The Winter Garden

Winter is finally coming to a close! The first two months (June/ July) were very cold, with heavy frosts, which were much worse than last year, damaging all the fresh new growth on the citrus trees (first photo) and almost completely destroying our beautiful native frangipanis, which had been doing so well (second photo). Hopefully, they will recover this Spring!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.51.56BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-23 11.01.35Most of the salvias in the Moon Bed, a large area of agapanthus slope (1st photo) and the giant bamboo and the pots of succulents, daisies and aloe vera were also hit, and even the pink rock orchid (2nd photo) and the elkhorn (3rd photo), both of which should have been safe in their relatively protected positions! Luckily, they are both tough and show signs of recovery.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-23 10.56.32BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-23 14.42.40BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.54.51Heavy frost certainly sorts out your plant selection! Only the tough survive!!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-27 10.52.38BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-28 10.43.18Winter frosts also mean blue and gold sunny days and cold Winter nights and while the Winter Garden takes a holiday from blooming, we still did plenty of work in the garden, preparing for the new season, as well as exploring the local area and enjoying the Winter fires (both in the house and a friend’s bonfire night) and indoor activities.

I will start this post with an overall review of the garden in each month, followed by a recap of our garden jobs; creative pursuits and exploratory days out.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-28 10.53.21BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0253June saw the end of the Autumn foliage (1st photo above of the Japanese Maple), a bounty of ivy berries for the bowerbirds (2nd photo above) and the last of the late roses. The photos below are, in order: Stanwell Perpetual; and David Austin roses, Heritage and LD Braithwaite.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-28 10.45.22BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-28 10.46.56BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-28 10.46.36from which I made my birthday bouquet below: David Austin Roses: Heritage; Eglantyne; Fair Bianca; and William Morris; Feverfew; purple and white Dames’ Rocket; violets; Ziva Paperwhites and Buddleja foliage.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-30 13.04.00BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-14 13.29.16BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-06 13.49.24 From then on, it was vases of violets and Winter bulbs: Galanthus; Erlicheer and Ziva Paperwhites, all of which are flourishing in their new positions and naturalising well.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.44.24BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0215BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-20 11.51.42BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0177BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-20 14.56.25 Other June bloomers included: Primulas and Primroses; BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 11.51.28BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.44.01Winter Honeysuckle and Winter Jasmine;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-20 16.11.03BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 17.39.25 and Japanese Anemones and Wallflowers. Lots of  whites; purples; lemons and yellows, with sharp sweet clean scents! The bees just adore the wallflowers!BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0179BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-27 13.22.48BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-11 14.43.38There were also the richer colours of gold and red in the Hill Banksia and the Grevillea. BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-07 13.46.16BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0192 The first crop of our citrus was also very encouraging, though I should have harvested the limes and lemonades earlier before the frost damaged them! Seen below are photos of our lime tree; lemon crop (cumquats in background) and lemonade tree.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-05 14.56.44BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-05 14.58.27BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0307BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0153 I was very impressed with the sweetness of our first and only Navel Orange!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-06 12.34.34In July, I was also very excited to see the emergence of our first Winter Aconite, which I had bought at great expense from Moidart Rare Plants last Spring, planted in the Treasure Bed and then waited for signs of life for months, resigning myself to the thought of having totally lost it! Now, it needs to multiply, then I will try naturalising it in the bird bath lawn with the Galanthus, which enjoys similar requirements.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-03 16.17.01BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-08 14.18.30By late July, the leucojums (photo above) and hellebores had joined in. The first photo below is the corner of my neighbour’s garden by our shed. I can’t wait till our hellebores spread like that!!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 17.32.16BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 11.35.04 While I love the single form of Helleborus orientalis (above), I’m rather partial to the double forms: Purple, White and Red;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.46.25BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 17.25.46BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-27 13.01.51BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 17.26.11 as well as the rarer species hellebores: Helleborus x ballardiae ‘Pink Frost’.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 14.58.49The japonicas, daphne and camellias also really picked up their game in early August, having been a bit shy to shine this year!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-03 11.53.57BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-03 11.51.00 I felt they bloomed much earlier last year with its milder Winter. The first photo below is the view from our bedroom window!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-20 17.21.20BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-28 12.22.48BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-26 10.23.23BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 17.54.20BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-04 16.19.28I was delighted to have more flowers for the house.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-24 16.24.41BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-24 16.25.14While June and July can sometimes feel a bit long, I love the quickening pace of August with its increasing day length, resulting in miniscule changes in the garden, which gives such a sense of hope, anticipation and excitement: The tiny leaf buds swelling on the  trees (photo is the quince tree), shrubs and roses;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.53.12 The shooting of tulips and iris in the cutting garden, naturalised bluebells, crocus and Poets’ daffodils in the lawn and hyacinth and grape hyacinth in the treasure bed;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.43.48 and the celebratory blooming of miniature Tête à Tête daffodils and golden Winter Sun;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-23 19.21.12BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-20 11.48.16BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-24 16.39.37BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-20 11.56.09BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-22 14.46.57 Magnificent golden Wattle;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 13.31.09BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 13.31.15 Early Spring blossoms: Crab Apple; Plum and Birch;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-27 10.55.37BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-27 10.55.07BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-24 09.31.42 And the blooms of forget-me-knots, golden-centred white paper daisies and begonias.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 11.42.00BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-23 19.21.45BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-20 12.02.09The birds are also revelling in the return of Spring!BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0243BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 16.03.40BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-14 11.27.57BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-14 11.29.22 While the Winter trees were full of Currawongs, Crimson Rosella and Grey Butcher Birds (photos above in order), the tiny Striated Pardalotes have returned to the Pepperina tree, where their beautiful song marks the return of Spring.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 14.42.08BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 15.18.05BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 13.11.38Eastern Spinebills and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters are also enjoying the August sun.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-20 13.54.15BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 14.57.55The Bowerbirds have been feasting in great numbers on the new loquat crop, stealing a march on the Summer flying foxes!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 17.06.59BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 17.09.28They also enjoy a swim in the bird bath, when not picking off my erlicheer blooms!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 15.59.05BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 15.59.23

BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.47.19The magpies have been busy building their nest high in the Pepperina tree since late July. Can you see it up there?BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-07-30 15.06.56BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-28 12.07.26BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 11.37.45BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-27 10.57.23 Despite their vicious swooping assaults on any large bird foolish enough to come anywhere near their territory, they are incredible quiet with us, often waiting patiently within a metre of us while weeding for an easy meal.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-24 13.15.57BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-24 13.13.06I was very excited with the return of last year’s baby White-faced Herons, to check out the old family home in the cottonwood poplar. BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-09 10.25.02We are crossing our fingers that they will nest there again, despite the magpies’ plans to the contrary! They seem to think that they own all the trees in the garden – in fact, quite possibly our house as well, though Oliver (2nd and 3rd photo below) might have something to say about that!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-24 18.11.14BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-23 09.50.49BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-23 09.53.30 The nurturing aspects and bird-viewing potential of our neighbour’s giant tree makes up for its vigorous, and dishearteningly constant, propensity to shoot out roots deep into the soil under our vegetable beds! Raised vegetable beds are definitely part of our future garden plans!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-07 09.25.08BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-07 09.25.12Winter is a great time to clean up the old garden and prepare for the new season! Weeding has been a major job: the aforementioned battle between the cottonwood poplar and our vegetable garden; the Cutting Garden ( 1st photo); the Soho Bed (2nd photo) and Moon Bed; and the new Shed Garden.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.51.35BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-24 12.25.49We pruned all the old messy and dead growth: the feverfew and dames’ rocket in the Cutting Garden and the salvias and Paris daisy in the Moon Bed; the hydrangeas in late June and all the roses in late July; BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-27 14.54.15and lastly, all the old dead wood of the feral and incredibly prickly Duranta, creating a new semi-shady area to grow a white shrub bed, as well as lots of work, cleaning away all the lethal spiky offcuts! We transplanted the Viburnum mariesii plicatum, which was struggling in its old position in full shade; the white lilac, which really was out of place and would have eventually been too large for its location, and four Annabel hydrangea rooted cuttings from my sister’s garden at Glenrock.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 17.24.49BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.54.01 The neighbour’s cats were fascinated by this brand new garden, but I’m not sure how their feet fared! The tubs were protecting my Galanthus from being demolished by trampling feet as well!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-07 12.47.03We also transplanted the pomegranate and red azalea from the bottom of the garden to the entrance of the main pergola and the red border of the native garden respectively to make room for a future garden shed, which will hopefully be built in the next few months.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 17.24.06Winter is a great time for garden planning and reorganization, as well as for building structures!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-11 18.02.49BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-11 14.46.06 Ross has built a fantastic rose frame, using steel posts and weld mesh from old gates, against the old shed wall to support and effectively control our Albertine ramblers, which would otherwise take over the camping flat completely!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-11 18.00.22 I can’t wait to see the future wall of salmon pink roses!blogspeciesrosesreszd20%2016-11-16-09-47-07We dug up the area underneath for a mixed dahlia bed, the plants hiding the bare legs of the climbing roses and blooms taking up the baton after the Albertine has finished. BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-20 14.59.06 This decision has also freed up the old dahlia bed for a future Brassica crop, though we have reserved the front third for Iceland poppies!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-21 13.34.29We also finally put up the weld mesh on the top of the Main Pergola to support this year’s Summer growth of the climbing roses!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-27 15.25.57Ross is getting very organized in the vegie garden! He has defined the edges of the vegetable and cutting garden beds with old weatherboards;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-06 14.12.02BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-04 16.33.09 Confined all the raspberry plants to their own bed near the compost heap; planted two more blueberries, all in different stages (leaf bud; flowers; and Autumn foliage!);BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-06 14.40.12 Transplanted the rhubarb, asparagus and Russian tarragon to the new perennial vegetable garden (the northeast bed, which grew tomatoes and raspberries last year) and the snow peas to the corner of the compost heap, allowing some to stay and climb up the raspberries; pruned the old raspberry canes, transplanting the new Heritage runners to their own run and extending the old run with the Chilcotin and Chilliwack varieties;  and sown Calendula seed at the front of the bed.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-21 13.58.28BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-21 13.50.07 In the remaining space of the perennial bed, he will plant pumpkins and zucchinis, letting them rambler down the bottom corner. He will then rotate between the two old main beds, which will grow potatoes (with later cucumbers) and beans, carrots, beetroot, with the current parsley and rocket in one bed; and kale, silverbeet, shallots, snow peas and lettuce and the two new ex-cutting garden beds, which will house early Spring brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprouts), and solanums (tomatoes, capsicum and aubergines) this year, though he has promised to allow any self-sown sunflowers or zinnias from the old beds to co-exist. Here are photos of our Winter vegie bed, with kale; ornamental chard; snow peas; broccoli; Spring onions and carrot seedlings just up!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.51.02BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.50.51Meanwhile, I have been busy with the flower beds! I have transplanted overcrowded self-seeded rose campion and catmint to their new positions in the Moon and Soho Beds; planted gold and soft purple Bearded Iris to the back of the shed beds;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.53.39 and created a complete silver ring of Lambs’ Ear to define the border of the Soho Bed. Stachys lanata is so tough, it didn’t even miss a beat on division and transplantation and, once established, will certainly make it difficult for any external invasion of weeds and grass! I love the downy soft feel of its foliage!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-06 14.12.20 We planted our new roses from Thomas Roses in the Shed Bed (Mme Hardy; York and Lancaster; Rosa Mundi and Chapeau de Napoleon); on the flat (Maigold) and on the Main Pergola (Souvenir de St Anne).BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-06 16.27.24BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-06 17.07.37 Ross also dug up an area on the terrace under the Pepperina tree and divided the old clivia clumps, so we can enjoy a swathe of orange in Summer.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-08 14.28.27This month, we have started sowing seed  in punnets under a plastic poly-tunnel on the warm path for plants to be later transplanted after the frosts: Heartsease (already up) and Scabiosa; Aquilegia and Honesty; Green Nicotiana and Gaillardia, which has already emerged at two weeks; Yarrow and Echinaceae; and Sea Holly and Green Wizard Coneflower, though we should have read the fine print on the latter, as we later discovered that  they need a constant 20 degrees Celsius to allow them to germinate! In lieu of an incubator tray, we have been carting them in and out of the house each day!!!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-03 12.54.44BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.56.01We have also sown seed directly in the garden: Nigella, Miss Jekyll Blue, and pink oriental poppies, Princess Victoria Louise,  in the Soho and Moon Beds (photo below); Cerinthe major and burgundy-blue-and white mixed cornflowers (‘Fireworks’) in the shed garden; and Iceland poppies in the cutting garden (and third of the potato bed, as they are one if Ross’s favourite flowers!!!) You can see why I can’t wait for Spring!!!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-04 15.19.03The Winter kitchen has also been a hive of activity with a first batch of lime cordial, made from our very own limes;BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0183 28 jars of cumquat marmalade from 6.6 kg fruit, with still more setting and ripening on the trees!;BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0298BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0302 and making lemon cupcakes for a birthday, as well as lots of warming Winter soups!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-01 11.24.25BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-01 11.25.22On the colder, greyer days, I have enjoyed embroidering diatoms on a felt;BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0091 discovered the joys of making cords using a Kumihimo disc;BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0092BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0094 learnt to crochet a flower chain;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-16 12.24.22 and made another embroidery roll for a friend.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 16.00.45BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 15.46.43The majority of the days have had blue-and-gold days, as in sunny blue skies, perfect for exploring our beautiful local area:

