THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL
SHAKESPEARE TELLS US A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WOULD SMELL AS SWEET AND THERE’S NO DOUBTING THE CHARM OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BACKYARD BLOOM
My garden features just one delightful rose. A Floribunda rose called Friesia, which has been growing successfully in a pot for around 10 years. Previously it had spent a few years in-ground.
Friesia blooms prolifically, with up to 25 roses all open at once, and after a hard prune it bounces back quickly with even more brilliant yellow flowers. A gift, it was the perfect disease-resistant, fragrant rose.
Despite being known as an avid supporter of regional natives, I would grow more roses if I had the space, and the knowledge of Brisbane-based rose expert Paul Hains. Paul is president of the National Rose Society of Australia, as well as the Queensland Rose Society. He’s also currently vice president of the World Federation of Rose Societies, Australasia. He’s a knowledgeable champion for the beautiful and much-loved flower whose origins are thought to have begun millions of years ago in Central Asia.
Many gardeners in southeast Queensland are shy of growing roses, their reticence perhaps stemming from a lack of experience.
Paul has published several books on rose growing. His latest is an easy to read guide for everyday gardeners who would like to have a couple of roses in their garden, as well as long- time rose devotees looking for more detailed advice.
The 215-page book is well set out, with beautiful coloured photos. It allows readers to head straight to information on helpful topics, or read step-by-step advice.
Growing Roses by Paul Hains, endorsed by the National Rose Society of Australia, is now in the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens Friends horticultural library and will doubtless be a favourite with the volunteers.
Every week a couple of these dedicated volunteers tend a bed of roses in the middle of the Horticulture Display Gardens. It has been transformed through their hard work pruning, mulching and weeding.
They apply the right fertilisers, organic pesticides and fungicides to keep the roses healthy through the tough humid conditions of summer.
My potted Friesia rose stands among a garden of basil, lavender, rosemary and garlic chives, perfect fragrant partners that mask the scent of roses from pests, as outlined in Paul’s book. Paul includes other companion plants that deter ants, aphids and even black spot.
He also gives essential advice on rose selection. With thousands of cultivars developed by rose breeders it helps to have a shorter list supplied by someone with Paul’s success and experience.
The Ancient Romans, Greeks and Egyptians grew roses as long ago as 5000 years. If you’ve heard the phrase “a bed of roses” it comes from fact — some Roman statesmen were known to sleep in a bed of roses. There are many fascinating rose stories. The most delightful I’ve read is a novel called
For Love of a Rose by Antonia Ridge. It tells the story of the famous Peace rose and would be an inspiration to have at least one rose in either your garden or a pot.