Roses at Red Cow03 October 2019 Robin Powell
Seduced by the colour, forms and perfumes of roses, Ali Mentesh has already collected some 200 to adorn the garden rooms at Red Cow Farm.
Can he choose a favourite?
Albertine' is a vigorous rambling rose that for nearly two months in spring is covered with fragrant salmon pink flowers. She's a feature around the lake at Red Cow Farm.
Roses are central to the dreamy delights of Red Cow Farm, a 2.5 hectare garden just outside the village of Sutton Forest in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Gardened by Ali Mentesh and Wayne Morrissey, Red Cow Farm is a series of 20 garden rooms, each with its own mood and linked by subtle, clever planning. And while roses don’t feature in every one of the beautiful garden pictures that have been created since Ali and Wayne bought the 1820s cottage in 1990, they are an early, and enduring passion.
The clay-loam soil and cool winters at Sutton Forest favour rose-growing and there are now some 200 roses in the still-growing Red Cow Farm collection. David Austin roses have always been favoured for their wonderful perfumes and flower forms, though recently more modern shrub roses and climbers have found their way into the garden. The criteria for nabbing a prized spot is strong growth, good flowers, whether single or double, and a wonderful perfume. Ali likes to plant shrub roses in groups of five or seven to form a really substantial shrub that has great presence in the garden.
'Princess Alexandra of Kent'
The love of roses has often called for back-breaking sacrifice: a sudden passion for the exquisite apricot-orange blooms of the David Austin rose ‘ Crown Princess Margareta’ required a revamp of the entire Monastery Garden; a stone-walled courtyard, built stone by stone by Ali and Wayne over 18 months, was all for displaying climbing roses.
So I shouldn't have been surprised that when I asked Ali about his favourite roses, he came back to me with a list of 61! Together we’ve whittled this down to highlight just a few extraordinary roses; read about them in Ali's article: Seven star performers at Red Cow Farm.