Wandering around heritage rose gardens is an excellent way to appreciate not only the wide variety of roses, but also to learn about their history and development. Two wonderful examples are the Victorian State Rose Garden at Werribee Park, Victoria, and the relatively new Heritage Rose Garden at Saumarez Homestead, Armidale, in country New South Wales.
Victorian State Rose Garden
Werribee Park, K Road, Werribee, Victoria 3030
April to September 9.30am – 5pm; October to April 9.30am – 6.30pm weekdays; Open every day. Free.
This place is a must for anyone interested in roses, especially their history and development, as well as their huge diversity. Officially opened on the 9th November 1986, the 4.75 hectare garden contains more than 5 500 rose bushes. The initial design was based on a stylized traditional Tudor rose with 5 petals, each with 25 beds of modern roses: Hybrid Teas, Floribundas and 11 standard or pillar roses on tripods. Here is a map of the design from the official brochure. The outer edge of each petal is delineated by chain and wire festoons and swags of rambling and climbing roses, interspersed with 20 tall weeping standards. Separating each petal are 5 avenues of standard modern roses (Brass Band, Bridal Pink, La Sevillana (photo 2), Memoire and Perfume Perfection), each leading to an archway of climbing roses (Tradition, High Hopes, Golden Gate, Mme Alfred Carrière (photo 4) and Rusticana).From 1997 to 2000, a 450 m long, 3 m wide Heritage Rose border was added on two sides of the rose garden to show the origins of the modern rose. The photos below show in order: The Provence Rose (Centifolia), R. fedtschenkoana (Species) and Duchesse de Brabant (Tea Rose), also known as Countess Bertha. The heritage rose border has 500 plants of 250 different types of Old and Species roses and separates the Victorian State Rose Garden from the formal gardens of Werribee Park. The photos below show Geranium (Species: R. moyesii); and the China roses: Viridiflora and Slater’s Crimson China. The roses are generally planted in family groups, but the main emphasis is on visual appeal. While I cannot remember the names of the white roses in Box 1 below :
Box 2 includes Fortune’s Double Yellow (China Rose 1845: photos 1 and 4); and R. fedtschenkoana (Species Rose from Asia, 1876: Photo 2).
Box 3 features: The Provence Rose (Centifolia, Pre 1600s); Morletti (Boursault, 1883); Archiduc Joseph (Tea, 1872) and Nancy Hayward (Gigantea hybrid, Alister Clark, Australia, 1937).
The names of the roses, as well as their variety, breeder, country of origin and date of discovery or introduction, are engraved on bricks in the garden edging. The best time to appreciate these once-flowering roses in full bloom and scent is late October to mid November.The Federation Leaf, planted in November 2000 to commemorate the Centenary of Federation, has 56 beds (and 8 tripods) of 64 different Australian-bred cultivars, which were introduced in the last 100 years (1901 to 2001). The earliest Australian-bred rose in the collection is Penelope Tea, bred by John Williams, Queensland, 1906. Other breeders include: Eric Welsh and Frank Riethmuller of NSW; Fred Armbrust, John Williams and Eric Long of Qld; George Thomson in SA and R. Watson in Tasmania; Alister Clark, Ron Bell, Bill Allender, Jim Priestley, Ian Spriggs, Bruce Brundrett, George Dawson and Laurie Newman in Vic and Peter Gibson in WA. There is also a trial bed in Leaf B, where six lots of three cultivars are grown for a two-year trial period to assess their suitability to the Victorian climate.A David Austin Bud, added in 2001, has 267 roses of 58 cultivars of English Roses, bred by David Austin. The leaf and rosebud are connected to the Tudor rose beds by a stem, created by pathways. The viewing mounds are also a wonderful spot for children to roll down and the central gazebo a focal point for weddings. Victoria Gold, bred by Eric Walsh, Australia in 1999 to celebrate the centenary of the Victorian Rose Society, graces the gazebo, as well as featuring in the Federation Leaf.The garden received the International Garden of Excellence Award from the World Federation of Rose Societies in 2003, the first rose garden outside of Europe to receive this award and the only one at that time cared for by volunteers. Today, over 120 Victorian State Rose Garden Supporters prune, feed, spray, deadhead and weed the rose beds on a Wednesday and a Saturday and the grounds are managed by Parks Victoria. The recent State Rose and Garden Show, on the 19th and 20th November 2016, had 12 500 visitors over the two days. For more wonderful photos of this garden, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMzVuq1PR6M&feature=youtu.be.
