Post-tour to “A Fairytale of Roses” – By Sheenagh Harris

Text and photographs, Sheenagh Harris

After a very hectic and most enjoyable convention in Copenhagen, 9 of the 22 South African delegates, joined the post- convention tour of about 70 people to Sweden.  The Heritage Rose Society members were Monika van Heerden and her husband Colin, Claire Meyer and her husband William and Sheenagh Harris. Henny Johansson, President of the Swedish Rose Society gave us a great welcome and travelled with us for the 4 days of this well organised and most pleasurable finale to our time in Scandinavia.

From Denmark to Sweden the route took us over the Øresund Bridge which is nearly 8 Km long and includes a tunnel under the water to Skåne and on to the Rose Garden and open-air museum of Fredriksdal in Helsingborg. Lars-Ake Gustavsson, well known in the rose world, was our guide among the collection of 280-300 genotypes of the most valuable old Swedish garden roses, two of which are depicted below…sorry no names!  The formal garden with old roses tumbling over arches was particularly beautiful.

After tea and coffee with delicious eats made by the Rose Society members, we boarded our comfortable bus to Gothenburg Rosarium on the West Coast of Sweden.

After a night in a comfortable hotel and a delicious dinner we were ready and eager for the 2 private gardens to be visited on Day Two.  The first garden overlooks the sea at Dramsvik, near Ljungskile.  Our generous host from the Swedish Rose Society had the tea table groaning with homemade eats including Eggoost which could have been mistaken for pudding. It is a traditional dish served in this part of Sweden.

Over another long bridge to the island of Orust for the next private garden at Lunna.  It was hot with unusually high temperatures and our host had glasses of cold elderberry cordial to quench our thirst. We were given a picnic lunch that we enjoyed with rose friends in this pretty garden.    

The afternoon was spent at the Gothenburg Botanical Gardens which were planned by the local municipality and opened in 1923.   I did’t find any roses but enjoyed the many orchids and disas in the glass  house, including plants found in South Africa.  We had a special dinner lasting 2 hours at the Gothenburg Opera Restaurant that night.

Each day in Sweden we traveled through agricultural countryside with atractive farm houses, mostly wooden, painted in pastel colours and as we hopped from island to island there was often a view of the sea.  Many fields were brown due to the lack of rain and high temperatures. Our first stop on day 3 was an 18th Century estate – Gunnabo House with a formal garden surrounding the mansion and a productive and interesting vegetable garden.

Pre-tour to “A Fairytale of Roses” by Claire Meyer



Text and photos by Claire Meyer

On the 21st June 2018, my husband and I had the great privilege, together with 20 other South Africans to attend the World Rose Convention in Denmark.


There was a pre and post tour option offered before and after the rose conference.  We jumped at this ‘once in a life time’ opportunity. The tours certainly exceeded our highest expectations.  As we experienced and saw so much during this week, I can only touch on some of the highlights for this article.


On the 22nd June, we left Copenhagen for Torben Thim’s nursery located on Løve Mark.  The nursery was founded in 1930 by Valdemar Pedersen.  Torben Thim took over the nursery in 1979 and has since developed and refined this unique collection of roses. Thim’s nursery is truly worth a visit and not only for the roses but the entire, park-like grounds. We spent the morning enjoying Thim’s vast knowledge of plants and roses.


After lunch we headed for the small island of Als, where we visited Hyldebjerggård – a truly magnificent garden. Ejnar Jorgensen, the owner is meticulous with no shortage of attention to detail. Walking around this garden was a totally mesmerizing experience. All the roses were in full bloom – combinations of Hybrid Tea’s, Old Garden Roses, modern roses and climbers. This garden has 775 roses of 440 different varieties.  It was here that I realised how important heritage roses are and how they complement all the other roses.  It was amazing to see how Mr Jorgensen, in his small garden, with careful planning, had incorporated so much, especially the old roses on the outskirts.  It was truly a memorable visit. This was the first day of many beautiful outings.



As we continued our way, the gardens seem to become more and more spectacular. Another outstanding garden was ‘Rudolph’s Place’ also on the island of Als. Marianne, the owner, is living her dream of a big and luxuriant romantic garden filled with the most beautiful flowering roses, perennials, bushes, trees and annuals.  A place of harmony with

small lakes and streams.  Today she has over 700 old garden roses, ramblers, climbers, David Austin and other modern roses in all scents and colours. Here I noticed how she had grown old roses into old pear and apple trees giving a most striking visual effect.


Another interesting and old garden is the Geographical Garden in Kolding.  This is an educational park and botanical garden.  The gardens have thousands of roses, many being old varieties.  After spending a short time viewing the modern roses, I was drawn to the magnificent and expansive old rose collection.  All the roses have name plates which made

identification easy as many of the rose bushes had finished blooming. The number of different varieties was mind-boggling.


I cannot describe how marvelous this tour was.  I learnt so much, especially about old roses and how to incorporate them into garden design.  To top it all, the weather was unbelievable – very unusual and according to the Danes, the best summer in 100 years!



