Hellooo, happy Monday and I’m here today, woman with roses in her ears to tell you how to grow English roses in Australia or in a climate where people tell you that you can’t, it worked for me, I’m growing roses for Australia peeps.
OK, so maybe this post won’t give you a head start on growing roses anywhere in the whole universe but if you are in Sydney Australia or in a climate where one is told one will never succeed in growing roses I am here to prove them oh so very wrong. I have ten English roses growing in this little Australian cottage and counting. Bring that right on.
When we first moved in to this cottage the garden was grim, diabolical in fact, not that the house was nay better, horrid overgrown green stuff also known as grass but more like weeds with a few blades in it, no shrubs bar one beautiful and lonely camelia, a huge and I mean mahusive beautiful old Moreton Bay fig tree, an even lonelier and very old orange tree and a pink frangipani and that was about it…luckily these few things were there and I believe, having got to know it, that someone at some stage in the life of this old cottage did love and plan the garden, it’s just that the next inhabitants neglected it for 50 odd years.
Soooooo fast forward to a couple of years ago when things were much better out there, but I was feeling the pains of not having flowers in abundance to go out and cut and bring in, there is something wonderful about doing that.
I was also very disappointed in the lack of roses here in Australia – the ones for sale at florists and markets around here are not what I would call a rose, more like those roses that jump at you from every petrol station on Valentine’s Day, you know the ones I mean, kinda not even right to call them roses and certainly without scent…I wanted beautifully coloured soft white peachy and pink roses, with bundles of layered petals, with huge floppy papery heads and with scent in abundance so you could pop your nose in and inhale.
So I decided I would take the bull by the horns and grown my own, I spoke to my very old neighbour with a very blossoming beautiful garden who had lived here since the early days and well into her eighties, she poo-pooed me and my silly English roses thoughts and told me she had never seen a rose growing in these parts. I swiftly ignored her advice and took myself off and bought 3 bare roots…that was my first mistake…I then planted them in a part-shade bed in very barren sandy soil and hoped for the best….it was not good…she was right…but there was a tiny bit of hope and of the three plants in nearly 2 years I think I had about 3 blooms, they were white blooms but still.
Then one day I was reading an English magazine and it seemed the whole thing was about roses, delightful heady old tea roses and I nearly vomited in pleasure. It was then I decided I would take the challenge and get a rose growing in Australia if it was the last thing I did.
And what ensued was lot and lots of looking up, finding out, preparing soil, digging holes, ordering plants, talking to rose people and saying prayers to the Gods of Roses. Apparently they listened because rose-less woman on the beaches is now positively surrounded by the things.
How to Grow English Roses in Australia
7 Tips to Growing Roses
1 Reseach Research Research
I did a lot of research into growing roses in the area I live in, I found forums on-line and read other people’s experiences, I read articles on growing roses in Australia and I stalked websites specialising in roses to find out how to do it.
2 Phone a Friend
OK the best thing I did was phone someone who knows roses and in the area I live in, working in the same climate, duh, pretty old fashioned right, to pick up the phone, but it was the best thing I ever did, turns out my roses were in totally the wrong place no wonder they weren’t growing. Guess what people who own specialist flower nurseries tend to know a heap about growing flowers. Funny that. So I phoned up and spoke to a real human being and a lot of my questions were answered in a few minutes.
3 Prepare your soil.
Boring but true.
Before the holes for the actual rose bushes were prepared I got decent soil going by mixing in lots of manure and all sorts of goodies into my soil, I also had some top quality soil delivered from a garden centre – most of the soil in this garden is sandy and water runs off it, not good in this climate when things need water.
4 Buy Ready to Plant Bushes
I have had success with these bushes because they were easy and ready to go in the ground and apart from the fact that they did what they said they would do, as in they grew beautifully full, heavily scented English roses, they also looked healthy and bush-like from the word go, whereas the bare rooted roses I have previously planted looked, well, ummm, sad and lonely (and totally stayed that way lol).
5 Prepare the hole and bush
I used well rotted manure in the soil before I planted the bushes. I followed the advice I had seen and gave the bushes enough space to spread their roots and I made sure the plants were well watered before putting them in their new homes.
6 Watch and Water
My roses went into sunny and warm positions, in fact a couple of them (which also happen to be doing the best much to my surprise) went into what I would call hot positions (ie in Australia facing North and getting sun all day long)…I was advised that lots of sun would work but I was worried with the sandy soil where we live and the coastal breeze (not sure what that has got to do with it but something I think) that the roses would get thirsty….so I gave them deep deep watering twice to three times a week while they were establishing…and I am still deep watering, a bit less now but I am convinced this is the answer to my rose success (that’s not to say yours will be the same), I have seen again and again that lots of flowers and good roses comes from keeping them well watered, which can be a challenge in this climate.
7. Pray to the roses gods and feed.
I have been feeding my roses with a rose food, easy and simple to do and it seems like it’s working.
That’s it from me! How about that then lovelies, oh yeah baby I am hoping for virtual rounds of applause from all over this lovely planet for my efforts for growing roses on the beaches of Sydney Australia.
I’ll be off
p.s. there has been much talk of husbands digging new beds for wives to fill with more roses, ain’t no stopping us now we’re on the move ;-)