Down in the Garden: It’s Coming Up Roses

Walk into any nursery or gardening section on the Central Coast right now and you will be greeted with what appears to bags filled with sticks.

These are the much anticipated ‘bare root’ roses that have hit out stores in time for June planting so let’s get them in!

Roses have been on earth for more than 70 million years with discoveries of fossils found throughout the Northern Hemisphere helping establish this.

Today more than 150 million rose plants are purchased by gardeners worldwide each year and there are now over 40,000 roses listed on the International Rose Register. There’s one for you, I’m sure.

How to Buy a Rose

You can decide to grow a rose garden or, like I do, pepper the garden here and there with roses.

You might like a theme that is focused on a type of rose, a period of their history or of course colour.

I buy what I like, when I see it and tuck it in where it fits but then I have a garden that Freida Kahlo would be proud of.

It’s very colourful, rambling and bright, but I’ve seen stunning gardens of very formal white roses or filled completely with only French Old Garden roses.

With so many varieties, the longevity of the plant and this area being very suitable for all roses, you won’t be stuck for choice.

For your needs and garden design, there are climbing roses, bushy roses, ones that you can prune to look like little trees and others that make great hedges.

Bare Root plants are available from late autumn until early spring, and they come wrapped in sawdust or peat moss and plastic bags and sometimes in pots.

These are usually far more plentiful and cheaper that potted growing roses.

These on the other hand are available year-round and are naturally covered in foliage and sometimes blooms if found in season, (usually spring through summer).

They are more expensive and there are not as many varieties available in most places.

How to Plant a Rose

Under absolutely no circumstance can the roots of a rose be allowed to become dry.

Get your planting position ready first so that there is limited disruption.

Roses will need full sun for the majority of the day and while some can tolerate shade, you will gain more blossoms in sunny positions of at least five hours a day.

They also prefer to be sheltered, with good air circulation and have cool earth plus space as roses do not like to have heated roots or competition.

This may sound like a fussy checklist but with roses, once you get the planting and position right, they are usually set for life.

Roses will grow in any soil, but it must be free-draining and deep so that the roots can stay cool and not become waterlogged.

The best preparation is to dig over your selected rose garden bed spot to at least the depth of a spade about six weeks prior to planting and add lots of organic matter and rotted manure.

Each plant will need an area of at least 3 meters in diameter.

Bare rooted roses need to be carefully unwrapped and washed of their packing material and nursery potted ones need the soil shaken gently from their roots.

Roses you are transplanting during this dormant period need to be treated the same.

I like to soak my rose roots in a bucket of plain water overnight to make sure they are nicely hydrated before planting the next day.

Into a hole that you have dug that is wide enough for the roots and deep enough so that the bud union will come to the soil level, make a mound of soil that your roots can sit upon.

Fan them out over this and then half fill hole with soil.

Next fill the hole with water and once it drains away, top up the hole with soil firmly.

How to Treat a Rose

Mulch the rose plant with a layer about 6mm deep of organic materials such as sugar cane, general garden mulch and compost but, never use eucalyptus, pine needs or pebbles.

Keep the mulch at least 6mm away from the stem.

Roses like to be kept well-watered but check in with your selections as some like to dry out a bit between watering.

Rainfall over 20mm during the week will mean that watering can be skipped.

This can be increased to twice a week during the summer months.

They are hungry plants and do so much better with natural matter as their food source.

In early spring, after gently forking over the surrounding soil spread well-rotted manure to a depth of at least 10cm and top this with compost to a depth of 5cm.

Late spring after this has worked its way down into the soil, add bone and bone and mulch and you might like to feed again with blood and bone mid-summer.

Central Coast Roses

I had a chat with Vicki of Narara Valley Nursery to see what they have in store this week and she laughed and said “Soooooo many!”

“The ever popular brilliant yellow ‘Gold Bunny’ and brilliant white ‘Iceberg’ is here again this year along with the deep red ‘Black Velvet’.

“For the pink rose lovers there is Earth Angel and Love Potion and if you like a bit of fun, we have Orange ‘Voodoo’ and a brilliant hot pink rose called ‘Twilight Zone’.”


You could plant artichokes, asparagus crowns, broad beans, broccoli, cress, cabbage, carrot, English spinach, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mid and late season onion`s, parsnip, peas, radish, rhubarb crowns, shallot bulbs, snow peas, spring onion, turnip, English daisy, candytuft, Canterbury bells, delphinium, dianthus. forget-me-nots, lobelia, gypsophila, honesty, lupin, nemesia, nigella, pansy, poppy, snapdragon, statice, stock, sweet pea.


Introduction to Permaculture Information and Enrolment Session at Gosford TAFE on Tuesday 22 June 2021 at 3pm and one on Wednesday 23 June 2021 at 11am and attendance is a step towards being accepted into the course. More details:

Winter Solstice Evening Lantern Walk 5:30 – 6:30pm Tuesday 22nd June, SWAMP Community Garden, Tuggerah. A lovely time to reflect together as a community, to hold space and thought for the second half of the year.

And after a beautiful 6 months at SWAMP, we would love for you and your family to join us in a simple lantern making activity and walk in the dusk of the evening. We will also share some sweet nibbles and a hot chocolate or tea. $6 donation to SWAMP, per group. Bookings a must:

Sale Day of The Central Coast Cactus & Succulent Society 10am – 2pm 26th June, Gosford Showground near the Grey Hound Club under cover, free entry & lots of parking.

DOWN IN YOUR GARDEN: Cheralyn, Lake Munmorah

My turn this week to share a little about my garden.

An arch of Bower of Beauty gives the entrance to my vegetable garden a ‘Secret Garden’ feel, and bright bursts of roses, chrysanthemums, dahlias and sunflowers peek out from behind my vegetable beds when their time comes, surrounded by a windbreak of Viburnum that folds out from a huge Lemon Myrtle.

This is one area of my garden, where edible plants grow, and the work of a gardener gets done.

I love growing medicinal plants like echinacea, comfrey and borage and that’s to name a very few along with lots of herbs, edible flowers and of course vegetables.

We have only been on the Central Coast for five years, moving from Sydney and the chance to create a ‘forever’ garden in such a beautiful place is a dream come true.

My style is organic in design, as it is in practice.

Everything is colourful and bright and most people say my garden has a definite Mexican look about it.

There are lots of places to sit, to lay, eat and even to sleep right throughout the gardens that hug my home and while it is very much still in its infancy, my garden is very much the heart of our family home.

Three Big Gardening Questions

Q. One Plant You Can’t Live Without:

A. Flowers. I particular adore Australian Natives but any and all flowers.

Q. Piece of Advice:

A. Look at what is growing well in your neighbour’s garden.

Q. What Do you Think Your Garden Is Missing:

A. I would dearly love an old fashioned glass greenhouse.

Cheralyn Darcey is a gardening author, community garden coordinator and along with Pete Little, hosts ‘At Home with The Gardening Gang’ 8 – 10am every Saturday on Coast FM 96.3.

Contact Cheralyn with your questions, events, news or if would like to be a part of ‘DOWN IN YOUR GARDEN’.