Haycocks Point;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-01 14.21.09BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-01 15.19.08Canoeing on the Murrah River to the Murrah Lagoon and the sea, where architect, Philip Cox,  built his holiday home;BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0335BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0398BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0551BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0549BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0578Exploring Bombala and Delegate, platypus country and part of the ancient aboriginal pathway, the Bundian Way;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-04 13.13.41BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-04 12.56.29BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-04 15.11.21BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-04 15.40.14Visiting On the Perch, Tathra, with its amazing range of birds, organized into their different environments, including this Emerald Dove and Maud, the Tawny Frogmouth; Zoe loved feeding all the birds!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-13 13.54.16BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-13 14.56.17BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-13 14.18.27Hiking from Bittangabee Bay to Hegarty’s Bay, part of the Light to Light Walk from Boyds Tower to Green Cape Lighthouse in the Ben Boyd National Park;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-17 16.17.16BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-17 14.07.28BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-17 13.56.53BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-17 13.57.50BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-17 12.57.17BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-17 17.23.34Discovering Penders, the property owned by businessman Ken Myers and architect Sir Roy Grounds, which was donated to National Parks in 1976 and is now part of Mimosa Rocks National Park, with its amazing views from the Bum Seat, photographed below, of Bithry Inley and the sea;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 16.13.13 BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 13.18.48and fascinating history and built environment, including Roy Ground’s tepeelike outdoor eating area, The Barn, and his geodesic dome structure;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 13.34.56BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 13.22.50BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 17.12.51BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 13.17.45 the magnificent Spotted Gum and Macrozamia forests and old orchard, with huge old camellia trees in full bloom;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 15.30.23BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 15.47.10 as well as the beautiful coastal walk to Middle Beach, with golden banksias against the blue blue sea and our first ‘echidna train’.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 14.44.25BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 14.55.32BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 13.43.08 Apparently, during the mating season in July and August, one female will be followed by two to ten males, until she tires and the first in line gets lucky! According to the ranger on the track, echidnas are also very active just before rain and sure enough, three days later, it did rain! This quiet Swamp Wallaby kept us company over our picnic lunch.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 14.20.04BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 16.30.37Other Winter highlights included my birthday (What a cake!!! Thank you, Chris!);BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-30 19.28.44BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-30 19.29.08 and a visit to Canberra for an interesting woodcut exhibition at the National Library of Australia, ‘Melodrama in Meiji Japan’ (see: https://www.nla.gov.au/meiji). We also popped into our favourite nursery, where we bought some tuberoses to plant in September after the frost. I just adore their scent, but will have to plant them away from the frost!BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-12 13.52.04We finished the Winter with a local orchid show at Merimbula with some stunning plants and an incredible range of form and colour.BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-19 12.45.09BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-19 12.38.53BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-19 12.40.40BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-19 12.42.42BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-19 12.41.33BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-19 12.40.26Next week, I am returning to one of my favourite rose types, the Noisettes. I will leave you with a Winter miracle, the humble spider’s web!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-06 13.49.57

