I never promised you a rose garden…

How did this happen? How in the hell did we end up with 30 roses/28 varieties… it’s been long on my to-do list to map the roses in our garden. Which I finally completed earlier this week. Then I asked the G.O. how many roses he thought we had. His answer. About 15. All I can say is, it’s a slippery slope from 4 roses to 30.

Front fence
“Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.” – Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Our house originally had one rose bush located near the front steps. A Mr Lincoln planted in the late 1960’s, by Ollie & Vince, first owners of our house from the late 1930’s through to Ollie’s death in 1980. A while back, one Sunday afternoon we noticed two ladies lingering at our front gate. When I ventured down to enquire if I could assist, they said they were chatting to the dog… and they used to live in this house.

At last! I have been waiting for someone from the original family to visit. Margey the youngest daughter of Ollie and Vince, and her niece Margy, a granddaughter of Ollie and Vince. They remarked their family also had had a black dog at this house: it must have seemed extraordinary to wander by and see our black dog in situ!

Rose garden
“Footfalls echo in the memory, down the passage we did not take, towards the door we never opened, into the rose garden.” – T. S. Eliot

Of course, I invited Margey and Margy in for a look around. I’ve been fortunate to encounter such hospitality from subsequent owners of my grandparents’ farm through the years so it’s only natural I was thrilled to extend the courtesy. In return they shared snippets of information… Ollie was steadfastly religious and on Sunday mornings after church held just up the hill, catered a generous home-baked morning tea primarily for the priest but with sufficient for nuns, congregation and family. Ollie loved flowers, particularly roses although the garden of her time was fairly prosaic, notably comprising tough, vividly coloured bougainvillea and border of impatiens cuttings, until later years the singular aforementioned Mr Lincoln. Having reared numerous children and grandchildren in the house over the years I doubt Ollie had much spare time or money for gardening. Nevertheless, Margey pointed out her mother had had a vegetable plot in the back corner where my caged edibles garden is now located.

“If I had a rose for every time I thought of you, I’d be picking roses for a lifetime.” – Swedish Proverb

All the more intriguing despite not being particularly enamoured of roses, since my mid-twenties I’d been collecting vintage homewares and floral pictures, particularly roses. After we bought this house, the leitmotif tended to religious subject matter; often turning up with an accompanying sense of synchronicity. Ollie and I have history. You can read that story here.

There's gotta be a little rain sometimes
“I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden. Along with sunshine, there’s got to be a little rain sometime.” – song written in 1967 by American singer-songwriter Joe South and released in 1970 by Lynn Anderson.

My grandparents’ farmhouse flower garden of the late 1960’s early 1970’s included multi-hued gladioli and white cape daisies, which I love to this day along with the snapdragons and sweet peas of my great-grandmother’s garden in town. Other than one brief exception at the new build house where we lived during my teenage years, there weren’t roses in the gardens of my childhood. Brief… because Dad and his best mate returning home one evening after a long session at the pub rather than taking the usual direct path flattened the breadth of the front garden bed as they rolled inebriated across the lawn, the recently planted roses between them and their intended destination of the front door.

Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.” – Arthur Conan Doyle

However, both lots of the G.O.’s grandparents were accomplished rose growers and the G.O. inherited the knack along with know-how from his younger days working as a groundskeeper.

And so, the second rose in our garden was a cutting from the first Mr Lincoln which the G.O. propagated c. 2002 and planted in the centre of the front garden shortly after he purchased the house.

Around the same time the G.O. planted rose number three under the living room window. With champagne blooms it was an attractive but not very robust rose and after a few years of being quite untended in our absence it reverted to rootstock throwing out long canes and distinctive dark red flowers identifying it as Dr. Huey.

Original 'Champagne' rose, a large-flowered hybrid tea rose which produces fragrant, buff yellow flowers with an apricot shade. Foliage is dark green and leathery.
Old photograph of the champagne rose we lost, survived by Dr. Huey its rootstock.

