Meet Brigitte Eckardt, Rose grower, Green E Roses
Need some advice on roses? Meet a walking rose encyclopedia!
Interview: Linda Ross
How did Green E Roses start?
My husband Klaus comes from a long line of rose growers in Germany. After the war they came to Australia and choose to propagate weeping standard roses for Hazelwood’s Nursery, bringing that skill to Australia. So, we are four generations of rose growers here.
Do you have a favourite rose?
My love is for wild, old-fashioned, romantic, rambling roses. I do love ‘Duchess du Brabant’ . She is old tea rose, the first to start flowering in spring and the last to finish flowering in winter – she actually flowered all winter this year.
What roses should country gardeners choose that defy the drought?
I recommend large ramblers for country areas. The Banksia Rose is tough, flowers for 4-5 weeks, and looks after herself. ‘Veilchenblau’ is an once-flowering violet-purple rose that should be planted more often and ‘Dorothy Perkins’ is a great pink. ‘Cherokee’ is a wonderful white rose for a large rambling hedge or over a fence. Groundcover roses are also great for large areas around a dam, they’ll expand to 10m wide. Think ‘Red Meidiland’ or the red ‘Gardener’s Pleasure’. And don’t forget the rugosa roses for dry areas – they come in pink, white and doubles, and have decorative serrated and wonderful hips. These are the source of rose hip oil in beauty products.
What roses do you recommend for small gardens?
I think David Austin has bred the most beautiful roses in the world - they tend to repeat flower, have large blooms and are fragrant. I just adore the knee-high ones like ‘Temora’ and ‘Pretty Jessica’. If someone tells what they want the rose I can suggest one to match. I’m a walking encyclopedia!
What are your feeding secrets?
Late autumn feeding provides the food for spring flowers so hold back any spring fertiliser until the first flush of flowers, which can be late October. Then we fertilise after every flush of flowers; we like eco-aminogro. Heavy clay soils will hold onto fertiliser while sandy soil will let go of fertiliser and you’ll need to top up more often with your own compost to increase microorganisms.
Catch Klaus and Brigitte at the Green E Roses stand 68 at the 2020 Collectors’ Plant Fair.