standard roses will be relocated. In another section where the roses are growing too tall and dense, some roses, including Sharifa Asma and Father Of Peace, which are already eight feet tall, will be relocated and thinned out.

The trouble with gardening is that it does not remain an avocation. It becomes an obsession.

Phyllis McGinley

The roses on the top row are in the garden, and new release roses pictured on the bottom are courtesy of, and available, from Wagner’s Roses

In keeping with my style of wanting old-world romantic-looking roses, I have chosen the vintage blooms of Australian Beauty, Emily Bronte, and Vintage roses to add to the garden this winter. These are intended to add more old-fashioned charm to the existing Spiced Coffee, Love Song and Desdemona roses. All are available from Wagner’s Rose Nursery.

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

Henri Matisse

There are two more roses to highlight in this week’s virtual tour of the garden; Dark Desire and Soaring Spirits. Dark Desire Rose is another magnificent rose by the German Breeder -Tim Hermann Kordes in 2003. It is a Hybrid Tea Rose from the Parfuma Collection with a strong fragrance described as an ‘apricot or peach, citrus, fruity, geranium, honey, lemon, myrrh, and rose’ scent.

After rescuing the Dark Desire rose from the garden where it was struggling, the beauty of this rose becomes apparent, and it is a stunner. Perfectly formed, slow to unravel, hybrid-tea-shaped blooms adorn a sophisticated and sensually fragrant shrub. It is an old-fashioned looking rose with a mass of swirling petals on bright glossy-green foliage to 120 cm. The colour is spectacular, from near-black buds that open to reveal violet-red blooms or rich burgundy red. As this one is still young, I haven’t noticed a profusion of prickles or thorns, but I have been warned that the strong arching canes are very disease resistant, but they have plenty of thorns.

“There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last but certainly not to be forgotten is the Soaring Spirits Rose. I was glad to see this one flower again as I thought I had lost it in the flood. Soaring Spirits is named in honour of the victims who lost their lives on September the 11th, 2001, in the Twin Towers. Three rose gardens have been created in New York called the “Remember Me” Rose Gardens near where the planes crashed, and each garden has one rose bush for each victim, so almost 3000 roses are in each garden. They have been introducing roses every year named for different victim groups. Other roses include Firefighter for the NYC Firemen, Forty Heroes for Flight 93, We Salute You for The Pentagon, and The Finest, for the NYC Police.

Soaring Spirits is a unique rose with an open bloom form so the stamens remain visible. This makes the roses delicate, light and elegant, with only four to eight petals – called a single-bloom rose. Most single-bloom roses are floriferous and bloom continuously because they have a fast repeat cycle; after deadheading, they will flower again in 28-35 days. Soaring Spirits has yellow and pink fading petals that give the Wow factor when in flower. The bright pink and yellow petals age to soft cream and pink over time and have a light fragrance. Mine has been slow to start, but it is said to grow 3.5 metres and has prolific ruffled roses in clusters.

I saw first-hand with the Pierre Gagnaire rose last year how prolific singles-bloom roses can be. The Pierre Gagnaire rose grows on a rustic, purpose-built obelisk by the front door. There are two on either side of the front path. The one supporting Pierre Gagnaire is thickly covered in foliage, blooming all Spring and summer. Other single-bloom roses to admire are Sally Holmes, Meg Climbing Rose, Playboy, Mrs Oakley Fisher, Ballerina, Dainty Bess, Knockout, Fire Opal, and Altissimo. The beauty of single roses lies in their simplicity, and the bees love them too.

So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.  


The title quote is by Geoffrey Chaucer

All content by Di Baker 2023

Header Image is Rosa Dark Desire

Images Di Baker with the exception of the new release roses for 2023 from Wagner’s Rose Nursery

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