Ready, set, roses! A winter garden project

Life’s too short to delay planting a rose garden! Now is the perfect time to lay the groundwork- no excuses!

Mudgee has the perfect climate for these tough, hardy botanical superstars. Here, anyone can have a display of colourful, fragrant blooms come spring-time.



This glorious rose in my garden blooms profusely from spring right through to June, when it is edged with frost 

Starting your rose garden

Starting now, it’s time to work on building up the soil for new rose beds.

  • Thoroughly dig over the soil.
  • Work in a good amount of well-rotted manure or compost.
  • Add a ration of rose food (Mudgee gardeners seem to favour Sudden Impact for Roses).

Do this and you’ll have beautiful soil ready to plant your bare rooted roses in September.

Bare rooted rose plants

Then comes the fun part- choosing your roses. There are many varieties- here’s some information about some of my favourites.

Heirloom roses (also known as Antique Roses)

• These are old roses which originated in Europe or the Mediterranean before the introduction of the first modern rose, ‘la France’, in 1867.


• They have strong qualities of fragrance, colour, subtlety, texture and hardiness.

• They only bloom once in a season, on stems from the previous years.

• They’re tough and relatively disease free.

Heirloom Rugosa roses

David Austin roses

• These are the classic English roses.

• They’re hybrids which have been bred to combine “old world” characteristics including flower size and fragrance, with the repeat-flowering ability and wide colour range of modern roses.

• They come in a variety of subtle colours.


A rose arbour dripping with heirloom rose “Pierre de Ronsard”

Persian roses

• These are native to Iran and Afghanistan.

• They thrive in our dry summer heat.


Persian rose “For your eyes only”

• They bloom continuously from spring through summer and autumn.

• They’re comfortable in a mixed flower bed with perennials and other flowering shrubs.


Persian Rose “Eye of the Tiger”

Looking after your established roses

After several hard frosts the rose bushes have mostly dropped their leaves and gone dormant. Roses are tough enough to survive without special care, but will appreciate being protected from the harsh conditions.

Don’t do anything that would encourage growth too early. Pruning in cold areas like Mudgee should be left until August at least.

To protect your roses over winter you can:

  • mound up around the bushes with garden soil and mulch,
  • wrap climbing rose canes with a light fabric, to help protect them from harsh winds.

Watering roses is important in winter.

  • On warmer days, check the soil and water lightly as needed-don’t soak them.
  • Then check the soil moisture again to see that it has improved.



Whilst they don’t seem to be a major problem in Mudgee, winter is the best time to combat fungal pests and other diseases.

  • Collect and dispose of dead leaves and pruned branches (in Mudgee’s new green waste bins!).
  • Then, spray the plants – and the ground around them – with an organic lime-sulphur mix.
  • Finally, water your roses with a seaweed solution to stimulate root development.

For more information on growing roses, have a look at my blog post which features very down-to-earth advice on “no frills” rose growing- How to grow roses: advice from a very relaxed expert

What’s your favourite rose?

Have you grown Persian roses?

Do you choose roses for colour, or fragrance?



16 Comments Add yours

  1. My favourite is ‘Double Delight’ featuring red and cream and with a beautiful fragrance. I think the amount of red varies depending on something, amount of sun perhaps.

    1. My Dream Garden says:

      Hi there, I agree, Double Delight is sublime. I had one once, when I lived in a house in the bush, but the possums used to come and eat the rose buds before they opened. What a diet!

      1. Tragic! I would’ve been so angry with that possum. In NZ I’d have asked my hubbie to sort it out with a trap – possums are an unwanted pest here but for you they’re protected native animals aren’t they?

  2. My Dream Garden says:

    I was very angry with that possum- although if I had a chance to dine on fragrant rosebuds maybe I would…We’re allowed to trap and relocate them but not permitted to move them out of their territory, so they soon find their way back.

  3. Chris says:

    I have never grown Persian roses, will have to do some research on those, they look amazing. The roses I have grown have always been highly perfumed and repeat flowering. Since moving, I only have a couple of old roses that were planted by a previous gardener, but not in very good positions. I have just cut a couple of them back and moved them in amongst my fruit trees. I attended a very interesting talk about edible gardens a few months ago, and heard that planting roses near cherry trees acted as a lure for birds and insects that eat aphids from the roses and also take care of the bugs that can attack cherry trees. A good way to reduce pests without spraying. Worth a try.
    I have always had a bit of a fantasy about growing a rose garden like a rainbow, with graduating colours. I don’t have room unfortunately but if anyone has done it I would love to see photos.

    1. My Dream Garden says:

      Hi Chris, very interesting about the edible gardens. How great that you have fruit trees! I hope the roses do their job in there. I love the sound of your rainbow rose garden- and yes I’d like to see to see one too- I’m sure someone must have a photo of one…Looking forward to seeing your new garden in a few weeks’ time. Jane

  4. tonytomeo says:

    No hybrid tea roses? Are they that passe there?

    1. My Dream Garden says:

      Goodness no, I can’t get enough of hybrid tea roses! J

      1. tonytomeo says:

        Well, that is the opposite extreme! They are my favorite because they were trendy when I was a kid. I normally do not like fads, but that was a fad before I knew I did not like fads.

  5. Chris says:

    Hi Jane, I was so inspired by the Persian roses that I decided to try a couple, but the suppliers here are out of stock. Do you know where they are available?
    And my list of favourites is too long , the old faithful Just Joey and Mr Lincoln , Charles De Gaulle , and another less known Stainless Steel. All highly perfumed. The list goes on ( and on) .

    1. My Dream Garden says:

      Hi there, Diggers Seeds are selling them- I’m planning to order some today so let me know and I can add some to my order if you like. In the current catalogue they have Eye of the Tiger, Peony Rose and Eyes for You. I haven’t heard of Stainless Steel- I will check it out, sounds amazing. See you soon!

    2. My Dream Garden says:

      Well you have solved a mystery for me- I now know that the amazingly fragrant mauve-coloured rose in my garden is Just Joey.

    3. My Dream Garden says:

      Oh dear, I was all ready to order some Persian roses from Digges but they are out of stock too!

  6. Leaf says:

    Now I know that the beautiful roses I saw at Mildura Art Gallery were Persian. They were gorgeous!

    1. My Dream Garden says:

      I’m envious- I’ve never seen Persian roses, and haven’t been able to buy any either.

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