The Autumn Garden

It has been a beautiful Autumn with good rain early in March; a superb display of colour with the deciduous foliage from April to late May and long-lasting zinnias, dahlias and salvias, as well as a repeat-flush of roses; and lots of gardening activities, creative pursuits and local exploratory trips!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-17 11.35.40BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 11.44.40BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 14.34.52BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1019BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-28 11.58.13BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-10 12.50.42BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.07.56BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.07.30Autumn vies with Spring in my affections. The weather is much more stable, though is tempered by the knowledge of the impending Winter, only to be assuaged by the parade of brilliant deciduous colour, as each tree prepares for its Winter dormancy.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.07.28BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.08.01BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.07.51BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 10.01.18BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 11.52.44BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 11.59.43BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-20 16.12.47 The verandah is such a vantage point, the backdrop changing daily.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-30 17.16.16BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-14 10.23.52BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-14 10.37.55BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-26 18.02.13BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-19 09.47.55BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.07.44BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-15 10.25.17BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-30 18.59.23The zinnias and dahlias lasted well into late May, having been touched up by a few early frosts, and Ross has finally put them to bed with a good layer of protective mulch.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0199BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-03 11.06.50BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 18.53.29BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-25 11.50.02The roses have taken centre stage again with a wonderful Autumn flush. These photos were all taken this Autumn. I have organised them into their separate beds:

Soho Bed:

Top Row: Left to Right: Just Joey; Fair Bianca; LD Braithwaite and Alnwyck.

Bottom Row: Left to Right: The Childrens’ Rose; Mr Lincoln; Eglantyne and Icegirl.

Moon Bed

Top Row: Left to Right: Golden Celebration; Heritage; Windermere; William Morris

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Lucetta; Jude the Obscure; William Morris; and Troilus

Main Pergola

Top Row: Left to Right: Mme Alfred Carrière and Adam

Bottom Row: Left to Right: an older Adam bloom and Souvenir de la Malmaison

Hybrid Musk Hedge : Left-hand side : White Roses

Top Row: Left to Right: Autumn Delight and Penelope

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Penelope and Tea rose Sombreuil on arch.

Right-hand Side: Pink Roses

Left to Right: Cornelia on arch; Stanwell Perpetual and Mutabilis

Rugosa Hedge

Left to Right: Fru Dagmar Hastrup and Mme Georges Bruant

House

Left to Right: Cécile Brünner first two roses and Mrs Herbert Stevens

Shed

Top Row: Left to Right: Viridiflora and Archiduc Joseph

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Archiduc Joseph and Countess Bertha

I have organised the rest of the garden blooms by colour:

Blue :

Top Row: Left to Right: Wild Petunia, Ruellia humilis; Violet; Pasque Flower, Pulsatilla;

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Poor Man’s Lavender Plectranthus neochilus; Plumbago; and Hydrangea

Green :

Top Row: Left to Right: Tree Dahlia buds and Elkhorn Fern

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Rosebud Salvia new bud and Bells of Ireland, Molucella

Orange, Gold and Yellow :

Top Row: Left to Right: Paris Daisy with Salvia, Indigo Spires; Woodbine; and Paris Daisy

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Hill Banksia, Banksia collina; slightly older bud of Rosebud Salvia; and Orange Canna Lily

Pink :

Top Row: Left to Right: Fuchsia; Salvia; Christmas Pride, Ruellia macrantha;

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Rosebud Salvia, Salvia involucrata; Christmas Pride; Pink ‘Doris’

Red :

Top Row: Left to Right: Grevilleas Lady O and Fireworks; and Salvia ‘Lipstick’

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Grevillea Lady O; Echeveria and Azalea Dogwood Red

Purple :

Top Row: Left to Right: Mexican Heather, Cuphea hyssopifolia; Cigar Flower, Cuphea ignea

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Dames’ Rocket, Hesperis matronalis, and Violet

White :

Top Row: Left to Right: Nerines; Honeysuckle; Strawberry flowers and first of the Paper White Ziva jonquils for the season!

