Now’s the perfect time to stop and smell the roses | The Canberra Times

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It is time to smell the roses. Not in the metaphorical sense – if you didn’t do any metaphorical rose sniffing during lockdown you are either not the kind of person who mediates on the joyous aspects of life or have been far too frantic coping with the traumas of isolation. This is literally the time to smell the roses. Mid-summer’s roses lose their scent too soon as it evaporates in the heat, nor may hot roses have had enough water and tucker to be at their best. This is the best rose season we have had in decades. Make the most of it. The main reason to sniff roses now is because the scent of roses varies as much as the possible permutations of dinner, or the mythical 900 Inuit* words for snow. I am not going to enter into arguments about which is the most stunning rose fragrance, as it obviously belongs to Papa Meiland, a rich, red rose that opens to show an almost glowing red interior. Mr Lincoln is second best, because two of my friends say it is and I am not going to disagree with them, except about the superiority of Papa Meiland. Mr Lincoln is gloriously pickable and rich red too, just not as stunning as old Papa. Classic pink and fabulously shaped Souvenir de la Malmaison comes next, fruity and almost passionfruit scented, not classic rose perfumes at all, followed by parchment-coloured Buff Beauty. She’s one of the musk roses. If you want scent, the musks are reliably sublime. Apart from those suggestions you will need to go and smell the roses. Now. Roses are at their glorious best now and due to this are presently taking up quite a large space in garden centres. If you have anywhere at all you can plant a rose, get sniffing now. This includes gardeners who have purely native gardeners. My grandpa was one of the founders of the Association for Growing Native Plants, or whatever it was called 100 years or so ago, and he said that when planting out your native garden, a rose – or even two – didn’t count. As far as I am concerned, Grandpa remains the expert of the permitted variations of a native garden. Life always has room for another rose. Plant patio roses that tolerate dappled shade in big hanging baskets or let them spill from elegant pots. Grow groundcover roses in the hot bare stretch in the middle of your driveway. Cover banks with Climbing Albertine, who has no scent but a vague petal odour and is one of the miracles of spring. Train Climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison or Mermaid or a thousand others up pergolas, fence posts, chook houses or over netting across your walls for living insulation as well as joy. But do it now, when the gardening lovers are slightly drunk on rose perfume, and if you stop to smell them, you will be too.


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