Rose number four was one of those good ideas at the time after a vacation visit to a local historic tourist attraction where the thing that impressed me most was a beautiful yellow rose rambling over an archway, which I thought would suit our backyard. That we weren’t living here nor had an archway didn’t deter me. For a few dollars from a roadside stall, I bought a tiny plant labelled simply yellow climbing rose, for want of an arch planted it along the side back fence in what was all those years ago an empty corner and hoped for the best.

a beautiful pink rose rambling over an archway
When it came to it, we chose a pink rose for the archway.

Despite getting only sporadic attention, the little plant not only survived but grew rapidly, soon covering several metres of old wire mesh fence with fragrant, double, white, rosette like flowers. We now know it’s a Rosa banksiae Alba. Fortunately, white flowers of any kind are my favourite, and there would be time enough in the future for a yellow rose. If only I’d known…

Serendipitously more than decade later, number five, Graham Thomas a yellow climbing rose, came my way, a gift from one my Tafe horticulture teachers.

Rose number six, Slim Dusty was a nod to Australian cultural icon and local celebrity for who it is named [of whom the G.O. is a fan] famed for his song The Pub With No Beer, our local pub at Taylors Arm. Part of the proceeds from the sale of each rose is donated to the Slim Dusty Foundation.

Rose number seven, Cecile Brunner was a gift from my friend-cousin-in-law fellow gardener-horticulturalist who knew I’d love its small double pale pink flowers and classic rose fragrance.

Rose number eight was a self-propagated cutting from rose number three Dr Huey rootstock which popped up in just the right place.

“A rose does not answer its enemies with words, but with beauty.” – Matshona Dhliwayo

Roses nine to thirty…

I got to thinking as I often do and thinking led to further clicking on the Treloar Roses website. More roses? Is it possible we needed more? Where would they go? As part of my permaculture design final plan, we’d expanded the narrow house-hugging front garden border into a deep paisley inspired curve with the intention of growing a mix of edible, useful and beautiful. Additional roses weren’t in the plan, but they are all of those things, technically. More importantly its westerly aspect is our most challenging space, and the durability of the existing roses suggested we could expect the same.

Worm food
Nothing is wasted… rose petals are beautiful worm food.

You might think 23 roses are quite the investment for something with limited guarantee. By buying bare rooted plants and later using reward points plus end of season discount offer, I spent a total of $535.60… $23.28/9 per plant including shipping to my door.

If you’ve been to a plant nursery-garden centre or florist recently you’ll recognise this is good value for plants which with reasonable care will live for decades providing never-ending bouquets of flowers.

Ollie my friend, you got your rose garden.