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Autumn Crocus; Windflower; Tea, Camellia sinensis; and Viburnum opulus – an out-of-season bloom.

We have been very busy and productive in the garden, gradually crossing jobs off the list! Weeding is a constant in the Soho and Moon Beds, as well as around the feet of all the shrub roses and bulb patches.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 13.25.16 We have just dug up either side of the shed garden path, so the shed roses are now in garden beds and we planted out many of the potted cuttings, which we took from my sister’s garden at Glenrock. All are doing well!BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1186BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1237We also made two arches out of old gate weld mesh, one leading into the future chook yard and supporting Cornelia (photo 2) and Sombreuil (photo 3);BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 18.04.14BlogHybridMusksReszd2016-11-10 09.19.26BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0877 and the other on the corner of the shed, with Reve d’Or (photo 3) and Alister Stella Grey (photo 4) either side.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-15 15.33.44BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-15 10.27.37BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 18.58.37BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.13.31 Ross defined the edges of the vegetable beds with old recycled fence palings and planted out young vegetable seedlings, which he then mulched. We are really enjoying their Winter crop in our salads at lunchtime.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0277BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0274From front to back in the photos below: red and green mignonette lettuce; spring onions; broccoli; spinach; cos lettuce and kale. BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 19.07.15BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-24 19.24.20 We harvested the pumpkins, which again engulfed the compost heap, zinnia bed and maple tree, as well as the last of the tomatoes, making 3 bottles of green tomato chutney.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-03 13.43.42BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-05 11.44.26 We also have plenty of late Autumn fruit, now that the bats have gone, though I suspect our citrus is fairly safe anyway!  Unfortunately, the figs did not ripen in time, but the Golden Hornet crabapples have lasted well on the tree.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0879BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.15.23 All the new citrus are growing madly  and bearing fruit – the lime (photo 1) has a particularly fine crop and the lemonade (photo 2) is also bearing well.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-15 18.09.05BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 10.33.13 The cumquats have been an absolute picture, both in full blossom and fruit.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0773BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0774BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0778BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.12.41We picked 6 Kg of fruit to make into cumquat marmalade and there was still fruit left!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 18.28.35BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 18.28.27BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 18.46.41BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 18.46.48The loquat trees were in full bloom for weeks,BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1241 attracting huge noisy parties of rainbow lorikeets,BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 10.54.27BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-28 14.30.57 which then went on to eat the Duranta berries, along with the Crimson RosellasBlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.33.53BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.34.29 and huge flocks of King Parrots.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 10.57.37BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.33.04BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.30.07BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.28.57BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 11.01.50BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 10.59.33 Up until early May, we had even larger flocks of screeching Little Corellas in the thousands, gathering in the trees, recently vacated by the bats,BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0518BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0642 then flying off en masse right on dark to their roosting trees to the north,BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 08.51.21-2BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-03 19.44.23BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-30 19.54.50BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1253 occasionally accompanied by the odd Galah!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-30 18.46.46BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0807 We have enjoyed flyovers by the local Gang-Gangs (photos below) and Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos. We even had a rare flypass by a Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo, en route to the local mountain forests. BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 19.08.34BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.20.25Other exciting glimpses included three Dollar Birds (photos 1 and 2) and a Figbird (photo 3), both Summer migrants, normally found further north.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0116BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0090BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.16.41 Other larger birds in our garden at the moment include very quiet Australian Magpies (photo 6), a pair of courting Australian Ravens (photo 2), a Grey Butcherbird (photo 3), Pied Currawongs (photo 5), Spotted Turtle Doves (photo 4) and our Blackbirds (photo 1), which have been on holiday and have just returned.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 11.40.23BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-04 14.53.01BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-23 12.07.56BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-13 17.29.54BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-14 14.37.25BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 17.46.44 And our littlies: the Eastern Spinebills (photos 1 and 2), Silvereyes (photo 3) and Double-barred Finches (photo 4).BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-23 11.54.46BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 14.54.51BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0707BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0319 all of whom do a stirling job keeping the bugs in check.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-03 13.48.38BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 13.07.27BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 13.30.41BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-06 12.11.05We found this delightful Grey Fantail nest in our old camellia tree at the front door.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 14.54.13The slightly cooler weather has been wonderful for pursuing creative tasks from cooking to sewing, embroidery and paper crafts. I made my son a delicious carrot cake, using a recipe from https://chefkresorecipes.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/carrot-cake/ for his birthday:BlogAutumngardenReszd7517-04-25 17.56.10BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-25 15.00.36 and hot cross buns for Easter Friday, using a recipe from https://bitesizebakehouse.com/2017/04/08/cranberry-hot-cross-buns-2/ , with a fun Easter Egg hunt in the garden with friends on the Sunday.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-12 13.33.28BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 12.09.54 My friend Heather, who visited us during the Candelo Arts Festival and is the Melbourne agent for Saori (http://artweaverstudio.com.au/), gave us a Saori weaving workshop and we were thrilled with our woven runners.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-22 14.27.11BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-22 15.36.30BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-22 16.16.34BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-24 10.56.10 I gave my friends Rae, Brooklin and Kirsten, a hand embroidery lesson, inspiring Rae’s wonderful exhibit. I was so impressed!BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0441BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-04-24 16.19.41BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-04-24 16.23.44 I made embroidery rolls for their birthdays,BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0510BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0516BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0845BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0505 as well as a pair of felt appliqué cushions for my sister’s bed.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-06 17.44.17 And another decoupage floral card and a paper owl, assembled from a German kit, which was given to me by my daughter in Berlin.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0499BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1220BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1221And finally, there were the bouquets from the garden! Masses of colourful zinnias…BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0037BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-05-06 11.16.50BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-29 20.26.32BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 12.12.28 and bright dahlias;BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0226BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1148 Scented roses;BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-03-25 09.39.26BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-03-25 09.39.32BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0888BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 11.26.09BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-05-06 11.16.58

