It is early in the morning and I am wandering around the rose gardens at Old Parliament House, one of my favourite places in the city and a hidden treasure in plain sight. It is cool enough for a jacket now and cooler still as the dew clings to my toes while I meander across the grass in sandals that should have been packed away already. I never do seem to make the right decision regarding appropriate footwear but the roses don't seem to mind so neither do I.
In a rose garden, as in life, one should never underestimate the beauty of a late bloom. Early autumn is such a wonderful time in the rose garden. The abundance of spring has passed, the heady scent of summer is almost gone and what is left is the final act of a beauty we won't see again for many months. The ground is littered with a long season of petals shaken by the wind, fallen from age and now bound to the earth and the plant that bore it. Each faded or blemished leaf, every single one tells the story of the roses through their bloom - a spring of high heat followed by a long but rain-sodden summer - and row upon row of bushes studded with rose hips is a sign that busy bees have been at work here and had a happy season too.
"Stop and smell the roses" is uttered all too often and acted upon not nearly often enough, don't you think? After checking for spiders, I took my own advice and must have stuck my nose in every single rose in the garden. Gently cupping each flower in my hand, closing my eyes, breathing in their perfume, feeling the different textures of the petals as they brushed my face. Truly being there and appreciating the moment. A thoroughly marvellous way to spend a morning.