Beach Cottage Growing English Roses in Australia

Fri 27th, Sep, 2013

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Good moaning from Sydney Beach Cottage ladies, no moaning here though, it’s the school holidays and the sun is shining and I’m heading down the beach at lunchtime…now not only that friends, but, wait for it, we have an English rose from an Australian garden in the house!!!   My oh my if you’ve been with me on this little corner of the internet lusting after beachy decor on a budget and pretty coastal things, listening to a forty is the new thirty year old rambling on about life Down Under, well you’ll know that the garden has been a thorn in my side and a hugeeeee learning curve…you’ll also know that the humble English rose, so taken for granted in the past was a big thing I missed…you will also be aware that I tried to grow roses and failed, more than once….so strap yourselves in this is a whole blog post on one single many petal beautifully layered old English rose.  You may want to just come back next week if roses do not be your thing, actually make that in 8 months time because I’m hoping for a long blooming season.


After heaps of failures and sad bud-less, bloom-less roses, a few months back I decided to have another attempt, after much googling of where to buy English Roses in Sydney, how to grow roses in Australia, growing roses on the coast, you get the picture,  I knew it could be done, it just needed to be right…so I set to work and ordered 6 English roses and prepared soil, chose the spots carefully and from what I read put them in hot spots, which it seems they would like, which I had presumed they wouldn’t being English I thought full on sun would make them weary and with red skin much like an Englishman in Spain.


My lovely husband helped me to dig them in and I followed the instructions on planting and settling them in, I got down on my knees and prayed to the God of Roses as we firmed them in, I watched them like a HAWK every single morning when I hung out the laundry…. I watered them, talked to them, coerced them into growing and took note of which ones were doing better in what spots…and don’t tell anyone but I stroked the pink one too.


When the first leaves and growth came I was gleeful….do not under estimate the ridiculousness of this situation….males in this house were eyebrow raising at the talk of rose growth and rose jigging, females in this house were wondering what all the fuss was about…


And then a few weeks ago buds started to appear, there was furious rosebud counting going on interspersed with the hanging of laundry…

And last week off we went to the Sunshine Coast and I knew that oh no the blooming would begin right when we were away, I did consider asking friends to pop over, take a photo and send me it on the Sunny Coast but thought this may well get me finally committed.  So instead while sunbaking on the beach, going to country houses while having serious home envy, drinking too many cocktails and sitting under the Australian sun dreaming of planting a mango tree I thought about the little hotspot in the garden with my first English rose blooming away on her own.

On the plane back I leaned across to Mr BC and asked him how he thought it was doing….you know those little emoticons that have two bulging eyes and red cheeks, there was that look about him…after a busy and stressful time in our business at the moment, I believe the well-being of my first English rose in Australia was not quite top of his mind and words to the effect of one does not give a rat’s **** were uttered.

When we got home first things first was getting Barls, second thing was going out by torchlight to check on the rose.  She had bloomed, she was petalled up to the eyeballs, she was sweet as a baby’s bottom and her scent was not like a baby’s bottom at all, at least not the ones that I have ever known…

And here she is.


And that is my ever so exciting life.

Good day.


p.s. thanks so much for your comments on the sideways pics, hoping to get this resolved soon

p.p.s my newsletter goes out today – it’s not just links to the blog, there’s a little bit extra in there, if you fancy it come on over and join up, last week we had a crockpot recipe, the week before fashion and a maxi dress, this week, well now that would be telling hahaha ;-)




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23 Responses to “Beach Cottage Growing English Roses in Australia”

  1. Jenny McAteer says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Your roses are oh so beautiful and I think well worth all of the nurturing that you have put in. Would love to now the names of the blooms you have photographed and will see if our conditions are suitable for them in our new garden. Its school holidays start in NZ next week and our sporty teen is off to training camp for almost a week so fingers crossed we can finally get to finish off our new garden and seating area. I’ve been spending a while this afternoon dreaming over an amazing book flowers at home by Sandra Kaminski and if you havn’t already seen it, think that it is one you might enjoy.

  2. Lisa Mckenzie says:

    Beautiful Sarah you must be so proud ,My dad grows stunning roses and they smell divine ,I am so happy that they are growing and they bloomed for you xx

  3. kerrie says:

    I see your Gwenyth Paltrow cookbook :)

  4. Jodi R says:

    Such a beautiful rose. Even if your family don’t get it you are not crazy. There is something wonderful about growing things yourself especially when you have struggled & really worked for it. Enjoy your beautiful rewards.

  5. Karen says:

    Well done – they look v v pretty and are no mean feat in the land Down Under! x

  6. Alice says:

    oh Sarah!!!! She is a real beaut rose! Well done girl.. English rose is my most favorite out of all roses… Their scent is heavenly and I can smell them from several houses away whenever I am out walking….

  7. Sam says:

    Sarah…I dont’ seem to be getting your newsletter…each time I try to sign up it says I am already signed up…..any ideas?

    xx Sam

  8. merilyn says:

    they are beautiful sarah! nothing like those old English rose perfumes!
    lucky you can share your joy with the “girlfriends!”
    roses grow beautifully in sth aus … it isn’t as humid as the eastern states.
    cheers! lol m:)x

  9. I love those photographs they look very professional, it all looks very vintage which is great. Want to come decorate my house now? :)

  10. Yay!! My fave flower EVER….nice work!! x

  11. Silvana says:

    LOVE how you ‘stroked the pink one’. That’s something I would do!

  12. Narelle says:

    Sarah – one word. LOVE.
    I feel your pain – my thorn is my potted lime tree. Each year it gets a proliferation of flowers (they’ve started this week), that slowly turn into teeny tiny beginnings of a lime….then they drop off and nothing eventuates. Three years and no fruit. sigh. But I do love your rose. Enjoy! Narelle

    • sarah says:

      same here with my citrus trees, I haven’t had a single fruit yet, lots of growth though, I’ve been googling it like mad with no luck yet…patience I guess !

  13. Anonymous says:

    I love your rose.

    Mr alison and I have just embarked on our rose journey. Nice to hear about you stressing about your roses while on holidays. Strangely I too have been worrying about our 2 new rose plants back home while we’ve had a week on Kangaroo Island.I’m worried about possums eating the flowers. I may do a torch inspection tonight.


  14. Neen says:

    SUPERB !!! no mean feat near the coast, well done you !! :) Neen
    PS: I am “nursing” my roses after transplanting them in Autumn, fingers crossed I have the success you have finally had !!

  15. Elisha Ross says:

    Hi there. A new follower to your blog am I. You take such lovely pictures can I just say. I did laugh at your obsession with the roses. I do that with my dahlias and worry about them every year while we are away over the new year and pray to god they haven’t been scorched to death in the heat. The joys of gardening.

  16. Deb says:

    Applause! Applause! This gorgeous flower certainly deserves it. And so do you, Sarah!
    I think most people who care for their garden worry about the plants in it. I know I do. And seeing the blooms is such a grand reward.
    Post a photo when the whole bush is in bloom!!!