Sunshine Cottage rose garden map May 2023
Sunshine Cottage rose garden map May 2023
1. Moonlight_image credit www.treloarroses.com.au
1. Moonlight Kordes Climbing Rose (Korklemol) – Semi-double blooms ranging in colour from yellow through to copper tones. Fruity fragrance. Approx 2.5m tall. Purchased mid-2022. Yet to flower: Treloar Roses advise climbers tend to focus on climbing for the first couple of seasons.
2. Crepuscule
2. Crepuscule Heritage Climbing Rose (Noiset 1904) – Informal apricot to yellow blooms. Minimal thorns. Can be allowed to grow as a large sprawling shrub or trained as a moderately vigorous climber. Repeat flowering with good fragrance. Approx. 3m spread. Purchased mid-2022.
3. Graham Thomas
3. Graham Thomas David Austin English Shrub Rose (Ausmas) – Cupped shaped blooms of rich, pure yellow with a strong tea rose fragrance. Upright growth habit that can be trained as a climber or bushy shrub. Approx. 1.2m tall. Gift from Tafe 2017.
4. Iceberg
4. Iceberg Kordes Climbing Rose (Korbin) – Nicely shaped pure white blooms cover the plant all season. Growth up to approx. 5 metres but not overly rampant. Fragrant. Purchased mid-2021.
5. Blossomtime
5. Blossomtime Climbing Rose (Bred by Conrad O’Neal, USA in 1951) – Clusters of shapely flowers in two shades of pink. A moderate pillar-type climber to approx. 2.5m spread which repeat flowers freely. Fragrant. Purchased mid-2021.
6. Dr. Huey
6. Dr. Huey Bred by Captain George C. Thomas (United States, 1914) – Dark red hybrid wichurana climbing rose now used primarily in the rose breeding business as a rootstock. Long canes up to approx. 2.5m. Original plant was champagne rose bush planted by the G.O. c. 2002.
7. Mr Lincoln
7. Mr Lincoln Hybrid Tea Bush Rose (A.A.R.S. Award 1965) – Large dark velvety red blooms with a lovely fragrance. 1.5 m high. Original rose planted c. late 1960’s.
8. Renae
8. Renae Floribunda Climbing Rose Bred by Ralph S. Moore (United States, 1954) – Large clusters of very fragrant open double pale pink blooms. Bright glossy foliage. Soft canes. Repeat flowering. Needs wind protection. Minimal thorns. Approx. 3m spread. Purchased mid-2022. First and only bloom so far.
9. Mr Lincoln
9. Mr Lincoln Hybrid Tea Bush Rose (A.A.R.S. Award 1965) – Large dark velvety red blooms with a lovely fragrance. 1.5 m high. Cutting taken and planted by the G.O. c. 2002.
10. Cecile Brunner
10. Cecile Brunner Climbing polyantha rose bred in France by Marie Ducher and introduced by her son-in-law, Joseph Pernet-Ducher in 1881. Small double pale pink flowers and a classic rose fragrance. Arching growth habit. Strong, vigorous and wind hardy. Minimal thorns. Approx. 2-3m high x 2-3m wide. Gift from @our_river_cottage mid-2021.
11. Roald Dahl
11. Roald Dahl English Shrub Rose (Ausowlish) – Soft orange-red buds open to medium-sized, cupped rosettes of perfect apricot colouring. Fruity tea scent. Matures into rounded, bushy shrub with few thorns. Can cope with partial shade. 1m high and wide. Purchased mid-2022.
12. Earth Angel

12. Earth Angel Floribunda Bush Rose (Korgeowim) – Exceptionally fragrant old world shaped flowers opening from dark pink buds. The colour evolves to a delicate pink and the blooms give off an intense fragrance of lemon and apple. Grows to approx. 70cm tall in an upright form [ours is approx. 1.5m tall!]. Purchased mid-2021.

13. Summer Romance

13. Summer Romance Floribunda Rose Bush (Kortekcho) – Magnificent mid pink, fully double and quartered blooms adorn an upright floribunda to around 80cm tall [ours is approx. 1.8m tall!]. Scent of spicy apples and a hint of liquorice. Purchased mid-2021.

14. Elina

14. Elina Hybrid Tea Rose Bush (Dicjana) – Large, well-formed blooms of lemon to light yellow. Good for any climate. 1.2m [ours is approx. 1.6m tall!]. Purchased mid-2021.

