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Making Sure The Old Rambling Roses in Guildford, Western Australia Keep Blooming

Published on: 19 Nov, 2012
Updated on: 19 Nov, 2012

From Guildford, Western Australia, Barbara Dundas writes…

An old rose hedge dating to around 1851-52 still survives in Guildford, although accidental spraying had decimated the stock.

The Guildford Association organised a planting of two-year-old rose stock, taken from these same plants on the embankment, next to existing plantings. Students from Poly Technic west prepared the ground and planted the 12 new roses.

Pictured is Wendy, one of the Guildford Association members who waters the young roses through summer to increase their opportunities of survival. Barbara says: “We have a supportive community who cares for its town.”

Next year the students will take cuttings to extend the plantings onto the Guildford town embankment, where the roses bloomed up to five years ago before they were accidently sprayed and bulldozed out by a government department.

Students examining a spray-damaged rose.

I have included below part of a speech on the rose by John Viska, the president of the Western Australia branch of the Garden History Society of Australia. The variety is called Manettii, and they were either brought out to Australia by Lieut Du Can, or the stock was already growing in the town site. I hope any Guildford UK visitors to Guildford WA will make sure they view the progress of this community planting.

Rosa manettii  is an early hybrid raised by Dr Manetti in 1837, while he was associated with the Milan Botanical Garden in Italy. It was  the result of a cross between a Chinese rose newly introduced to horticulture in the early 1800s and a European rose. The resultant plant proved to be a robust hybrid inheriting the best features of the two rose parents and more importantly, admirably suited to warm climates.

Rose planting by the Swan River, Western Australia.

The Manettii rose has been part of Guildford’s history since the 1850s, when Lieut Du Cane of the Royal Engineers in 1854 noted: “I have planted roses all along the embankments approaching my bridge. They have all shot and flowered already and are splendid.”

This suggests that the plant was very well established in the colony and able to provide sufficient propagating material for the project. The rose with its inherent suckering habit was an ideal choice to hold the embankment to arrest erosion.

This beautiful hedge of roses had been regularly sprayed and then bulldozed out by a government department. But now this is the site planned for the next student rose planting in two years’ time.
Lieut Du Cane lived in Guildford UK for a period and married Ellen Mangles (from Woodbridge). We believe the roses were used to both stabilise and beautify the bridge embankments. they are wonderful link between the early history of Western Australia and Guildford UK.

Rose growing has been an essential element of the garden history of Western Australia, with some early nurseries located in the Guildford area; the Harper & Price Nursery at Woodbridge House in the 1890s being a prime example.

The rose was successfully used as bud stock by Mr H A Bird of West Guildford, and writing to the Swan Express in 1918, he stated: “I have been experimenting during the past three years with our Guildford rambler, found growing on the riverbanks and on the Caversham Road, to use as stock upon which to graft and bud weaker varieties of roses, and have found it to be highly satisfactory.”

Manettii rose by Barker’s Bridge, Caversham, Western Australia.

Charles Rhodes, a nurseryman of Ethel Street, Guildford, also successfully experimented with the Guildford rambler.

We have another celebration planned. for 2013 as it will be 100 years since an artillery regiment was first based in Guildford. The Guildford Association is working with the Artillery Association to organise an appropriate celebration and possibly a memorial in November next year.

 

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