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Gardening with Gael - Roses seem to suit any occassion


roses in vase(copy)(copy)What could be more heartening than, on a bleak cold winters day, a large vase of roses, their sumptuous blooms uplifting the spirits.

I had a birthday recently and my sisters gave me a big bunch of roses. I loved them. They were just opening and for the next three weeks I carefully chopped a bit off the stems every couple of days and the blooms slowly opened to their full beauty.

It is rose planting time and those roses reminded me of the gaps in my garden and how much I love a vase of rose blooms. Box does too I notice. It is rare for him not to have some in the living room at the Block. As Cess, who has a stall of fruit trees and roses at the market pointed out to me, here in the north we can enjoy a few blooms almost all year round. He certainly has a bucket of blooms every Saturday which exhibit examples of the roses he has for sale. I rarely leave the market without one.

At the Block Box planted more grapes last year. He terraced the hillside on the side of the drive above one of the dams. The terraces follow the curve of the dam and he has planted two rows of grapes on each. “What will I plant at the end of the rows?” he asked. “Roses? And what on the banks between the rows?”

Traditionally roses have been planted at the end of rows of grapes as disease indicators and also to provide a habitat for beneficial insects. As many vineyard owners have pointed out to me, you would not want to rely on that method of management. Instead of putting roses at the end of the rows we have decided to grow them on the banks between the rows.

From Ces at the market I have purchased a couple of Souvenir de Mme Leonie Viennot recommended by Lyn Parker who has a magnificent specimen in her Kaiwaka garden, Souvenir  de la Malmaison, a beautiful large, quartered and double repeat bloomer and a thornless mauve rambler. These I am assured, will ramble very quickly over the banks. My biggest concern is keeping them away from the mowing strip.

I have friends and family with birthdays in June and roses make a great present. Naja have a varied selection of roses, some Austins, floribundas and hybrid teas. The day I went to buy a present, Naja’s very knowledgeable assistant  Jacky was there. Fortunately for me her husband Doug was there visiting the nursery. For years Doug managed the roses at the Botanical gardens. Doug’s understanding and experience give him an extensive background of information. He is familiar with the  heritage of roses and rose breeders which made buying a rose all the more interesting. He recommended Chartreuse de Parme, a lovely fragrant rose which has won many awards. I was attracted to the rich magenta pink colour but would not normally have bought a hybrid tea. Needless to say I have kept it and have had to buy a different rose for my friend.

POPULAR: If you’ve got something to say, say it with roses. My birthday roses are a perfect example.
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