Now with all the time in the world, I decided to 'reclaim' the rose garden. I wish I had taken a photo of it before I started, but this will give you an idea. It was totally taken over by weeds and tall grasses; there were blackberries everywhere; the old climbing rose had run rampant and many of the others had reverted to root stock and had to be removed entirely.
The soil was dry and hard and removing weeds took some effort, especially as the kikuyu lawn had invaded a large part of the garden. We laid newspapers on the bare soil, then spread bark mulch to hopefully slow down regrowth and help retain moisture.
A couple of weeks later and the transformation is complete. We will have to do some replanting, but overall we are happy with our labours.