Roses are not generally something that you expect to find growing abundantly in the tropical gardens of the Sunshine Coast, but Caz Owens, a most lovely rose gardener, recently introduced me to her beautiful little patch of earth where roses flourish unexpectedly in her own wonderful secret garden. I have long held a passion for all things floral, so I can well understand when someone is drawn to the beauty of gardening, in particular, that of gardening roses.
Caz is a bit of a rose herself. A divinely sweet individual, that blossoms amongst her garden. I think she treats her roses as friends… and friends as roses, and meeting her and her garden is an incredibly special experience. Like friends, she knows each by name, their heavenly characteristics like little personalities that she both appreciates and nurtures.
If you follow her Instagram page (organicafloretrosesfarm) – which is filled with her spectacular blossoms, you will always see the hashtag #ilovemyjob, and I can indeed see why that might be… I would love her job! Her property is hidden away, at Eudlo.
Entering the property, which is a trail amongst some lush natural bushland, the last thing you expect to find is a plot of roses. But as you near the house, a beautiful cottage garden begins to unfold. Follow the trail a little further and the bushland opens up into weaving terraces of roses.
The hum of bees is almost deafening. I am sure if the bee world had Instagram they would be using the hashtag #ilovemyjob as well as it is most definitely a bee’s enchanted garden.
One of the things I loved most about Caz’s property is the whimsy found throughout. Caz used to own gift shops, so has amassed quite a few trinkets over the years, so the gardens are speckled with lovely little mementoes that make you smile… and sometimes laugh, or sometimes just stop and think. Wildlife embeds itself within; a beautiful little green frog says hello from the safety of a nasturtium flower. You can’t help but be enfolded by a sense of bliss and happiness. But it is really the roses that leave the biggest impression of all.
There are dozens of varieties. Each rose is stunningly beautiful and breathtakingly fragrant, the fragrance greeting and surrounding you for your entire visit. Possibly through hybridisation and mass production, roses just don’t smell like this anymore, most bouquet roses, if they do smell at all, owe their fragrance to artificial means. But not these ones! And as diverse their appearance, as is their scent.
Caz is a collector of heritage and modern garden roses, amongst them many David Austin roses, a breed of rose developed by a rose loving Englishman in the 1950’s, who wished to preserve the beauty of scented old world English roses and who has since developed hundreds of rose varieties and cultivars. Good news for Caz… she is not going run out of roses to add to her collection any time soon!
Heritage roses are quite distinctive in appearance. Rather than the rigid blossoms on long stems found in traditional bouquets, these are beautiful full blossoms that spill elegantly open revealing several perfect layers. They are a favourite in wedding bouquets and more recently on cakes and desserts. Which brings me to the added bonus of Caz’s roses, in that her property follows organic principles and is entirely chemical free, which means that while the roses are incredibly beautiful and could be cherished for appearances alone, they are also edible. Normally roses are shrouded in a mist of toxins, leaving them unsuitable from a gourmet perspective, however, that is where these divine inspirations of nature come into their own, and are currently in great demand.
Petals are sprinkled through salads, while stunning full blossoms adorn wedding cakes throughout the Sunshine Coast as a symbol of love and romance. Desserts are almost overshadowed by these floral heroes and cocktails have never tasted (or looked) better!
The colour spectrum is almost overwhelming; from purest whites, slightly tinted creams and faintly rouged pinks, right through to the deepest, most vivacious crimson and vivid pink. There is even a variegated rose. I was particularly enamoured by the shades of mushroom pink, taupe and almost coffee coloured roses. Normally I would find these colours quite unremarkable in a rose, but unexpectedly, the ruffled layers are suddenly a favourite, possibly due to their scarcity. It’s the ruffles I think…
Caz began her garden a number of years ago almost as a form of therapy. It is reasoning I understand all too well. There is something special about a garden, where hours are whiled away in silence and serenity and nature constantly inspires a peaceful reverie. Once the roses took hold, the garden took on its own natural evolution to accommodate each and every one, an evolution that continues and that has seen the garden expand substantially and continue to do so.
While Caz’s focus is on roses, she also grows a number of other edible flowers throughout the season, resulting in a beautiful rambling garden that flows in and amongst the roses. Caz supplies roses to the hospitality industry as well as cake decorators and florists, which has seen them almost outshine the brides at weddings throughout the season.
Coming home with some spectacular blossoms to photograph, with the final purpose of turning into rose petal liqueur, it almost pained me to pluck the petals… hence only making a small batch this time around. I wil