Simple blue salvias and bold hydrangeas;BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 10.20.45BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0264BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0261 And wonderful mixtures of colourful blooms!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 18.58.02BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 10.49.40BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0021BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-19 12.16.03BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 11.42.23BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 11.42.46BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 12.49.55BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 12.50.00 How I love arranging flowers!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-03 14.11.26BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 12.07.18BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0003And finally, we had some wonderful days out, exploring new spots and revisiting old haunts. The Bendethera day in March was rather inclement and while we could not reach our final destination due to the amount of water in the final creek, we did ascertain that our vehicle could manage the 4WD tracks for a future camping trip and despite the rain and constant cloud, it was still a lovely day out.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1007BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0985BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0995BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0998BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0948BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0952 We had much better April weather for our Monaro drive to Delegate, Jindabyne (including the wonderful Wildbrumby Scnapps Distillery in photo 2) and Thredbo (the Kosciuszko chair lift in photo 3) and discovered a wonderful birdwatching and trout fishing  venue, Black Lake, near Cathcart, on our way home (photo 5), where we saw six elegant Black-Winged Stilts (photo 6).BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 11.21.45BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 12.59.21BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 13.28.40BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 15.11.43BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 17.14.48BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 17.48.57 We introduced friends to Bay Cliff and Greenglades (also see: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/12/13/wonderful-wonboyn/) in late April (see if you can guess the tracks on the beach in photo 7!); BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 15.15.12BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 13.45.15BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 14.50.15BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 14.12.57BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 14.55.38BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 14.09.03BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 18.08.42BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 18.08.12BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-04 18.10.41 and Aragunnu (also see: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/09/11/aragunnu-and-bunga-head/) in May, two of our favourite spots on the coast;BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 12.37.22BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 12.40.29BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 16.05.58BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 15.28.36BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 13.43.10BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 17.30.24as well as revisiting Nunnock Swamp and Alexander’s Hut (also see: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/10/18/south-east-forests-national-park/).BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-16 12.15.50BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-16 13.16.33BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-16 14.21.55BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-16 12.23.20BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-16 14.15.53BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-16 12.52.27And we went canoeing on Back Lake at Merimbula, where we photographed a beautiful Azure Kingfisher, as well as a teenage cygnet and white egrets.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 16.40.28BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 17.09.44BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 16.49.59BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 17.26.18BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 17.20.48BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 17.39.23BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 17.01.11BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 16.56.10 We are so lucky to have such easy access to these beautiful unspoilt natural areas! Next week, I am returning to our dreamy roses!

Roses in Floristry and Soho Rose Farm

Roses would have to be one of the most popular flowers used in floristry for weddings, birthdays and funerals and special days like St Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day. Unfortunately, many of the perfect rose stems bought from florists have been grown utilising poor environmental practices in countries with cheap labour, like Kenya and Ethiopia in Africa, and now Ecuador in South America, and then flown long distances around the world or have been forced in hothouses, but luckily there are local alternatives like Soho Rose Farm, 1.5 hours from Melbourne. Sadly, the business is now up for sale (https://www.bellarineproperty.com.au/1-9-drakes-road-drysdale-vic-3564625/), so this post, while written well before news of the sale, is now more a commemorative post about our wonderful two years on the farm!

Soho Roses

Clare Russell and Wally Stannard

1 Drakes Rd Drysdale, Victoria 3222  Ph: 0412 117 570

www.sohorosefarm.com.au  and www.facebook.com/sohorosefarm/

We were very lucky during our time in Geelong to work at Soho Rose Farm, a wholesale rose farm on the Bellarine Peninsula: Ross in the paddock, cultivating and pruning roses, while I was toughing it out in the air-conditioned shed, conditioning the blooms for market.BlogSohoReszd50%IMG_9000 Soho roses are field grown roses, which are grown naturally out in the paddock and involve slower growth, more maintenance and labour, and increased susceptibility to the vagaries of inclement weather like rain, drought and high temperatures. For example, the ideal temperature for roses is 28 degrees Celsius, but 4 days of temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius resulted in having to throw away 150 000 deadheaded blooms one Summer!BlogSohoReszd50%IMG_9002The roses, sourced from Treloars Nursery in Portland (http://www.treloarroses.com.au/), are highly fragrant and twice the size of the normal florist rose blooms, with up to 40 petals per bloom. There are over 60 varieties, mainly David Austin shrub roses over five years old, but also Hybrid Teas and Floribundas.BlogSohoReszd2513-01-20 09.58.15BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-09 17.23.45BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.46.09BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0094 Fair Bianca (above) is a particular favourite for weddings with its pink tipped buds and cream blooms, opening flat, though the scent tend to go off after a day or two! For more on the particular roses grown, please consult: http://www.sohorosefarm.com.au/rose-gallery   and  http://dakotaflowercompany.weebly.com/soho-roses.html.

