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  • Claire

The Rose Garden

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

My grandma was a Rose Wizard. My grandparents' home was in Worsley, a small village in Salford - now part of Greater Manchester in the UK. That was my first introduction to the wonderful world of roses. Her roses in particular, seemed to smell the best, and in my mind, grew in technicolour. I always believed her rose garden was effortless, as she worked full time. Later she moved to Canada with my grandpa to care for me and my brother in her retirement, while my mum worked full time.

My grandparents seemed happy with their move to Canada. They built a lovely community around them full of love and a lot of laughter! However, I imagine that it was quite difficult for them to leave their home and all the friends they'd made over 60 years of living in the UK. My Grandma never grew roses in Canada.

So this year I decided that I would like to build a rose garden. "It will take up our entire garden - a half acre. Roses will populate every bit of space between the gobs of plants already struggling through our yearly drought. I’ll start with “my age in roses”, 52, and I’ll have a ginormous variety that will delight and surprise the most stoic rose hobbyist." How hard could it be?

It turns out that roses are a lot like cats. They want constant care, except when they don’t. They need feeding, watering and they like it when you sing to them. They get grumpy and draw blood. They fill your life with magic.

At the end of this summer I am still a far cry from my 52 plant goal . 16 to be exact. 1 Dr. Huey (a ‘reverted’ rose - a graft that took over after neglect) and 3 other roses that I cannot identify, who were already well established when we moved here five years ago. An unknown rose that my mum gave me that I call Little A**hole because it’s brutally violent. I’ve purchased over the last three years the following: Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’, Rosa America (climbing rose), City of York (climbing rose), Morden Centennial Parkland Rose, Olivia Austin Rose (David Austin Roses), Gentle Hermione (David Austin Roses), Thomas A Becket (David Austin Roses), Roald Dahl (David Austin Roses) Rosa ‘Iceberg’ (Floribunda Rose), Lemon Drop miniature rose, and Easy Elegance ®️Champagne Wishes. Three of these roses are ‘rescues’ from the garden centre I work at as seasonal help and the rest were either discounted or birthday gifts to myself…

So, now as they come into their final blooms for the season I find that I still want to continue this project as a tribute to my Rose Wizard, although it will likely be 20 more years before I truly have my vision come to life, I’m enjoying the start of this journey. These few roses who have peppered our little landscape with their scent, colour and quirks have been and continue to be magical storybooks. So much to learn from each plant and for the 15/20 minutes of gardening time that I get each morning (in the winter it will be more!) they are a true source of joy and inspiration. So. Here’s to the end of the first season with my rose friends and to many new ones over the next 20 years.

Gentle Hermione (David Austin Roses)


Easy Elegance ®️Champagne Wishes

Rosa ‘Iceberg’ (Floribunda Rose)

Rosa America (climbing rose)

Lemon Drop miniature rose

Olivia Austin Rose (David Austin Roses)

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