Coun­try di­ary: the bloom of a new love

A new sum­mer ro­mance is bloom­ing for Wendyl Nis­sen and it’s all thanks to the in­flu­ence of a pop­u­lar Kiwi singer.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS - AWW

Iseem to be hav­ing a rather in­tense love af­fair with roses in my gar­den, which I blame firmly on Hay­ley Westenra. Years ago my hus­band wrote a bi­og­ra­phy of the highly ac­claimed singer, so when I was at the gar­den cen­tre ca­su­ally sniff­ing roses – as I like to do – and came across one named af­ter her, I bought it for my hus­band as a homage. He has writ­ten 10 bi­ogra­phies, and while I’m not sure if roses have been named af­ter any of his other sub­jects, like Wil­lie Api­ata or Paul Henry, if they were, I would buy them too and plant a rose gar­den of re­mem­brance just for my hus­band.

When the Hay­ley Westenra rose came home, I didn’t re­ally have any­where to plant her, so she went in by the shed – a rather grim area that I thought could do with some cheer­ing up.

She flow­ered up there briefly last sum­mer, but I missed the blooms as I was over­seas at the time. When I ar­rived back, all that re­mained were some dropped petals scat­tered at her feet.

Then we started build­ing the hen house next to the shed and it be­came ap­par­ent that Hay­ley would have to find a new home, as she was in the spot where the nests were des­tined to be.

So I cleared a patch in the flower gar­den, which un­til then had been over­taken by easy-care daisies and gera­ni­ums.

Well, Hay­ley loved this spot and set about pro­duc­ing the most per­fect roses. The buds start out as apri­cot tinged with crim­son on the edge of the petals, then when the rose opens it is ab­so­lutely huge and frilly and slowly changes to a del­i­cate pink. But the best bit is the smell; it is be­yond heav­enly – it is just, well, di­vine. For the past few weeks I have had a Hay­ley rose in a vase by my bed and am im­mersed in a cloud of scent from dusk un­til dawn. I will of­ten stir in the night, have a sniff and col­lapse back into a deep, happy ro­se­im­bued sleep.

It prompted me to buy an­other Hay­ley Westenra. Then I bought a climb­ing Old Blush, and this has to­tally cov­ered our guest cot­tage, which also has two car­pet roses. I now just need some­one to paint me a Miss Marple type of sign say­ing “Rose Cot­tage”.

I’ve also re­turned to the flower gar­den full of daisies and gera­ni­ums and cut ev­ery­thing back to make room for an­other 10 roses. Don’t ask me what they are called, as the names meant noth­ing. I was only in­ter­ested in two things: colour and scent. I have deep reds, del­i­cate apri­cots, a lovely lilac, some whites (one with a pink cen­tre) and a few pinks. I went for a va­ri­ety of colours but the one thing they all had to have was the words “strong fra­grance” on the la­bel. I don’t see the point of hav­ing a rose in the gar­den un­less you can smell it too.

Any­one who knows me well is aware that if there’s a per­fume for sale with rose on the la­bel, it is mine. I spend far too much money on the very ex­pen­sive rose damask es­sen­tial oil to drip into my bath and I make my own laun­dry pow­der, scented – you guessed it – with rose.

Prior to this ob­ses­sion, the only in­ter­est I had taken in roses was a poem, The Sick Rose by Wil­liam Blake, which was in a col­lec­tion of poems I was given at my high-school prize­giv­ing. I re­mem­ber this be­cause it was the only prize I ever got, rather gen­er­ously given by my English teacher, Miss Hall, who had some­how found room in her list for my “highly com­mended”. It was a prize which I did not re­ally de­serve, as I was not a ded­i­cated stu­dent by any means.

My nana grew a won­der­ful climb­ing rose, which I’m pretty sure was an Old Blush like mine. I have a gor­geous pic­ture of her in the door­way of her cot­tage, sur­rounded by masses of rose blooms. So I sup­pose my Rose Cot­tage was in­spired by her.

As I write this, I have just come in from the bur­geon­ing rose gar­den, hav­ing de­cided that in the win­ter out will come the daisies and gera­ni­ums and in will go an­other 10 roses… per­haps even a cou­ple more Hay­leys.

I am im­mersed in a cloud of rose scent from dusk un­til dawn...

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