BlogSohoReszd25rly march 2013 007BlogSohoReszd5013-06-09 12.43.49Soho Rose Farm started  12 years ago (July 2005) in a different location and after farming three different blocks, it moved to its current site in Drysdale six years ago due to the current block’s continuity of water. The average rainfall in Drysdale is 400 mm and extra water is sourced from a 30,000 gallon water tank, as well as town supplies.BlogSohoReszd5013-06-09 12.50.11BlogSohoReszd50%IMG_9107BlogSohoReszd50%IMG_9109BlogSohoReszd5013-06-09 12.50.19BlogSohoReszd50%IMG_9074BlogSohoReszd5013-06-09 12.44.48BlogSohoReszd50%IMG_9080BlogSohoReszd5013-06-09 12.44.37 When we were working there from 2010 to 2012, Clare and Wally also leased a paddock over at St Leonards, next to a large dam, with a spectacular view of Queenscliff and Corio Bay.BlogSohoReszd50%IMG_9108BlogSohoReszd50%late oct 019BlogSohoReszd50%late oct 022BlogSohoReszd50%late oct 023 I used to love working over there, even though the toilet facilities were non-existent, as the view was spectacular. We would often watch honking swans or pelicans fly low overhead, as they came into land on the dam.BlogSohoReszd50%IMG_9082BlogSohoReszd50%IMG_9101BlogSohoReszd50%IMG_9085 There were also flocks of sheep and alpacas grazing in the paddocks next to the rose field and the odd rabbit, as well as lots of bird song, fresh air and sunshine!BlogSohoReszd50%IMG_8992BlogSohoReszd50%late oct 021 However, in the end, it was too difficult splitting their time between the two sites and the owners decided to focus intensively on the home paddock at Drysdale instead.BlogSohoReszd5013-06-09 12.51.02BlogSohoReszd50%IMG_8998 We were given the option of digging up as many roses as we wanted from the St Leonards patch, the source of the 12 roses in our Soho bed, hence the name! The first two photos below are the start of the garden in September and October 2015 and the 3rd photo is from November 2016. Such a difference in just one year!Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-18 10.00.02Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0607blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-01-09-42-58At Drysdale, over 8000 plants are grown on 1 hectare with well-drained loamy topsoil, ideal for growing roses. The roses are planted 1 m apart to allow for good air circulation and space to thrive, as shown in this photo from the St. Leonards rose patch.BlogSohoReszd5013-06-09 12.45.14 The soil is tested three times per year to determine fertilizer requirements, with a liquid brew, fed to the plants through a fertigation drip irrigation system. Fertilizer is applied three times a year in February, September and late November to early December after the first growth spurt.BlogSohoReszd50%IMG_9001 Roses are pruned lightly or deadheaded throughout the growing season, according to the rose type, to encourage more blooms, and then in Winter (after the July school holidays or when the leaves start to drop for 6 weeks), they are pruned back hard. Each rose type is pruned differently, with Hybrid Teas being pruned more heavily than David Austin roses. The roses are then mulched with pea straw and manure before the new shoots start to emerge, in order to control the weeds, save water and replenish the plants for their growth over the next Summer. Winter is also the time for planting new roses.BlogSohoReszd25rly march 2013 008BlogSohoReszd25rly march 2013 006Roses are picked by hand five days a week from 6.30 am till mid-morning. Each variety needs to be picked at a different stage, so that it’s not too open, nor too closed, by the time it arrives at the florist’s shop. They immediately go into buckets of water on the trailer and are then brought up to the air-conditioned shed for conditioning. There are usually about 10 staff, many migrants and refugees from Thailand and Burma, who were learning English at the local TAFE, as well as some locals like Pam and Meamatua (hope the spelling is correct!), floristry students like myself and Berna, other students like the gorgeous Genevieve, who was training to become a primary school teacher, and an assorted dog population, including Clare and Wally’s staffy pup, Sid, born in 2012; Pam’s border collie Scarlett and visiting dogs Otto and Maple Syrup!

While some worked out in the paddock in the fresh air, heat and the rain, picking blooms, deadheading, pruning and doing all the hard physical labour, others worked mainly in the luxury of the air-conditioned (though often slightly cool!) shed with the cut blooms, but we would all get together over a cup of morning tea with cheese and biscuits and lunchtime, trying out different exotic Asian meals!

And at Christmas, we would have a Christmas feast, assembling our own pizzas from Wally’s ingredients, which were then cooked in their wood-fired outdoor oven, with salads and desserts contributed by staff members. The photos above and below are my Soho watermelon dessert, while the next year’s offering on 12th December 2012 (12.12.12) was cupcakes!

