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  • Writer's pictureHelen Avaient

Stop and smell the Roses at the National Rose Garden in Tasmania Australia

One of the most beautiful places to view over 5,000 blooming beaties in Tasmania is at the Woolmers National Rose Garden in Longford. They range from early European roses right through to those of the twenty first century.

The garden was created to showcase the history and development of the rose, grown in Tasmanian conditions. Begun in January 2001, it continued to develop in stages over the next five years. (from a sign at the garden)

Opened in December 2001, it continues to delight visitors today. The best time to visit and catch the blossoming roses is between November and May, but this is a garden that is worth visiting any time of the year.

It is a welcome sight to see that each variety of roses here is identified with their name.

As in the nineteenth century when Woolmers was first established, the 1.53 hectare garden is laid out in a formal, symmetrical way. This includes an 800 square metre kitchen garden.

This not-for-profit organisation is mostly run by volunteers who meet weekly to manage and maintain the garden. They are always keen to have new members and make new friends. I was amazed and grateful for the work these passionate people perform here. Their labours are appreciated by all who visit and admire the beauty on display here.

The George Adams Memorial Garden is described as a central parterre garden, 100 metres long and 35 metres wide. I had to look up the meaning of the word “parterre”, it describes the garden beautifully, it means -a level space in a garden occupied by an ornamental arrangement of flower beds.

A statue of George Adams stands in the gardens as a tribute to Tattersall’s Holdings, one of the major sponsors. Other major sponsors include the Commonwealth Government and the Tasmanian Community Fund. Many business groups and private donors also contribute.

Pittosporum hedges surround the central garden and some of the side gardens.

A rill (small trickling stream - I had to look that word up too) runs down the centre and into a 24 metre lily pond at the bottom. The sound of running water is soothing as you wander around. The sweet scents the roses produce also delight.

A gorgeous pavilion is located near the entrance at the top of the garden and is a great vantage point to stand at and look down the garden towards the Woolmers estate. When I stood at the end of the rill and looked back, my eye was drawn back to the pavillion and an admiration of the symmetry here.

To the sides are 20 metre wide garden beds with have smaller section plantings. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the modern rose was developed, among these are the Hybrid Tea and Floribunda varieties. With a wide range of all colours, except blue, these flowers are showy. You will find them in a lot of public parks and gardens around Tasmania because of their beauty and continuous blooms. They are also a favourite of home gardeners.

Blue irises can be seen in the flowerbed plantings.

The white climbing roses tinged with pink are the Mme Alfred Carriere. This old fashioned beauty is being trained over a wire frame that is delightful and its strong, sweet fruity fragrance is wonderful.

I fell in love with the 80 metre long rose arbour. It is planted with Kordes’ rose Westerland. Underneath are planted Helleborous. I bet that I am not the first person to think... "I wish I had that in my garden back home!"

There are Mt Fuji cherry trees planted here, and some apple trees stand on the western boundary of the garden. The apple trees are a tribute to the extensive orchards that once grew here. Apple cider was made on the Woolmers estate and transported to the Victorian Goldfields in the 1800s.

The rose garden was such a beatiful place to visit. The flowers are so pretty to look at, and the scents were fragrant, heady and delightful. This is a garden for all the senses. As there are no steps in the garden, it is easily navigatable by people of all ages and physical abilities. Seating is well placed, inviting visitors to truly stop and smell the roses.

The estate hosts its annual Festival of Roses in late November each year. Check their website for details.

While visiting the rose garden, take one of the two tours around the Woolmers estate.

658 Woolmers Lane,

Longford, Tasmania 7301

Happy Travels!

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