For more about Werribee Park, see my post on Historic Homes and Gardens on: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/02/09/favourite-gardens-regularly-open-to-the-public-historic-homes-and-gardens.
Heritage Rose Garden
Saumarez Homestead, 230 Saumarez Rd. Armidale, NSW 2350 Ph: (02) 6772 3616
Open every day of the week, 10 am-5 pm, except Christmas Day and Good Friday .
Grounds only: Adult $7; Concessions $5 (Seniors and Student cards accepted); Children 5 to 12 years $5 (Under 5 years free); Family ticket $15 (2 Adults & 2 Children); National Trust Members Free Entry to Grounds
House tours Weekends and Public Holidays from early September to the middle of June at 10.30 am, 2 pm and 3.30 pm. (3.9.2016 – 12.6.2017). Closed mid June to the end of August.
House tour and grounds – Adult $12, Concession $8; Pre-booked tours & group house tours $8; School groups $6
Created over four years by volunteers from the Northern branch of the Australian Garden History Society (AGHS), after a generous donation of 850 Old Roses in 2011 by passionate rosarian, Miss Catherine Maclean (who grew over 1000 roses on her small city block in Armidale), Stage One of the Heritage Rose garden was officially opened on the 1st November 2015.It is situated on the old orchard site of Saumarez Homestead, on the outskirts of Armidale, right next to the Armidale Airport- in fact, the road to Saumarez is accessed from the airport. This photo below is of the original grand driveway. The homestead is a beautiful old Late Victorian-Edwardian house, built in 1888 and extended to a second storey in 1906. It was the original family home of the F.J.White Family and was donated to the National Trust in 1984. It is one of my favourite National Trust NSW country properties, with much of the original furniture and fittings, and if you are visiting the Heritage Rose Garden for the day, it is well worth taking a guided tour of the old house at the same time. We were fortunate to visit Saumarez many times during our Armidale years, as well as participating in a ‘Below the Stairs’ tour, experiencing the life of a servant and viewing areas, not often seen by the general public. There are many intact farm outbuildings, quintessential to an old working country property, to visit as well : workers’ cottages, an office, a store, a meat house, a slaughterhouse and boiling-down vat, a poultry yard, stables, a wagon shed and blacksmith’s shop, a hay shed and engine room, a bull stall, a milking shed and an ensilage pit! This is one of the old glasshouses:It is also well worth exploring the old garden (2 hectares; 4.4 acres), as seen in the map from the official brochure:
For more detailed information about the Saumarez Garden, see: https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/places/saumarez-homestead-gardens/. It has 9 distinct areas. I loved the aviary and glasshouses of the Front West section; the geometric parterre beds, so typical of the time period, and shrubbery of the Front East section; and the formal lawn and mature deciduous trees on the old tennis court of the Front South section. My favourite part of the original garden was Mary’s Garden, rescued from blackberry oblivion, and containing annuals and perennials, winding stone paths, an artificial stream and bridge and a delightfully quaint garden shed. I was introduced to the notion of a Picking Garden at Saumarez, inspiring my long-desired Cutting Garden. There is also a vegetable garden, a long avenue of mature pines, planted in 1898, and a service area for the clothes line, wood and tool sheds, meat room, dairy, outdoor toilet and even the old school room.Saumarez has a fascinating history and to my mind is the perfect setting for the new Heritage Rose Garden. Supported financially and physically by the National Trust, the Australian Garden History Society, the Armidale/ Dumaresq Council (mulching and watering) and many local organizations and individuals, it is the