Clare and Wally are such good people and offered a decent wage and a wonderful introduction to work in Australia for unskilled newcomers to Australia. It was a very friendly and inclusive environment and so interesting learning about all the different cultures.BlogSohoReszd5012-12-11 13.12.32But back to work! Over 6 000 stems are picked a week with up to 12 000 stems in the peak season from November to March. Picking starts in late October and extends through till the next May. Rose stems are stripped by hand to remove the lower leaves, sorted into bunches of 50 stems, cut diagonally on the stem ends and placed in buckets of water to be stored in the cool room.BlogSohoReszd25%late feb 2013 042 Roses were arranged in buckets according to the rose orders on the blackboard and the urgency of the job.BlogSohoReszd25rly march 2013 002 While some florists wanted only one type of rose in the bucket like the wedding rose, Fair Bianca, others wanted one colour only like pink, so we would mix David Austins and Hybrid Teas in a range of pinks like The Childrens’ Rose and Heaven Scent (both Hybrid Teas) with David Austin roses, Eglantyne or The Claire Rose.BlogSohoReszd25%May 2013 038 Others wanted mixed soft pastel shades, elegant antique creamy pink and coffee shades (Spirit of Peace and Julia’s Rose) or dramatic bold mixes of red and purple; red and orange; or my favourite Moroccan Mix with oranges, reds, golds and purples!BlogSohoReszd25%May 2013 040BlogSohoReszd50cember2011 200 There was such a wonderful array of colour and form on the cool room shelves and the scent was divine!BlogSohoReszd25rly march 2013 077BlogSohoReszd25%May 2013 041 A fully packed  coolroom is a wonderful sight to behold, as was the floor of the shed at the end of the day!BlogSohoReszd2513-02-15 10.03.10BlogSohoReszd2513-02-15 14.40.05 Any leftover blooms are donated to the local nursing home or divided amongst the staff, the latter the best perk of the job. I would arrive home from a long tiring day at the rose farm, only to be transported into another dreamy relaxing world, as I arranged vases of beautiful blooms- a sure sign of being in the right job!!!BlogSohoReszd25rly march 2013 003 In the afternoon, the flower buckets are loaded into the air-conditioned van for transport to the Avalon Airport, where the blooms were then collected by Dakota Flowers (http://dakotaflowercompany.weebly.com/), who distribute them at the Melbourne Wholesale Florist market and to florists around Melbourne. Florists buy their flowers from the market three times a week from 3.30 to 7 am. It’s a very early start and often you are up with the hot air balloons! My dear friend and co-worker came with me!BlogSohoReszd2512-12-18 05.49.38BlogSohoReszd2512-12-18 05.56.17BlogSohoReszd2512-12-18 06.00.06Soho Roses are loved by the Melbourne florists and have graced many a famous wedding or event. They have been used in bouquets, on wedding cakes, in vases and table arrangements and in photo shoots. High profile weddings have included:

TV presenter, Catriona Rowntree, and farmer, James Petitt, on 5 April 2008

TV presenter, Rebecca Twiggley, and Australian Football League player, Chris Judd, on 31 December 2010, the roses arranged by florist Katie Marx; and

Georgia Clark and footballer, Andrew Mackie, on 29 June 2011, the flowers arranged by florist Jodie from Flower Bowl.BlogSohoReszd25%May 2013 035Special events have included:

The Spring Racing Carnival at the Bird Cage and Melbourne Cup Day

AFL Galas

L’Oreal Fashion Week 2012 (florist Fleur)

Alannah Hill Winter Collection 2010 (florist Flowers Vasette)

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show at the Exhibition building in Carlton, including the inaugural Growers Avenue in March 2010

Dame Elizabeth Murdoch’s 100th birthday in 2009 and 102nd birthday in 2011

Oprah’s baby shower at Bebe, the roses being arranged by florist Ascha Jolie, on December 2010

Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Government House on 27 October 2011

The visit of Princess Mary and Prince Frederick to Government House in November 2011

Visits by Prince Charles and Camilla to Government House 2012

Visit by Madonna

The engagement of James Packer and Mariah Carey 2016

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race 2015

Movie set of Fred Schepsi’s film The Eye of the Storm

The photographs posted by the florists of their work has considerably raised the profile of Soho Roses and has been wonderful publicity for their business. Clare also has an Instagram account, which can be accessed at: http://www.sohorosefarm.com.au/social-media-instagram  and www.instagram.com/sohorosefarm. The photographs really show up the beauty and perfection of their blooms.

Before Instagram, Clare also kept a blog till 2012, but it was hard keeping it up during the hectic flowering season!  Clare and Wally certainly lead very busy lives, in amongst raising three children. They usually have a short break in September for a few weeks after the Winter pruning and mulching, while waiting for the soil to warm up and the new buds to develop. For more about Soho Rose Farm, there is an article in the Plant Hunter written by Meaghan Cook on 31 March 2016, titled ‘Life at Soho Rose Farm (It’s Blooming)’.  See: http://theplanthunter.com.au/harvest/soho-rose-farm/.