Take a nice deep breath...

...and relax

aaah...the exquisite rose "Jude the Obscure", bred by David Austin - a stem with its cluster of beautiful flowers, in stages from bud to petal fall, brought inside to enjoy away from the damaging wind.  Although in this image I have used dramatic backlighting, it shows the subtle buff and yellow colouring and the soft cup-shape of the blooms.  Even more exquisite is the perfume - the scent of old roses with a soft fruity note, powerful, sumptuous, calming - and alas, unable to be shared with you. 

The end of the year can be a curiously stressful time in New Zealand - the end of the year for schools and universities, time for summer holidays, Christmas, New Year - all times for celebration and festivity, but we humans evolved to experience any change as stress and we have cultural habits that can make things more demanding and more stressful and less enjoyable than we anticipate.  Fortunately for rose-lover me, the end of the year also brings a magnificence of roses.  Now, roses have a bad rap - lots of people think of them as delicate, needing all kinds of artificial life support, especially feeding and spraying.  Roses bred for their gorgeous flowers at the expense of the robustness of the plant may need lots of coddling.  But rose species can be very tough indeed, and roses which are closer to that essential nature, grown in environments which meet their needs, survive and thrive without special treatment.  In the inhospitable zone called my garden many do very well.  These are never sprayed, never fertilised, and watered judiciously.  They may not have exhibition-type blooms, but I love them.

The pretty pink "Mrs Doreen Pike," also a David Austin rose - perfumed, tough, with characteristics from the coastal rose species Rosa rugosa.  These flowers have been through gale force winds in the last few days, and I have photographed them in what is regarded as the least flattering light - very bright daylight. 

As I did with this image too, appropriately for its name, the rose "Sunlit"...

This is a more modern style rose bred in the 1930's by the Australian rose breeder Alister Clark.  It is not a large bush, unlike many of his roses, but is very robust and seems to be in flower almost all year.  Again, the light is too bright really, and unflattering, but I wanted to share it because it is such a delightful old friend and gives me great pleasure despite the very windy sunny days we are having.