‘The Jurlique Rose’ has 40 petals per bloom and, with parentage from one of Thomson’s best performers, flowers from mid-November through to April – about two months longer than the gallica roses that have traditionally been the mainstay of the farm. Just a few years after the initial planting, the 1200 ‘Jurlique’ roses yield about the same petal harvest as the 2000 gallicas.
The Jurlique farm is organic and biodynamic. All of the ingredients for the products – including yarrow, valerian, elderflower, rosemary, calendula and chamomile – are grown across the 105 acres, but roses are the major crop. Black spot is not an issue in the dry air, and garlic planted between the roses deters aphids. Biodynamic preparations are added to the compost, which is used as fertiliser, alongside a dose of Neutrog’s Rapid Raiser in February, and Seamungus in July after pruning.
Biodynamic philosophies also guide planting and harvesting. “It’s about farming with the heart,” says Cherie Hutchinson, farm production manager, “working with the rhythms of nature, and the moon. So we harvest when the moon is passing through an air sign, to get the flower at its peak, which translates into the produce.”
The farm is open for tours and Hutchinson is developing the existing demonstration garden to tell the story of ‘The Jurlique Rose’ through the ancestors involved in Thomson’s breeding programme. It will make a fitting tribute to Thomson’s half century of work on Australian roses.