15. Dr. Huey
15. Dr. Huey Bred by Captain George C. Thomas (United States, 1914) – Dark red hybrid wichurana climbing rose now used primarily in the rose breeding business as a rootstock. Self-propagated plant which popped up in 2020. Long canes up to approx. 2.5m. See 6.
16. Fuity Parfuma
16. Fruity Parfuma Floribunda Rose (Korgehaque) – Unusual round blooms get to a diameter of 6 cm in a wonderful coral red. Strong fragrance, rich in facets of ripe raspberries and rhubarb with a hint of patchouli. Growth to 80 cm to 1m high and 40 to 60 cm wide on average. Purchased mid-2022.
17. Comtes De Champagne
17. Comtes De Champagne David Austin English Shrub Rose (AUSufo) – Rich yellow flowers gradually turn to a pleasing pale yellow as they open, forming a perfect cup with deep yellow stamens. Wide, low and bushy growth producing flowers on slender, arching stems. Honey and musk. 1m tall x 1m wide. Purchased mid-2022.
18. Madame Anisette
18. Madame Anisette Kordes Hybrid Tea Rose (Korberonem) – Anise fragrance, reminiscent of liquorice, accompanied by a hint of spice and honey. Classed as a Grandiflora, the blooms are a large apricot cream and set in umbels. Heat resistant with upright growth to an average of 1.8m by 80cm wide in warmer climates. Purchased mid-2022.
19. Slim Dusty
19. Slim Dusty Floribunda Rose Bush Bred by Colin A. Pearce (United Kingdom, before 2000)- A rich golden orange coloured rose with copper bronze tones that blend with the outback colours of the Australian bush that Slim so loved. Blooms possess an old-fashioned tea rose fragrance. Purchased mid-2021. The least robust of our rose plants.
20. Lady of Shalott
20. Lady of Shalott David Austin English Rose (Ausnyson) – Buds of rich orange-red open to form a lightly fragrant chalice-shaped bloom filled with loosely arranged petals. Each petal has a salmon pink upper side which contrasts beautifully with the attractive golden-yellow reverse. A pleasant, warm, tea fragrance, with hints of spiced apple and cloves. A large shrub with slightly arching canes. Can be used as a moderate climber. Height 1.2m or 2.5m pillar. Purchased mid-2021.
21. The Poet’s Wife
21. The Poet’s Wife David Austin English Rose (Auswhirl) – Large cupped blooms of a lovely rich yellow which pale as they. Fully double blooms contain a wonderful fruity fragrance with hints of lemon. Low rounded shrub to 1.2m. Purchased mid-2021.
22. Heaven on Earth
22. Heaven on Earth Floribunda Rose (Korravreli) – Large cupped and full blooms of soft peach apricot sit on the bush for an extended time slowly fading to cream as they age. Moderate spicy fragrance. Thick leaves hint at good heat tolerance. Height is to 1.2 m. Purchased mid-2022.
23. Just Joey
23. Just Joey Hybrid Tea Bush Rose (Canjujo) – Large decorative coppery orange to buff blooms with waved and frilled petals. Sweetly scented. Height to 1.2m. Purchased mid-2022.
24. Claire Austin
24. Claire Austin David Austin English Shrub Rose (Ausprior) – Cupped buds of pale lemon, gradually open to form large, creamy white flowers of a typical English Musk delicacy and strong fragrance. Arching canes with medium green foliage. Growing to approx. 1.5m tall. Purchased mid-2022.
25. Ice Girl
25. Ice Girl Hybrid Tea Rose (Kormistiana) – Snow white medium size blooms that flower in quartered rosettes. Intense fragrance. Approx. 1.5m tall. Purchased mid-2022.
26. Golden Beauty
26. Golden Beauty Floribunda Bush Rose (Korberbeni) – Glowing amber, high centred blooms are produced in large clusters on a very healthy compact bush of dark green leaves. A great performer in hot dry climates with fragrant blooms that don’t fade. From the classic to the romantic this rose is a great addition to any garden. Fragrant. Height to 1.5m. Purchased mid-2022.
27. Soul Mate
27. Soul Mate Floribunda Bush Rose Bred by Tom Carruth (United States, before 2003) – Groups of cupped, old-fashioned blooms in lemon and butter-gold tones. Anise fragrance. Thorny bushy, compact. Also known as ‘Julia Child’ in the US and ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ in the UK. Approx. 80cm high x 65cm wide. Purchased mid-2022.
28. Heidesommer
28. Heidesommer Ground Cover Rose (Korlirus) – Masses of cream, white blooms that are produced in clusters with a strong, sweet fragrance, flowering in flushes throughout the season. Approx. 50cm high by 90cm wide. Purchased mid-2022.
29. Jasmina
29. Jasmina Kordes Climbing Rose (Korcentex) – Profusion of violet pink, cupped blooms with a nostalgic old-world appearance and fruity fragrance are produced on a healthy plant growing to around 2.5m tall. Purchased mid-2021.
30. White Banksia Rose
30. White Banksia Rose Rosa banksiae Alba Profuse fragrant, small, white double blooms. Flowers spring to early summer. Vigorous climber with rich green foliage on nearly thorn-free slender branches. Approx. 2.5m wide x 2.5m high. Purchased c. 2007.

