Roses to bring Magic to Memorial Garden

An exquisite rose at Rustons Roses, Renmark

It’s Thursday, July 19 and I am about to begin colouring in my garden. I have donned by new gardening gloves and am busy working in my fledgling hillside garden with a good friend, who has brought a box full of seaside daisies, which we hope will cover the bare ground up here.

The hillside is the burial ground of at least a dozen bougainvillea, all of which have died in just a few months.  So, it is time to forget about exotic, expensive species and seek more humble plantings.

Hence, the seaside daisy, reputed to spread like wildfire in any environment where there is water. The plantings are significant because they represent the beginning of my memorial garden to Olivier, which in time, will cover our garden plot with a sea of colour.


Friday, July 20: After our humble beginnings yesterday, today we will unpack the dozen bare rooted roses which were delivered to the door by Australia Post on Monday from Ross Roses.  I wrote a month ago about how I chose them by their name because, collectively they reflect our married life. Naturally, I am keen to ensure that they do not die like the bougainvillea and have engaged the help of another friend, who can dig  square holes the depth of a spade.    This task is beyond me following a road accident years ago which impaired my vestibular system and balance.

In my other Belair home on Sheoak Road, I had a beautiful rose garden which flourished during the 16 years we lived there.  It was almost as sad to leave my 50 rose bushes as it was to leave the beautiful dark red brick home with its stunning views.

Interestingly, our garden designer, Diana McGregor is not a rose lover and the initial plan left space for only five standard roses. However, I have added borders of low miniature roses which eventually will edge over the brick pathways. My helping hand today also is not a lover of roses and tells me how he took all of his out of their inner suburban home.

So why do I love roses?  Why did I choose a row of “Seduction’’ standard roses in my former home which I sold to marry Olivier? There are many reasons, the most important being that  they bloom so beautifully for up to six months of the year.  What pleases me is that I can step into my own garden, cut blooms and form floral arrangements to beautify our home. They are beautiful both in the garden and within the home. Roses are remarkably hardy and within the context of the garden design with its focus on exotic and varied foliage and flowering shrubs, I expect the roses will add a spectacular display.

Visitors will walk under an archway draped with the popular French climbing rose “Pierre de Ronsard”, its large double blooms reflecting the “old world’ style of rose. Through the side gate, they will come upon “Amazing Grace’’, an Australian modern bush rose with large pure white crisp blooms, which flower well into autumn. Maureen Ross believes “Amazing Grace” is the best white rose introduced in Australia for decades. However, I chose it to remember – in Olivier’s memorial garden – that this was the theme I selected for his funeral service. Its long stems and delightful fragrance will ensure many floral arrangements in our home.

Roses add natural fragrance to the garden experience and along the pathway, I have  “French Lace”, renowned for its neat bush habit, decorative white buds and sweet scent.   On the other side of the pathway is the low bush rose “Dearest”, a 1960 rose of dainty vibrant pink blooms and also offering fragrance to the garden.

“La France” is also low and will sit amongst a cluster of carnations. It’s  a Hybrid Tea rose dating from 1869 and its creamy petals roll back as they unfold.

Outside my study another “Pierre de Ronsard” will adorn another archway and along the fence will be ’Wedding Day’’,  a Spring flowering rambler – a climber which has masses of small white fragrant flowers.

Roses do require pruning in Winter, but they return 10-fold come Spring and Summer with splashes of colour to please the senses.








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