Jan Martin: My Rose Garden Story

Jan Martin: My Rose Garden Story

My Rose Garden Story

Jan Martin is an Australian gardener with a green-fingered knack for her Rose garden. Read on for her Rose Garden Story!


My Rose garden story started eighteen years ago when we lost our first born son at 28 years of age to a brain tumour. At the time we were given a ‘Mr. Lincoln’ Rose bush which kick started my love of roses. We needed to channel our grief into something meaningful so we converted our existing vegetable garden into a Rose garden so I could add to the ‘Mr Lincoln Rose’ to make a special garden in our son’s memory. One rose exploded into twenty roses and Greg’s Garden started to evolve.

As I shopped for roses I realised that there were a huge amount of varieties to choose from. After visiting Swayne’s Roses at Galston (near Sydney, Australia) on more than one occasion, it become apparent that I was not going to fit in all the roses I wanted so more garden beds were prepared in all available places.

Having filled the sunny parts of our back yard we then moved to the front yard. We had two huge golden pine trees growing that had been age damaged over the years so we removed them to create two more Rose gardens and a circle garden for a weeping rose. Next up was the trailer bay which was quickly converted to another rose garden and all other existing gardens were cleared until every available space was filled with roses of various types.

All of my garden beds are raised to get good drainage and ease of access for weeding and mulching. This is something I appreciate even more now that I have got older and have more difficulty getting down to ground level.

My roses were sourced from many places including local nurseries, wholesale dealers, gifts from friends, rescued from demolished gardens and even raffle prizes. There was never any rhyme or reason for my planting. As a result I have a mixture of colours, a mixture of rose types (weeper, standards, climbers, bush roses both large and small, patio size, miniature, ground covers, banksia – about 150 roses) as well as underplanting with Iris, lavender jonquils, salvia, petunias,begonias, snapdragons, pansies in season.


Over the last eighteen years the roses have had to suffer some hardships in my learning phase. In the early years I was employed full time and in early retirement we spent a lot of time away on various overseas holidays – some as long as seven weeks. In addition I was hooked on golf which is a very time consuming game – playing three days a week. As a result I lost a lot of roses due to lack of attention to signs of disease.  I have learned to look for damage like dieback, collar rot and assorted problems that roses will suffer in extreme wet or extreme dry not to mention the ever existing black spot and aphids. In reality trying to grow roses in a coastal area where high humidity is rife is not a good idea – but my love of roses outweighs all of these problems.

I still have a lot of my original roses but I replace under performing roses with new stronger varieties as I have literally run out of room. There are so many more roses out there I would love to have – just as well I don’t have acres of land.

I get a lot of pleasure out of being able to walk out into my garden and cut a large bunch of roses on any given day and enjoy being able to gift cut roses to anyone I think will appreciate them.


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