“Live now, believe me, wait not till tomorrow; Gather the roses of life today.” ~ Pierre de Ronsard

Roses purchased in 2021 and 2022 from Treloar Roses: descriptions derived from their website. Photos -with the exception of Moonlight which hasn’t yet flowered- are mine.

*Disclaimer: daleleelife101.blog is a personal blog. Where I share products, books, resources, links or information I’m doing so subjectively, rather than as endorsement, and I receive no cash or kind benefits from doing so. Any material contained in this blog has been prepared without taking into account the reader’s objectives, situation or needs but with the best of intentions to entertain. Before acting on any material in this blog I recommend the reader consider whether it is appropriate for the reader’s particular circumstances. I do not accept liability for any errors, omissions or inclusions in the contents.

21 thoughts on “I never promised you a rose garden…

  1. You have a beautiful selection. The scenbts nmust be haevenly as you walk around.I have a bush of rock roses I love, but little or no fragrance. Sometimes a few dod roses appear too.
    Hugs to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enviable. By which I mean I’m deeply envious. I have one solitary, struggling Peace rose which does NOT enjoy our climate and I hate to torture plants by growing them where they’re not happy. Clearly you have an effective rose microclimate! If I could add one rose to your list and reserve annual visiting rights, it would be the David Austin English Shrub Rose ‘Tradescant’, a deep, blackish crimson velvet-petalled rose with highly fragrant blooms that smell exactly like fresh raspberry jam to my nose. I had one in London, 5 homes, 1 hemisphere and 3 states ago, and I cried salty tears when I had to leave it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I Googled Tradescant. If a space becomes available it’s a worthy candidate. While I was putting the post together my thoughts wandered around which rose I would grab in a emergency… the lemony white Elina, I think… but there are a few close runners. I can understand your sadness at leaving Tradescant.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love roses. I think they’re my favourite flower, and all the pets of my adult life have been buried beneath one. All of those roses have travelled with me from rental to rental and finally here, to Warrandyte where I’ve added yet more.
    I think I inherited my love of roses from Dad as he grafted roses and fruit trees as I was growing up. I wish I had just one of his special roses to keep but twas not to be. I’ve never done an audit of my roses but I’m pretty sure I don’t have as many as you. -cough- Give me time though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I did smile reading this, last time I counted I reckoned we had about 50 rose bushes, the vast majority are from David Austin, I recognised several names from your post…we have Claire Austin and Roald Dahl as standard roses – a treat to myself a few years ago 🙂


  5. How thoughtful of you to photograph and detail each of your roses. None will feel slighted! I’m not a rose grower but if I was numbers 4,5 & 29 would be my choices—all climbers. Gorgeous. I do enjoy visiting botanic gardens with rose sections too. It’s being a strange week for us and lots happening so I’m slow to respond but I did read it days ago. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always enjoyed the roses at botanic gardens, but I never envisaged translating it to my own garden. A few years ago, I followed Passion Fruit Garden blog where Glenda was very generous in sharing beautiful photos & details of their roses via https://passionfruitgarden.com/category/rose-of-the-week/. It was through the blog world that I began looking at the possibilities of roses as garden plants. 4, 5 & 29 are in my top ten, but each have their own appeal.


Comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.