Back at Garlington

Back at Garlington
Jackie Kalley owner/editor at Otterley Press,
Jackie Kalley owner/editor at Otterley Press,

Jackie Kalley, recent recipient of the Zoë Gilbert Award for outstanding service to world of roses, gives her eloquent and often humorous account of the development of the Garlington Heritage Rose garden.  Follow her blogs over the next few months to stay in touch with the progress of this incredible project to conserve the old roses of the KZN Midlands. You can join in the fun by contacting Gail Birss (see the Midlands Rose Society Page) or contact us via



20170704_100319_resized (002)The Bobcat smudged the borders of our carefully calculated beds so tape measures at the ready, we met on site. The real allure of the morning was the prospect of a  vision coming to fruition. The arches and their side struts were piled in the centre of the garden – an innocuous pile of metal with the potential to transform the garden. We sorted out the paths into the garden (once again!) while Gill and Gail talked earnestly on the tactics of arch construction; there was more measuring and with the capable help of Voyo, holes were dug, the side struts erected and suddenly nuts and bolts were called for and the arch was fixed in place.


No concrete was used as roses don’t care for concrete. Excitingly our entrance tunnel of six arches followed the master plan; the side arches went up quickly as our tactics were by now perfected but the three-arched exit caused consternation. The two  entrance/exit gates were not identically opposite each other ! In fact there was a 90 cm difference made all the more acute as the centre of the gate was then not the centre of the arch and the long run of string from one gate to the other revealed just how badly out of sync it was. Eventually we decided the arches had to be exactly opposite each other and to call in the fencing firm to move the gate…  otherwise they would have been forever out of kilter and spoilt the whole design. The bad gremlin continued to wreak havoc.

The ground on that side was so hard  the bottom horizontal on the strut was bent ; Gail was wheezing from her bout of flu and shouldn’t have been there at all so we gazed in awe at our twelve arches standing proud and left the last three in the dust for next time.

20170704_112535_resized (002)

Ludwig’s driver (from Ludwig’s Roses – one of our sponsors) offloaded a treasure trove of roses,  now in safe custody until we can plant them but we can’t do that until the irrigation pipes have been installed. When will that be? Why is one thing always contingent on yet another??

It’s all happening at Garlington!!!

Jackie Kalley owner/editor at Otterley Press,
Jackie Kalley 

Jackie Kalley, recent recipient of the Zoë Gilbert Award for outstanding service to world of roses, gives her eloquent and often humorous account of the development of the Garlington Heritage Rose garden.  Follow her blogs over the next few months to stay in touch with the progress of this incredible project to conserve the old roses of the KZN Midlands. You can join in the fun by contacting Gail Birss (see the Midlands Rose Society Page) or contact us via



We arrived at the newly levelled and fenced  Garlington  Estate land – dusty, brown and empty. A  long stick, tape measure, mallet and a large ball of thick string were our main tools along with lots of enthusiasm  and laughter.

Our first task was to  find the centre of the garden which we accomplished quite quickly . Then on to mark out a one and a half metre path around the perimeter wide enough  to accommodate two people  walking  comfortably side by side to view the roses, or  for a lawnmower or wheelchair to be easily pushed around.

Jackie Kalley marking the way forward
Jackie Kalley marking the way forward

Our trusty stick proved to be an excellent marker and we tried to spray paint the marks  to delineate the path but the white disappeared into the sand… we implemented Plan B and tied the  thick green string  on to short stakes, all of which had to hammered into the hard earth. As the area is 40×30 square metres this took a little time but voila! A walkway appeared out of the dust. We had to take cognizance of the archways – six at  the entrance and the three each at the middle of the other sides. “Easy”, we thought and it was……But when we completed the first two they were not  directly opposite each other! Can you imagine the comments of visiting engineers if that remained the case. The fencing that we used as a yardstick was marginally shorter than it should have been. So, much measuring later, we got it right.

Then we had to measure out the magnificent six-arch entrance. The air turned blue as we initially marked it out on the wrong side! Too much talking I guess……

The real geometrical test was yet to come – to create an oval  in the middle of the garden. Several small drawings appeared in the sand and intense discussion on circles and intersecting concentric  circles ensued.

In the end it was quite easily done by creating a huge circle that touched the end of the paths  on two opposite sides of the ground and a freehand-joining to the other two  completing the oval. It actually worked! We again had to secure our markings with green string and bricks to keep it in place dreading windy gusts that  would blow away our work, so carefully calculated!

The magic oval
The magic oval

Sounds complicated? Of course it wasn’t! Just a trifling exercise in measuring interspersed with laughing, a  few tense moments and a fair amount of pride to see the first step in creating our Heritage Garden come to fruition.

10 Reasons to Join a Rose Society

You will receive:

  1. Information on forthcoming shows and rose-related events.
  2. Invitations to attend free demonstrations on different aspects of rose care.
  3. The opportunity to visit breathtaking gardens not open to the public.
  4. Information on newly released products and rose remedies.
  5. Discounts on certain rose fertilisers.
  6. Local newsletters.
  7. National newsletters from ROSA.
  8. ROSA Annual with news and views from all over South Africa and abroad.
  9. Affiliation with the World Federation of Rose Societies and all the benefits derived therefrom.
  10. The opportunity to travel to world rose conventions.

Become a member now by contacting the Secretary of ROSA or a Rose Society in your area.