only public rose garden north of the Hunter Valley, in NSW, and will ultimately be part of a nationwide rose trail, starting in the South at Woolmers, Tasmania and including all the significant public rose gardens from Adelaide and Renmark to Melbourne (Werribee will definitely be on the trail!), Canberra, Sydney and Parramatta, Cessnock and Maitland (the Hunter Valley Garden at Pokolbin) and finally the Newtown State Rose Garden in Toowoomba, Queensland, in the north. I suspect we may have already visited a number of these gardens, which I will be writing about in my blog this year!But back to the Heritage Rose Garden! We visited Stage One of this new garden in Autumn 2016, so it was not the ideal time, except for rose hips like the rugosa hips (1st 2 photos above) and those of Bourbon rose Gypsy Boy (3rd photo), but we look forward to watching its progress and development and revisiting in peak old rose blooming time next November. The full collection, when completed, will include over 500 (some sources say 600, others 800!) roses from each of the major rose cultivar groups, the majority from before 1930 (mainly pre-1900!). Here are some photos of the garden from our Autumn visit. 44 rose beds are laid out in concentric circles. divided radially and concentrically by gravel paths, in the pattern of a Tudor English rose, designed by Ian Telford. Here is a map of the design from the official brochure : This garden has an different approach to the Victorian State Rose Garden for rose labelling and identification for the visitor, using a code method, which is quite ingenious, though it does rely on your possession of the Garden Plant and Rose Finder brochure, which is given to you on payment of the entry fee. The garden is divided into quadrants A B C and D, with each rose bed allocated a code, indicating its quadrant and bed number, as well as each rose having its own individual code, name and year. For example, B6-2 is Rose Number 2 in Bed Number 6 in Quadrant B, so it is Madame Louis Lévêque, 1898. Alfred de Dalmas, 1855, is coded B6-10. ie: Rose Number 10 in the same Moss bed. Rose numbers are allocated left to right, starting on the internal edge of the bed, facing the central timber structure and continuing anti-clockwise around each bed. Roses in the middle of large beds have an extra M in their code. The code ‘tbi’ means ‘to be identified’.Stage Two of the rose garden will be adjacent to the Formal Garden of Saumarez and will contain a series of beds relating the history of the rose, as well as featuring the rose progeny of prominent Australian rose breeders, including Alister Clark (1864-1949), Frank Reithmuller (1884-1964) and Olive Fitzhardinge (1881-1926). It will also include beds of Hybrid Musks, bred by Joseph Pemberton (1852-1926), because of their enduring popularity. Here are some more photos: We popped in for a second visit last week to see the garden in high Summer this year and were happy to see more roses in bloom, especially the Teas, Hybrid Teas and Hybrid Musks.The photo below is the Hybrid Musk bed, dominated by the hot pink blooms of Vanity 1920.Some of the roses in bloom included in order: Duke of York (China rose; 1894); Stanwell Perpetual (Scots rose bed; 1838); Baronne Prévost (Hybrid Perpetual; 1842); Schoener’s Nutkana (Species Rose; 1930); Irish Elegance (Hybrid Tea; 1905); and Gruss an Aachen (Floribunda; 1909) in the Floribunda Bed with Lamarque (photo 7) and Crépuscule (photo 8) on the arch at the back of the bed.For more information about the development of this garden, see:http://newengland.focusmag.com.au/heritage-rose-gardens/.
Their blog is: http://saumarezheritagerosegarden.blogspot.com.au/ and their Facebook site is : https://www.facebook.com/Heritage-Rose-Garden-at-Saumarez-889531854478905/. Next month, we will be exploring the public rose gardens of South Australia: the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden and the Adelaide Botanic Garden!