Mid-winter is the perfect moment to plant roses.
Bare rooted stock is available in nurseries now at much lower prices than you'll see later in the year when the unsold ones have been moved into pots.
When I changed the planting in our front garden to create a more naturalistic look, using rocks, grasses and low growing ground covers (see The Land, Thursday May 19), I couldn't bear to get rid of my roses.
Some were in the garden when we moved here, others I'd acquired over the years and had come to love, all are part of the garden's story.
They had to stay, so I dug them all up and heeled them into a shallow trench while I considered what to do next.
After much cogitation I divided them into three categories.
Some I would grow in their own bed to pick for the house, others could go among shrubs in the sunniest parts of the garden.
A few special ones could be planted as focal points, in a pot to close a view, or near paths and archways where they would be noticed.
There was a certain amount of overlapping but that didn't matter, the important thing at that stage - time was moving on - was for each to have a destination.
I started with the picking bed. The great thing about gardening on a farm (apart from endless cowpats) is that you're not short of space and I soon found a sunny corner with room for a dozen or so roses.
Growing roses purely for the house meant no worries about creating planting pictures, all I needed was full sun and enough space for each bush to avoid fungi and disease spreading.
I chose repeat-flowering, modern bush roses - hybrid teas and floribundas - together with a few David Austins for their attractively quartered blooms.
The hybrid teas are easily the best for picking, as each bloom is carried on a long, single stem.
Because I want the roses to perform well for many months I feed them every fortnight during summer with liquid manure and keep weeds at bay with lucerne hay mulch.
My favourites in this bed include coffee coloured Julia's Rose, gorgeous with blackish crimson Josephine Bruce; Remember Me and Chicago Peace for their brilliant, flame-coloured flowers; pink and red striped Cabana and adorable, apricot Just Joey.
Roses I planted through the garden include shrub roses like Madame Isaac Pereire, clear pink, heavenly scent, prickly rugosas Roserie de l'Hay and low growing, soft pink Frau Dagmar Hastrupp, and Fruhlingsmoregan ('Spring Morning') with big, single, pink flowers with a cream centre.
Ones I selected for focal points were mainly chosen for colour and/or scent.
Double yellow Friesia and single Golden Wings are happy in my blue and yellow perennial border, and finally Perle d'Or, orange-gold is in a pot by our back door, for her fragrance and shapely flowers.
Treloar Roses (www.treloarroses.com.au/) offer Remember Me by mail order. Bare rooted roses are priced from $9.95 from garden centre chains now.
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