Sunday, March 8, 2015 8 comments

Admiring, judging and drooling over roses Down Under

'Crepuscule" at the Royal Botanic Gardens

Poppy, the prettiest flower in Australia
This past October we made a return trip to Australia to visit son Sam, his wife Hayley and new family member, Poppy. 


Hayley found us an amazing flat overlooking Sydney Harbour, which meant all the pleasures of the city were just a ferry ride or stroll away. 

 Our second day there we headed downtown for a tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens. This 70+ acre showplace was established in 1816 as the colony’s “veggie patch.” The parcel of land overlooks Farm Cove and offers a stunning view of the harbor and Sydney Opera House.

Pope John Paul II

It’s a very relaxing place to spend an afternoon and recover from jet lag. The entrance sign says: “Please walk on the grass. We also invite you to smell the roses, hug the trees, talk to the birds and picnic on the lawns.”

Mr. Lincoln
I made a beeline for the Palace Rose Garden, which features about 1800 bushes, all selected for their ability to thrive without pampering.  They use predatory insects to control pests, but the wasps on duty were falling down on the job. 

Never mind, the abundance of blooms made up for the aphids.

The Jamberoo show is the largest in New South Wales
The next day we set off on a trip to Kiama where I judged the New South Wales Rose Show in Jamberoo. Their rules for judging are very different from ours in the US, so I mainly watched and learned. Many of the entries were simply stunning.

'Glorious' (and it was)

While there I met fellow judge Mark McGuire who has won just about every prize in rosedom. He and wife Julie invited us to visit his magnificent downtown rose garden when we returned to Sydney.

 Mark’s garden called “Rose View” was created in 1993 and attracts visitors from Sydney, indeed from across the globe October through April. For his outstanding
contribution to the beauty of the area, he was awarded the North Sydney Achievement of Excellence.

'Brass Band'

In addition to the display in the main garden, Mark has a number of potted roses that have not had fresh soil or fertilizer for over two decades. They were blooming their heads off.

Oh, and if the sight of all these roses wasn't enough of a treat for the senses, you can also see the harbor from his front garden.

'Evelyn Fison', 'Scarlet Red' and 'Cherry Parfait'
Another amazing vista in amazing Australia.