THIS is one of the most exciting times of the year for gardeners who love roses. The new season’s choice is overwhelming with three of the main rose growers between them offering more than 45 new-release roses.
Wagner’s Rose Nursery, one of the oldest and largest rose growers in the country has a 50-hectare nursery at Kalangadoo in the south-east of SA.
Wagner’s are also agents for the world’s top rose breeders, such as the famous Kordes roses of Germany. Wagner’s grows a staggering 600 varieties, with 18 new releases for 2018.
Then there is Swane’s with its showcase nursery and rose gardens at Dural. Swane’s started as market gardeners before 1920 supplying hundreds of citrus trees to the then new Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. Swane’s has 11 new releases this season.
Treloar Roses, of Victoria, a more-than-generous provider of roses to the Horticultural Society of Canberra’s Trial Garden in Bruce, has 15 new-release roses this year.
I have chosen to feature just three roses, all from Wagner’s:
- “Bellissimo Mum”, a truly beautiful bush rose growing to 80cm with elegant pink double blooms. It has a strong, unforgettable, old-fashioned rose fragrance.
- “Outback Dreaming” really captures the colours of the outback with deep red and golden blooms on long stems. A taller rose to 180cm, making it ideal for cutting.
- “Fairy Dust”, a small shrub rose to 60cm with large, double, pure white flowers with a sweet scent of violets. It would make an ideal companion to white roses such as “White Iceberg”. Alternatively, this rose would make a great small hedge.
NINETY-FIVE per cent of all roses introduced into Australia come from overseas breeders, mainly from Europe. Experience has shown many do not necessarily grow well here. So in 1996 the rose industry got together to establish a trial garden in the Botanic Gardens in Adelaide. The National Rose Society, the rose-growing industry and the Adelaide Botanic Gardens were all represented.
Roses bred both here and from overseas are planted in the National Rose Trial Garden in groups of four to six of each variety with no name shown, just a code number. Plants are assessed by a group of 10 experienced rosarians who allocate points each month over a period of two years. This assessment is based on a strict, 10-point criteria that includes hardiness, pest and disease resistance and fragrance.
This is the guarantee that retail roses are suitable for our local conditions.
- Check rose nurseries’ websites for a full list and illustrations of new-release roses.
- Not all garden centres buy roses from the growers listed above.
- Buy roses that are displayed in natural, outdoor conditions
- Roses illustrated in overseas magazines will not necessarily have the same name when sold here.