Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

My Rose Diary

I am setting aside this page as a record of the roses in my garden. I suddenly feel the need to record keep and this blog is like a ‘neatish’ little cupboard in my otherwise disorganised existence, so I’ll just pop it in here.

Pat Austin Rose

I think I have roses blooming for up to 9 months of the year. Yes, I think so, but I don’t know for sure because I haven’t been paying enough attention. They have to be in flower for at least seven months, or maybe eight…well, there’s only one way to find out!

So, I am going to attempt to keep a record of which of my roses are in bud or bloom, which are struggling and which are doing well each month.

Pierre de Ronsard 3rd of March 2010

As I move along I will mention the need to move roses quite a lot. About two-thirds of them are currently in less than ideal positions with too much shade, which is kind of ironic as I don’t have a particularly shady garden. I am waiting for the cooler months to make a new rose garden.

In the meantime I may well experiment with planning for the rose garden.

My problem is that I don’t think I have the ‘garden design’ gene and don’t make very pretty gardens. It has mainly been a case of ‘dig and plonk it in’ up until recent months. My concern now is even though I have the will to do a better job, I’m not sure I have the skill to do a better job. But I would like a prettier garden. I know it needs to involve more than bare roses in the middle of winter.

Devon Rose - 3rd March 2010

I’m going to back track a little over the next couple of posts. The first job will be to compile a list of the roses that I currently have in the garden (which will inevitably lead to a couple of ‘I don’t know what this is’ photos) I’ll then look at what was in bloom in January and February and try to move on in an orderly fashion from there.

Well, that almost sounds like a plan doesn’t it?!

Update 29/3/10. i still can’t figure out a way to update this page with new posts! So instead over the next few days I will cut and paste the ‘rose diary posts’ from my main page.  Eventually this will be one loooong post!

Week One – March 9th 2010

Did I mention that I reserved the right to change my mind about how I was going to go about this? No? Oh well…I’ve changed my mind!

I was going to go back and start the diary from January. It doesn’t make any sense from the garden’s point of view to do that because the roses don’t start any new phase in January, but it made some sort of sense to me from my calendar focused perspective. After all, this was meant to be ‘A Year in a Gippsland Garden’ and if I am to start my rose diary in March that kind of mucks things up a bit, doesn’t it?

Never mind,  I may just  have to come up with a creative new title for my blog…something like ‘A Year and Another Year in a Gippsland Garden’

‘Devon’ rose is now on the ‘lost roses’ list as I can’t find any reference to a rose of that name!

Another small problem I’ve  encountered is how many different roses I have. They come in at 40+, so a long list of what they are all doing every post is going to be more than a little dull. In fact, I’m becoming increasingly concerned that the whole venture is going to be more than a little dull for everyone else but me. Feel free to wander off and get a coffee.

Anyway, even if I am talking to myself, here is the new plan for now:

I am starting my rose calendar in March 2010.

Each week of each month I will update, in order, one of  four rough groupings of roses based on their current location.   I’ll give details of each rose first time round, but just update if it is blooming or not with a photo if possible from there on in, so it won’t be so long winded. Occasionally I might focus on a favourite rose. If you are still awake and paying attention you will soon see there is no rhyme or reason to the current plantings.

The groupings will be: By the house, The Elder bed, By the shed, and ‘The lost roses’.

At some stage in winter I will move all the roses about so the whole plan will be turned upside down and confusion will reign.

Right, so here is week one, the roses ‘By the house’ on the 7th March:

Double Delight – 7th March 2010
Rose/Breeder: Double Delight (?)
Type/colour: Hybrid Tea Rose – cream with dark pink edging
Position North facing side of house – morning and midday sun
Condition: Quite healthy, but slow growing
Perfume: Yes, lovely!
In flower? Yes, blooms and buds present
Pierre de Ronsard March 2010
Rose/Breeder: Pierre de Ronsard (Meilland)
Type/colour: ‘cabbage’ style blooms on climber – white with soft pink edging
Position North facing side of house – morning sun
Condition: Excellent. Strong growth and glossy leaves
Perfume: Faint.
In flower? Yes, lots of blooms and buds present
Pat Austin 7th March 2010
Rose/Breeder: Pat Austin (David Austin)
Type/colour: English Rose – Copper orange
Position West facing side of house – Afternoon sun
Condition: Excellent. Strong growth and glossy leaves
Perfume: Yes.
In flower? Yes, lots of blooms and buds present
Rose/Breeder: Scentimental  (Tom Curruth)
Type/colour: Floribunda – red and white bicolour
Position North facing side of house. Shaded out.
Condition: Poor, not surprising with virtually no sun
Perfume: Yes, spicy, but not strong.
In flower? Yes. But only a couple of blooms and no buds
Mermaid Rose
Rose/Breeder: Mermaid (?)
Type/colour: Large single petal old rose climber – pale yellow
Position West facing side of house – Afternoon sun
Condition: Excellent. Very vigorous and on a mission to take over the world.
Perfume: No.
In flower? Yes, a few blooms and getting ready for another flush
Rose/Breeder: Valencia (Kordes)
Type/colour: Large flowered Hybrid Tea Rose – mid orange
Position West facing side of house – Afternoon sun
Condition: Quite good, but being overtaken by neighboring Mermaid rose
Perfume: Yes, sweet.
In flower? No, but a couple of buds present
New ‘Kleopatra’ – March 2010

March 14th – Week Two of my Rose Diary…

Over the last couple of weeks many of the roses have started to sprout new growth for an autumn flush. I’ve really only just learnt that I should do a summer pruning (which is not quite as hard as a winter one) so they can be at their best, but I’ve left it too late this time around. Next year. Already I have a lot of jobs on the list for next year!

