• Gabrielle Stannus

A rose by any other name

So no, this is not a blog about me and my personal attributes! Rather it is about the flowers, and other things, we saw at this weekend's Festival of Roses held at the historic Woolmers Estate near Longford. Woolmers Estate, together with the neighbouring Archer property, Brickendon, is one of eleven Australian convict sites awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2010. It is also home to the National Rose Garden built in 2001. We didn't manage to see the historic homestead during our visit. Instead, we chose to enjoy the great outdoors while the sun was out. Check out some of the things we found that inspired us.


A rose by any other name

Stop and smell the roses ... ahem, they're not roses! Ludovic and Celeste get up close and personal with some heavily fragrant rosemary and curry bush

That's not a rose! Yes, you are quite correct. There are many other plants in various gardens across Woolmers Estate, including this Digitalis purpurea (Common Foxglove)

Ludovic getting the sense of being one of the estate's original "labourers" (e. convicts). Behave or I'll lock the door!

One day I will have a verandah like this. And maybe even a wisteria too! Actually, I think I would prefer a grape vine with edible fruit. Yum :)

As well as all the plants, there were a few animals on site. Can you guess which animal below was each of our favourites? That is, me (Gabrielle), Ludovic and Celeste? I bet you can't :)



See that mountain in the middle of the background. Well that is Dry's Bluff at the end of the Great Western Tiers. And that readers is where we live!

Orange is the new black

Rose garden panorama taken by Celeste

"Very English" is how Ludovic may have described this garden. Or maybe I am just putting words into his (French) mouth?!

Here are a few photos showing you some of the roses that caught my attention. I really liked the simplicity of Rosa ecea 'Pimpinellifolia'. At first, I thought it was a Hibbertia spp. (Guinea Flower) out of place in the rose garden. No, just another rose. But not one of those fancy-schmancy double-bloomed extroverts!!! Next time, I will just have to try moving the leaf covering the top petal out of the way before taking the shot. Still learning!


Rosa ecea 'Pimpinellifolia'

Rosa 'Sally Holmes, a musk rose

Well, who's going to argue with this name? I might for a start! However, I prefer to think that if we just look we can find the beauty in all things, even roses

Red rose! Why wouldn't it open up for me?

Hats off to botanical photographers. I will be boning up taking better plant photos over the coming months. Even the slightest breeze makes it difficult to focus the camera. I think the area where I can most improve on to start is patience. I bet that doesn't surprise some of you! It seems to be all about the lighting and timing. Knowing in advance what is blooming when would definitely help, so obviously good botanical knowledge is an asset that photographers of plants must have.


Here are a few botanical photography tips as shared by Anne McKinnell on Digital Photography School:

  1. Photograph flowers on an overcast day

  2. Backlight will make your flowers glow

  3. Watch out for wind

  4. Get closer

  5. Use a reflector

  6. Avoid a cluttered background

  7. Use a shallow depth of field

  8. Make it sharp

  9. Change your point of view

  10. Focus through another flower


And for those people more interested in propagating, rather than photographing plants, we highly recommend Angus Stewart's book: Let's Propagate. I was able to convince Ludovic that we should buy a copy from Petrarch's stall at the festival. Well actually, Ludovic wanted it too. So all good there! Angus is an Australian horticulturist, gardening author and former television presenter on Gardening Australia. He is well-known for his work breeding of Kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos spp.). Angus has moved to Tasmania for the cooler climate and now lives on the Tasman peninsula. So I am keeping my eyes open as to what he gets up to down here so I can learn from him.

Look what message Angus scribed to use on his book. Hmmm, was he being a little cheeky?

It was a very enjoyable day at Woolmers Estate. While roses still haven't made it to the top of my floral picks, I would highly recommend a visit to the gardens here. Spring is obviously the time the flowers are blooming. However, if you are interested in history, then any time of year would be great to take a walk around the estate to check out its buildings and artefacts. But ... this being Tassie, just remember to rug up if you're planning a winter trip.

The rose garden at Woolmers Estate

I will be getting out and about more frequently over the coming months, seeking to improve my photo-taking. Stay tuned for more plant photos. Maybe I might even put in a request to Santa for a new camera? Hmmm ... what do you want for Christmas? It's almost that time of the year. Where has 2018 gone?


Well, 2019 is not yet upon us. So let's just stay in the moment and enjoy the spring-time blossoms before the heat of summer hits.


A bientôt!

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