I need more yellow roses.
Now this is something that, I'm pretty sure, J would disagree with.
Before about 2005 our plot of plants (the garden that I like to call `Possum Creek') was free of roses - plants which J had convinced me had loads of giant thorns and no redeeming features. But then my friends introduced me to the luscious blooms bred by David Austin and it's hard to say whether I prefer the old-style look of a bloom punch-drunk pack-full of soft petals - or the various perfumes and fragrances and scents from harem-enticer (pale apricot `Jude the Obscure' near the front gate) to tea-rose fragrance (soft yellow `Teasing Georgia') to a strongly perfumed `old rose fragrance with hints of honey and almond blossom' (white `Winchester Cathedral').
There's pink roses around the circular lawn (burgundy, with deep pink ones each side, then soft pink, then white); pink and white perfumed roses near the wooden garden seat; and by the carport (a cedar wall), where there's a hedge of Mexican orange blossom (good old Choisya, a great plant, I love it) I have some yellow roses that I admire from my living room (through a large window): golden `Graham Thomas' (above) in the centre flanked by `Comtes de Champagne' and ever paler blooms as the eye travels outwards. Not quite enough yellow last year, so 2 plants of tall `Golden Celebration' were tucked behind GT; and I admit it's too early, really, to see the benefit. But. But.
This year Gorgeous golden `Graham Thomas' seems to be completely swallowed up by the paler blooms - `Comtes de Champagne', `Crocus Rose'; lovely creatures, but not the foil against the many clumps of deep blue Siberian iris we had flowering madly this time last year. Don't get me wrong, I love the pale roses, and they'd be great against a hedge of darkest green, say, some of the Osmanthus tribe, but here they're a bit insipid and a waste of iris-contrast-opportunity. So we need gold roses towards the centre, and they need to be a little shorter than `Comtes de Champagne' so that we see all the lovely flowers...something golden-yellow and 90cm high please.
With sensational scent.
Is that too much to ask?
(No. Two seconds on Mr Google and we have Rosa `Molineux', a small shrub with rich yellow flowers that have, it says, medium intensity of musky tea scent...which sounds delicious. Available in Australia? - yes. Perfect!)
Jill Weatherhead is horticulturist, writer, garden designer and principal at Jill Weatherhead Garden Design who lives in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, and works throughout Victoria (www.jillweatherheadgardendesign.com.au)