New rose growth has attracted a stack of aphids. Us rose gardeners can have a reputation for being pretty quick to reach for the spray, but I don’t.

Aphids having a lovely time muching my roses
Aphids having a lovely time munching on my roses.

I am fortunate that if I wait a beneficial insect in the form of a little parasitic wasp (Aphidius rosae) will turn up and deal with the aphids. These wasps are an introduced biological control.

An adult Aphidius Rosae circled. Notice the pale aphid ‘mummies’ above it.

It can seem like an age for the wasps to turn up while the aphid population explodes, but they are usually here within a week of an aphid outbreak and the aphids are then gone within a week or two.

The wasps manner of dealing with the aphids is quite gruesome. They lay their eggs inside the aphid and the aphid then provides food for the wasp larva. You can read more about it here.

Most years I can also rely on ladybugs coming to the rescue too, but this year we’ve barely seen them and we’re all still a bit sad about that.

Anyway, time to look at what the next lot of roses are doing today. These ones are scattered around the side and back of the shed.

As an aside – I keep mucking up the layout of the tables which seem to limit where I can edit, so this diary entry will end abruptly after the last table!

Rose/breeder Kathryn Morley (Austin)
Type / Colour Many petalled English rose / Soft shell pink
Position North/West facing – beside robinia (part sun)
Condition Quite tall (over 1 metre), getting a bit leggy. Doing quite ok, but I reckon it will thrive in a better position.
Perfume? Yes, soft
In flower? No, a couple of buds
Camp David, as high as the shed.
Rose/breeder Camp David (?)
Type / Colour Hybrid tea / deep red
Position West facing behind the shed
Condition Thriving, can get close to two meters if let go, can produce more long stemmed blooms than it can support if not kept in check.
Perfume? Yes, quite strong
In flower? Yes
Rose/breeder Lorraine Lee(Alistair Clarke – Australian bred rose)
Type / Colour Climber, tea shaped buds / pink with an apricot tinge
Position West facing behind the shed
Condition Monster climbing rose! Flowers sporadically but over many months. Beautiful buds, but they don’t last in the vase.
Perfume? faint
In flower? No
Abraham Darby, quite an apricot shade at this time of year.
Rose/breeder Abraham Darby (Austin)
Type / Colour Many petalled English rose/ varies from pink early in season to  more apricot later.
Position West facing behind the shed
Condition A big thriving plant over a metre high and wide. Flowers repeatedly and generously
Perfume? Yes, just divine!
In flower? Yes
William Shakespeare March 2010
Rose/breeder William Shakespeare (Austin)
Type / Colour English Rose / crimson
Position North/West facing – beside smaller Japanese maple (part sun)
Condition Very good. Quite tall (over 1 metre). Quite a bit of new growth, getting a tad leggy.
Perfume? Yes
In flower? Yes, buds present
Rose/breeder Camille Pissaro  (Delbard)
Type / Colour Cream and pink bicolour
Position North/West facing – beside false acacia (part sun)
Condition Poor. Not in a great position, but still the least successful when compared to those around it.
Perfume? No
In flower? No, a couple of buds
Fiona’s Wish hiding her yellow centre
Rose/breeder Fiona’s Wish (?)
Type / Colour Hybrid tea / strong yellow dark pink edging
Position North/West facing – beside robinia (part sun)
Condition Ok, some new growth, but not really thriving
Perfume? Yes
In flower? Yes

Katy Dit It! (March 25th 2010)

The good news is that the aphids are all but gone. The little wasps are still busy doing their gruesome alien emergence thing, but that’s fine with me because it works. No chemicals and (very nearly) no aphids. Lovely.

The bad news is that no flotilla of ladybugs appeared. I’m starting to wonder if the little wasps are too much competition for them. Something I read (can’t remember where now) did say that the parasitic wasps were a more effective biological control for aphids than ladybugs or lacewings. I wonder if being out-competed is the real cause for the loss of my ladybug population.

I’m going to have to look into that, but today I’ve been on an identity search for prime rose chewing suspect number one. Did you see her perched there amongst the roses?

Who is this fiend?

Because I work hard (stand back and let nature take it’s course)  to avoid using insecticides on my plants, the occasional bug does come along and do some damage. It’s never as bad as you might think and I only loose the occasional bloom. I think that is a small price to pay to have the bees, the butterflies and the creepy little parasitic wasps visit.

But I think this critter has been taking big mouthfuls out of some of my blooms and I’ve been trying to figure out who she is since January.

A harlequin bug copping the blame

In January I was still considering blaming the Harlequin bugs (Dindymous Versicolour) for my rose bud damage, but my suspicion was aroused when the creature  below was found near the scene of the crime.  I’ve since found it loitering nearby on two or three more occasions, so it has become prime suspect number one. It has taken me ages to figure out what it is exactly as it looked to me like a cross between a grasshopper and a leafhopper.


Caedicia simplex?

Turns out grasshopper was closest to the mark and some of you probably recognised it instantly as a Katydid, who has both British and Northern American cousins. I think this one is an Inland Katydid (Caedicia simplex).

Turns out they like to munch on flower buds. Hmm.

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Comments on: "My Rose Diary" (5)

  1. It does sound like a plan. You are way more organized in your blog than I am, adding extra pages, way to go!

  2. Ah, but if only I could be as organised in my garden as you are Deborah!

  3. Heidi, This is such a clever way to keep a record of your roses. I look forward to being able to share your rose garden.

  4. Hello Jean and thanks for your warm encouragement!
    I’ve already changed my mind a bit about how I’m going to do it and hopefully the first installment will be up soon.

  5. Very interesting roses section. I like it. The Austin Roses are my favorite, smell good, nice flowers too. Your roses look healthy even with those bugs, good job!

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