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

Posts tagged ‘rose diary’

Rose Diary / Survey Day – Late Autumn Tough Guys

Today is the 26th of the month and, as that is the random date I have chosen each month to ‘survey’ the roses that are flowering in my garden, it’s time to go for a walk. Bring an umbrella!

'Pat Austin' is officially 'tough as old boots' for Southern Australian conditions!

'Camp David' is looking a bit worn out.

This month you get to see who the real tough guys are. It is getting into late May and in my part of the world that means that winter isn’t just around the corner, she’s already running her frosty fingers across tender greenery and grasping at the last of the autumn foliage.

I apologise for the dull photos, it was a wet and overcast day and I’m not clever enough with my camera to compensate for it!

'Double Delight' still struggling away in part shade, far less pink at this time of year.

'Leander' is a climber and is still producing healthy buds.

Any roses that are still managing to flower now have survived a long hot summer and a phenomenal aphid outbreak just a few weeks ago.

They are now put to the test resisting the blackspot that generally seems to be kept at bay in the Gippy Garden until this time of year when it starts to get cold and damp.  I don’t tend to worry about black spot too much in late autumn as I’m soon to prune and my plants all seem to come back with healthy growth in the spring. If I try to pick off the affected growth at this time of year it doesn’t seem to change anything.

'Mermaid Rose' is a monster climber that just keeps going regardless of anything that happens.

While I’ve had a bit of an idea of the roses that I think will last the distance, it is good to confirm them for my ‘Rose Diary’. This way I can use the knowledge for future planning and compare what is happening at the same time next year.

Pierre de Ronsard would potentially flower all year, but is looking sad and faded and in need of a rest.

As it will be time to prune the roses very soon, there won’t be any flowers for the next couple of months.  But things are not going to be quiet, it is  about to get busier than it has been for some time. I’m about to make big changes to the roses in the garden. Plenty of roses are about to move into sunnier spots and some, who are not performing well are about to go (if I can toughen up just a little!)

'The Swan' trying to talk me in to letting her stay, but she is a sickly plant.

'Lorraine Lee' desperately needs a prune as these flowers are far above my head!

For once in my life I am also going to consciously think about designing a couple of garden beds. I have been thinking of one being semi-formal and featuring roses, but I don’t want to be faced with a forest of nothing but damp dead sticks in winter.

The other option is to go with two more cottage style beds. I think this will probably the be the more attractive and sustainable option…but it means I have to get rid of even more roses!

I might need some help with some ideas, so please don’t run away!

'Abraham Darby' is the star of the roses in the garden for producing continuous beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers.

Here is a question for you – What are the roses that ‘hang in there’ the longest before winter / pruning time in your garden?

Ladybirds to the rescue!

It’s a classic case of ‘better late than never’, but the cavalry has arrived in the rose garden. A couple of days I was out mooching around the garden (I seem to do that a lot lately) and I found this…

Yellow Shouldered Ladybird...hairy, isn't it?!

Now this little creature is tiny even by ladybird standards, probably only about 4 or 5mm long, so I had to look very closely before I even decided it was a ladybird!

Same bug, better perspective of size against rose leaf. Thanks to David for the photo!

We haven’t noticed one of these before, but it turns out it is Apolinus lividigaster,  The Yellow Shouldered Ladybird which is a native Australian Ladybird. These little ladybird don’t waste their time eating anything else, they just like eating aphids! Yay!

Next we discovered some even better news, one of the ladybirds that had visited recently was a Mum. We know this because we have ladybird larvae busily eating aphids too. So she was a timely arrival with a lovely gift for Mother’s Day 😀

What we don’t know yet is if Mum was a Yellow Shouldered Ladybird or a different type. The photos I’ve found of the larvae of Yellow Shouldered Ladybirds look to have different markings to the ones below, so I think we have a different ladybird at work here. We are hoping to see them pupate so we can find out for sure.

Ladybird larvae, but which ladybird?

If you haven’t seen the larvae of a ladybird before, you might have been surprised to see how different they look to their fully grown selves, I know I was the first time! These are about six times the size of the adult Yellow Shouldered Ladybirds, so it will be fascinating to find out which variety they are!

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers celebrating the day in your part of the world this weekend, I hope your beneficial ladybirds are plentiful!


Changing the subject back to blog re-design questions for a moment, this time I’m looking at the font. It seems that the font size and design cannot be changed on this particular page layout. How do you find it to read? Is it too small?



Rose Diary – Meet More Survivors and Stragglers

Roses might seem like spoilt children when it comes to shade and damp, but they come in to their own in hot and dry conditions.  My part of Australia is (hopefully) just starting to come through 13 years of drought. The plants I list as ‘thriving’ are truly drought hardy because they almost never get supplementary water.  Note that the ones that are suffering are generally doing so because of too much shade. I am biding my time until winter to move many of them.

Mister Lincoln - 4th April 2010

I’m looking forward to getting past the ‘listing’ stage of my rose diary.  I want to rush on and share with you a bit more about some of my favourites and my plans for some of the beds. Sadly that would defeat my record keeping purposes, so on with the next set of introductions!

Oh, and I’ve mucked up the tables so I can’t edit at the end again – but after this lot, you’ve met almost everybody – just a few ‘lost roses’ to go which you might be able to help me identify next time!

