And So the Roses Begin Again – 2015

A selection of some of the original roses outside the Chapel verandah.
A selection of some of the original roses outside the Chapel verandah.
Jenz Munk, a heritage wild rose.
Jenz Munk, a heritage wild rose.

The Convent was always known for its roses. I’ve never had a property before with a suitable environment for roses, although I have always loved the sense of history and romance that comes with them, so this is a perfect setting for me to let loose.

This rose, outside the sunroom, is always the first to flower. By the time it comes to prune her, she will have rambled across the timber work and window above.
This rose, outside the sunroom, is always the first to flower. By the time it comes to prune her, she will have rambled across the timber work and window above.

To be honest, I can’t remember how many I’ve now planted. I suspect well over 120 but there have been (and will continue to be) some failures along the way. Some of the roses are now hitting the two year mark whilst others are still in their infancy. However, I’m beginning to get a better sense of how they will grow and, of course, starting to have favourites.

The Chicago Peace is spectacular. I have another young bush as well (planted when I was worried that I may kill the original with harsh pruning!)
The Chicago Peace is spectacular. I have another young bush as well (planted when I was worried that I may kill the original with harsh pruning!)
I have a couple of Lamarques but this one is more established. It should grow tall and provide and arching bower on this corner.
I have a couple of Lamarques but this one is more established. It should grow tall and provide and arching bower on this corner.

Whilst I have made some endeavours to select colours in spaces, the ‘Original Seven’ that were here were pretty random, with yellows, apricots, pinks and reds mixed, so I’m going with the flow. For other beds, I’ve been more selective – pinks, reds and whites along the front ash fence, soft pinks and whites on the Grotto and whites, yellows and apricots in the back gate bed. A few of the learnings – never get bare rooted stock. However much I promise myself I’ll plant them immediately, I don’t and I lose some. Another learning is the difference between climbers and ramblers. I have a few climbers, such as Mr Lincoln, that really need some sort of climbing frame – their strong arching branches don’t ramble softly over the wall like the other roses.

One of two old Papa Meillards - just strong colours and a great cut flower.
One of two old Papa Meillards – just strong colours and a great cut flower.

Overall, though, I’m pretty happy with my choices and locations and think, given time, the Convent garden will have a wonderful rose display. At present, I’m just enjoying wandering through the garden to look at them and, of course, have lots of roses in vases inside to enjoy as well.

My favourite - Crepuscule. This plant seems to be in the perfect position and is doing all the right things.
My favourite – Crepuscule. This plant seems to be in the perfect position and is doing all the right things.
Cecile Brunner is vying for the best performer and is clearly winning.
Cecile Brunner is vying for the best performer and is clearly winning.

Spring Means Roses

Crepuscule - this is one of the first roses I planted and is nearly two years old. A few more have since found their way into the garden.
Crepuscule – this is one of the first roses I planted and is nearly two years old. A few more have since found their way into the garden.
Graham Thomas, a David Austin rose. Roxy seems to think there may be a lizard nearby.
Graham Thomas, a David Austin rose. Roxy seems to think there may be a lizard nearby.
Molineaux, another yellow David Austin.
Molineaux, another yellow David Austin.

Particularly exciting this Spring is watching the roses bloom. I know I can’t take the credit as roses do very well in Kandos. When first buying my property the agent told me that the only roses that won’t grow here are ones that aren’t in the ground. That being said, I’ve been responsible for a few rose tragedies. However I’ve also added over 100 roses to the garden, mainly heritage varieties.

A Blushing Pierre de Ronsard along the Grotto.
A Blushing Pierre de Ronsard along the Grotto.
Pinky making her presence felt at the Grotto.
Pinky making her presence felt at the Grotto.

Anyway, all of my roses other than ‘The Original Seven’, are very new – less than two years old – and it’s exciting to see them begin to establish and flourish. Also to see what type of flowers they have rather than just being a picture on a label (or not!). The old roses appear to enjoy the attention, with a hard pruning and good feeding. The new roses are just beginning to show their growth patterns. It’s such a luxury to be able to select roses to pick each day for indoors, but I also just love seeing them on their bushes.

One of the 'Original Seven', a Chicago Peace.
One of the ‘Original Seven’, a Chicago Peace.
Cecile Brunnet running up the Grotto.
Cecile Brunner running up the Grotto.

The original plan was to have climbers and ramblers tumblingĀ themselves over the ash brick wall to what is quite a plain footpath. This is now just starting to succeed and should look a picture in years to come.

One of the newest but most vigorous roses - the Tennis Court rose.
One of the newest but most vigorous roses – the Tennis Court rose.
Lamarque - it's first year here and doing outstandingly well.
Lamarque – it’s first year here and doing outstandingly well.
Papa Meillard - makes up two of the 'Original Seven' roses remaining at The Convent.
Papa Meillard – makes up two of the ‘Original Seven’ roses remaining at The Convent.
Albertine doing exactly what I want - climbing over the fence to the footpath.
Albertine doing exactly what I want – climbing over the fence to the footpath.
The Pope - Pope John Paul II. One of three and always reliable. Well, for the two years I've had them.
The Pope – Pope John Paul II. One of three and always reliable. Well, for the two years I’ve had them.
One of two Mr Lincoln's at the front wall. Such a punch of colour.
One of two Mr Lincoln’s at the front wall. Such a punch of colour.

The Roses are Starting to Feel at Home

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The front wall bed is starting to fill out well

Over the last year I’ve planted – well I was going to say 30 or 40 roses, but after looking on my blog, where I endeavour to keep a record, it’s well over 50.

I’ve had little experience with roses in the past so this has been a steep learning curve and one that I’m sure has caused distress to some of the new roses. First lesson was to keep clear of bare root stock. I nearly killed half a dozen that are now recovering in my rose nursery/graveyard. Some won’t make it back. A few have struggled, probably due to a combination of position, soil and lack of water. But I’m learning and things are on the improve.

Mme Isaac  Pereire starting to peek over the wall
Mme Isaac
Pereire starting to peek over the wall

Mostly the roses have been a big success and I’m just starting to see their potential. The rear of the front wall bed has been filled with old fashioned climbers and ramblers, with the plan that they will tumble over the ash brick fence onto the footpath side. Whilst I love my old ash brick wall, it does look a little bleak and plain from the footpath side. This should make a stunning show for much of the year for passersby. The roses planted over the last six months are now just beginning to peek over the wall. Whilst it is very hot and dry here, the roses seem to be enjoying the weather and are having a flush of flowers.

Cecile  Brunner working her way up the Grotto
Cecile Brunner working her way up the Grotto

The Grotto roses are not disappointing and are growing strongly with the Cecile Brunner and Pinkie winding their way up the Grotto at an impressive rate.

The original old roses have enjoyed the attention and some are showing good signs of new growth. The Fairy roses continue to be stellar little performers and are rarely out of bloom. The Good Samaritan signature roses I have planted have also taken well to their positions and regularly flower.

I didn’t really know much about the different rose breeders but David Austin roses have quickly become a favourite with their beautiful old fashioned petalled blooms, delicate colours and reliability.

I’m probably getting near the end of putting in new roses (until/unless I build new garden beds) but am keen to include some Rugosa or rosehip roses for added interest.

Young standard Icebergs flanking the front entrance are flowering well
Young standard Icebergs flanking the front entrance are flowering well
The original inhabitants, including this Papa Meillard, seem to be flourishing
The original inhabitants, including this Papa Meillard, seem to be flourishing
Crepuscule - still a favourite
Crepuscule – still a favourite