The Rose Garden, Est. 2019
The rose garden is my pride and joy.
I could spend countless hours there just sitting and admiring the blooms. Enjoying the scent of each individual flower. Watching the bees stop by and feast on the nectar of the shrub rose and the sweet pea. It’s my little utopia.
In 2018 I had started to grow roses for the first time. In the lake house garden, I had planted a pink hybrid tea rose and some climbing roses on the arbour.
Prior to this I was stand offish from growing roses as I assumed, they were high maintenance and needed a lot of care.
Oh, how I was wrong.
Roses are a hardy shrub and quite easy to maintain. So as the roses in the lake house were such a success, I decided I would like to design a garden dedicated to creating a combination of scented roses to admire up close.
I am a big fan of Edwardian style gardens. The use of natural materials to create elegant designs.
And I think using clay bricks to create a two-tier curved bed achieved just that.
I was just the designer though. So, when I pitched my design to Dad, he didn’t see it as blissfully as I did. He saw the challenge he was about to face having to build the actual thing.
But… he trusted my notion and went with it.
I repurposed old bricks we had on the farm from an old paving area near the lake. They were worn and old and just what I needed to make the rose garden look like it had been there for years.
However, I did have to purchase some additional bricks to mix in as there wasn’t quite enough from what I already had.
Mum and I measured out the garden and dug the foundations. Digging on a coalmine is never easy but with a pickaxe and a digging bar we managed. #girlpower
Then I learned how to mix cement for the first time. A mixture of gravel, sand and cement was poured into the trenches and left to harden for a week before we started on the bricks.
I also learned how to point the bricks which is actually quite relaxing to do.
My job was to mix the cement and keep Dad supplied with bricks as he worked his way around the 6 courses of the flower bed.
Thanks to the ever so reliable Irish weather as we were laying the bricks the heavens opened and it began to pour on top of the cement, but “all hands-on deck” meant the siblings came running with a gazebo to put over the area.
The next week we filled the bed with a mixture of topsoil, grit and compost and planted the roses. This was the moment in which I realised just how big the garden was. Trailer after trailer of topsoil and it was still half empty.
Thankfully I had began collecting roses long before the garden was ready. A variety of types and colours. I purchased bare root plants from Dealz and garden centres and planted them in the vegetable patch as a temporary home.
Last year I made the addition of iron poles behind the garden.
Another notion of mine Dad didn’t quite understand but went with anyway.
I drove the poles into the ground, threaded them with garden wire and planted sweet pea below. The sweet pea wall provided seclusion from the rest of the garden so you can truly immerse yourself in the beauty and simplicity of the roses.
I have swapped and changed a few of the roses as time has gone by in an attempt to achieve a combination of colour and styles.
My rose care is pretty basic. I lightly prune in the autumn to avoid wind rock and do a more methodical pruning in the spring to promote growth for the year.
In terms of feed, I use nettle tea fertiliser that I make myself and I spray them with Rhubarb leaf aphid spray if I notice anything out of the ordinary.
If you have never grown roses before don’t shy away from giving it a go. They are hardier than you think and an absolute joy to be had.
The peony rose is something close to my heart, and why I chose to include it as the centrepiece of my logo.
Roses are my favourite plant so far and I can now clearly see why they are deemed the most beautiful flower in the world.