This next bed is what I call the ‘Elder Bed’ which is rapidly getting shaded to the East by ‘Mother Maple’. I have big plans for this bed, but more on that later!

Rose/Breeder: The Dark Lady (Austin)
Type/colour: English rose. Many loose petals. Deep crimson red/pink.
Position West facing, now just under the canopy of ‘Mother Maple’.
Condition: Getting leggy and sparse, which is sad to see in one of my favourite roses, can’t wait to move her into the sun!
Perfume: Yes, rich and just lovely!
In flower? A couple of sparse blooms.
Rose/Breeder: Blue Moon (Tantau)
Type/colour: Hybrid tea. ‘Blue’ mauve.
Position West facing, living almost completely in the dark under the canopy of ‘Mother Maple’.
Condition: So sad, almost leafless. I don’t kill many roses, so hopefully I can move Blue Moon before it’s too late.
Perfume: Yes.
In flower? No , not a chance!
Rose/Breeder: Mary Rose (Austin)
Type/colour: English rose. Loose petalled.  Bright mid pink.
Position West facing, living almost completely under the canopy of ‘Mother Maple’, with just a bit of afternoon sun.
Condition: Getting very leggy and sad looking. Also needs a new home ASAP.
Perfume: Yes, soft.
In flower? No.
Rose/Breeder: Mister Lincoln (Swim & Weeks)
Type/colour: Hybrid Tea. Dark velvety red.
Position West facing, just under the canopy of ‘Mother Maple’, some afternoon sun.
Condition: Strong grower, even in the shade. This one reaches for the sky without looking leggy or weak. Flowers have diminished in the shade though.
Perfume: Yes, spicy and strong.
In flower? Yes, just a couple at the moment, but gearing up again.

Angel Face - 4th April 2010

Rose/Breeder: Angel Face (Swim)
Type/colour: Hybrid tea. Unusual pinkish mauve.  (‘Stirling Silver’ is one of it’s parents)
Position West facing, later afternoon sun.
Condition: Weak grower, few blooms, but over a long period.
Perfume: Faint.
In flower? A couple of flowers.
Rose/Breeder: Julia’s rose (Wisbech)
Type/colour: Hybrid tea. Milky coffee colour.
Position West facing, later afternoon sun.
Condition: Weak grower, few blooms.
Perfume: No.
In flower? No, just finished.

Chicago Peace - this photo was taken in January and the bloom is a little sunburnt from a very hot day.

Rose/Breeder: Chicago Peace (Johnson)
Type/colour: Hybrid tea. Similar colouring to the original ‘peace’ rose, but the colour much stronger and more yellow / darker pink edging.
Position West facing, later afternoon sun.
Condition: Doing well, putting out new growth, getting ready for an autumn flush.
Perfume: Yes.
In flower? No flowers, but some buds appearing.

Ambridge Rose - April 2010

Rose/Breeder: Ambridge rose (Austin)
Type/colour: English rose, with cupped shell like petals very soft peach/apricot.
Position West facing, sun from late morning on.
Condition: Thriving, strong plant – one of the star performers who repeat flowers and will grow to a couple of metres in a season.
Perfume: Yes, lovely sweet fragrance.
In flower? A few flowers, just starting it’s autumn flush.
Rose/Breeder: Evelyn (Austin)
Type/colour: English rose, with open shallow blooms. Mid apricot/pink.
Position West facing, sun from late morning on.
Condition: Doing well, medium sized bush that flowers well over long period.
Perfume: Yes, quite strong ‘old rose’.
In flower? No, but several buds.
Rose/Breeder: Winchester Cathedral (Austin)
Type/colour: White with an occasional touch of pink.
Position West facing, sun from mid morning on.
Condition: Not thriving. Susceptible to black spot. Disappointing blooms shatter easily.
Perfume: Yes.
In flower? Yes, but only a smattering of blooms.
Rose/Breeder: The Swan (Austin)
Type/colour: English rose. White.
Position West facing, sun from mid morning on.
Condition: Not thriving. Susceptible to black spot. Erratic flowering with blooms that don’t last well.
Perfume: Faint.
In flower? No, but some buds.

This is Mary Webb - I think!

Rose/Breeder: Mary Webb (I’m pretty sure it is, but not 100% certain) (Austin)
Type/colour: English rose. Pale buttery yellow.
Position West facing, sun from mid morning on.
Condition: Little growth but healthy. Has been shaded out by a shrub that was recently removed, so should bounce back.
Perfume: Yes.
In flower? Just finished.
Rose/Breeder: Leander (Austin)
Type/colour: Climbing multiflora English rose. Strong apricot.
Position South/west facing, sun from mid morning on.
Condition: Strong grower shoots out new growth that is thick and strong and over a metre high. Needs to be move somewhere where it can be trained properly to increase flower production.
Perfume: Yes.
In flower? No flowers, but some buds.

Margaret Merill - April 2010

Rose/Breeder: Margaret Merril (Harkness)
Type/colour: Cluster flowered floribunda. White.
Position West facing, sun from mid morning on.
Condition: Grows very well and produces many flowers over long period. Flowers do tend to get marked easily.
Perfume: Highly scented, quite spicy.
In flower? Yes, lots of flowers.

Katy Did It!

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.