Mostly Roses
Rose Heaven in WA's Beautiful South West

A truly beautiful rural garden, small farm, and once a nursery, Mostly Roses is the dream of Seamus Johnston, who has created a stunning garden at Newlands, near Balingup, just under 3 hours drive from Perth City. Seamus is dedicated to the preservation of Heritage Roses through propagation and carefully nurturing his plants. You can visit Mostly Roses, but by appointment only. You can contact Seamus HERE.  PRHRiA are huge fans of Mostly Roses, and we hope you also enjoy a snapshot into Seamus' rosey life. 

"I bought Mostly Roses at the end of 2002".

It had been operating as a nursery from the early 90’s. I immediately set about changing the garden. The roses in the garden were all growing on weed mat (not a good idea). All was removed. The next task was to remove 25 conifer trees. Roses and conifers are not a good combination. I removed a lot of the existing poor performing roses in the garden.

 

Over the years since I’ve planted hundreds of new rose bushes. I grow a wide range of roses from the huge Brunonii, Dorothy Perkins to the modern Hultemia Persica range which grow very well here. I continue to plant. This year I’m planting about 80 more.

 

All the roses are grafted on Fortuniana rootstock. However some in the new bed shall be on their own roots. Like Lady Curzon as I want it to sucker. Others to contain their size. There are a few grown from seed. A seedling of Madam Isaac Perrier looks promising (pale pink flowers). In total I have approximately 1,550 roses.

 

Soil

The soil in the original rose garden was very poor. A mix of quartz and sand. But roses can still grown well with a high quality fertiliser. All the bushes I planted are on imported loam, sourced from another area on the property.

 

Fertiliser

I don’t use sudden impact as most rose growers do. I mainly use Yara Mila with chicken and cow manure. Yara Mila is a 12N 5P 15K blend with trace elements. Plus 1.6mg. Sudden impact is too expensive and contains 9N 4P 12K with just 0.8mg. A minuscule amount is organic but most is sulphates. I couldn’t give it a tick of approval (sorry growers). Yara Mila complex is available at Landmark or Elders stores. It is in competition with Bunnings, so can never buy from there.

 

Pruning

I prefer to prune lightly (of course sometimes a heavy prune is necessary). I try to retain as much new wood as possible. The heritage roses get very little pruning, most of it is done in summer. There are exceptions like Princess De Sagan which if not pruned exhausts itself trying to push out all the flowers

 

Weeds & Mulch

I encourage weeds to grow in the winter (the annuals). I then pull, mow or poison and use for summer mulch. Sometimes the weeds do overtake everything like last spring when The Heritage Group were here. I was out of action for a week and the weeds took advantage. If any members want cuttings or bud wood from the garden, they are very welcome.

 

After I prune in Winter I spray with Lime Sulphur on the bush and the ground under the rose. That is it for the rest of the year. The 155 potash in Yara Mila really helps to keep bushes healthy. However I do spray Mme Isaac Pereire, Kathleen Harrop, Zephrine Drouhin with Triforine sometime to control Mildew and Blackspot. I rarely have Aphid problem, the birds take care of them here. I sometimes have to spray for Spring Beetle. Dublin Bay in front of the vineyard are their favourite. I spray with Danadim, it controls for about three weeks, by then their life cycle is over.

 

Pest Control

After I prune in Winter I spray with Lime Sulphur on the bush and the ground under the rose. That is it for the rest of the year. The 155 potash in Yara Mila really helps to keep bushes healthy. However I do spray Mme Isaac Pereire, Kathleen Harrop, Zephrine Drouhin with Triforine sometime to control Mildew and Blackspot. I rarely have Aphid problem, the birds take care of them here. I sometimes have to spray for Spring Beetle. Dublin Bay in front of the vineyard are their favourite. I spray with Danadim, it controls for about three weeks, by then their life cycle is over.

 

Water

The roses are watered via a drip system. They receive a deep watering once a week. Water is sourced from one of the dams. Water quality is important. I always try to maintain the pH at 7. New roses when planted in the first year are watered daily.

 

Sadly I shall not grow roses for sale anymore with the exceptions of a few left overs from my own plantings. I shall look forward to seeing you all here when you would like to visit.