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Lea Newing, Jamie Kronberg

I came involved in Heritage Roses when I met Rose Marsh at the Upper Blackwood Show, my ex-husband was invited to open the Upper Blackwood Show as that year the Show was featuring breds of pigs - and we were right into breeding and raising pigs.  Rose was volunteering her services on a Writers Stand - Rose has a flair for writing poetry and short stories - the book I purchased and her dear husband William eulogy attests to how clever she is. 


At that Show Rose asked me if I was interested in gardening and roses - she then told me how she and William would drive to Bridgetown and surrounds looking for roses growing over fences, down lanes, in cemeteries, then she would take a cutting, bring them home to grow. Once a year Rose would invite interested persons to her home “Jam Valley” to see these roses flowering in an effort for them to be named.  Rose had recently held her Open Day - but if I was interested she would “write me a letter to let me know when it was on again”.  In eleven months time the letter arrived.  I came home mesmerised from the experience and little did I know it but a new door was opening.

Lea's and Jamie's Stories

At that time the Great Southern was a loose knit bunch of people who appreciated, admired and loved gardening. There was a keen Gardening Group in Broomehill, 18 kilometres from Tambellup. The nucleus of the Tambellup group used to play tennis once a week alternating between whoever had a tennis court - naturally sometime during play we would admire whoever’s garden we were at.  At the same time Valerest Yencken was a neighbour of Rose Marsh - Valerest was well known for skill of cutting growing - she invariably popped over to Rose’s garden to get the plant material - snip, snip and back Valerest would go home; over time she developed a lucrative business selling those perennial plants she had grown, together with the plant material she imported from the eastern states - supplying the then Claremont Gardener in Bay View Terrace, Claremont. 


Around this time a young couple Jamie & Louise Kronborg came home to live in Tambellup, Jamie was a Journalist from Sydney or Melbourne, Louise being the country girl returned home to begin her married life; she was raised on a property in the Tambellup Shire.  They were great gardeners, community minded people to have in your District. Jamie soon heard of Valerest as a source of plants, their friendship grew, then out of the blew Valerest found this flowering seedling rose which had “No Name” so Jamie wrote a story which was newsworthy at the time - I have no idea if this seedling rose survived.


I remember coming home from being at “Jam Valley” as Rose’s home gave me a lovely sense of belonging and I suggested to Jamie that we should start a Heritage Rose Garden Group.  This he agreed would be a great idea if I became President he would become Secretary.  No, I said you become President and I will do the Secretary.  We then organised to open his Garden then go to Jane & Brian Taylor’s “Nymbup” garden.  We had people come from miles around.  It was a stunning success.


I am sure I must have met Noelene Drage through Rose - as they phoned each other and corresponded, it must have been at “Jam Valley”.  I do recall Noelene at one of Jamie’s Open Day’s at sunset drinking red wine!!! but I knew her before then.  I went to Boya several times - I remember Noelene showing me a line of “Bridal Pink” roses that she used in her Florist Shop. Another time Noelene wanted to develop a white and green garden, but plumb in the centre of where she wanted this garden was rock.  I was young and fit then so I spent time digging out the rocks with her to make way for the garden.  I loved going to Boya, her lounge room with her balloon back chairs and mahogany table; the view from the window remains a vivid memory


Jamie Kronberg was a great ambassador for Heritage Roses through his journalism he met many young people and they spoke to him of Roses, Penny & Neil Young opened their garden in Kojonup, Jane O’Halloran, Kathy Wright had married Eric; Eric’s mother was a keen gardener. Naturally, she was delighted to realise her daughter in law would look after her cherished garden.  Not only did Kathy do that - the garden was expanded.  Sheryl Shaylor was a good friend of Helen Bignall, who was the main-stay for the Broomehill Garden Club. Sheryl’s parents were well known gardeners, winning prizes in the Katanning Agricultural & Horticultural Show, their love of gardening was inbred in Sheryl as over the years Sheryl has used her expertise not only to plant a beautiful garden herself, but to landscape many gardens on a professional basis.  Sheryl has been a long-time friend of Nan Anderson who also had a gorgeous garden in Katanning.  These two women were the instigators of a Heritage Rose Garden being planted on the railway reserve on the main street in Katanning many years ago.  This garden beautified the town of Katanning.


It was fortuitous for Heritage Roses that at a similar time Jamie & Louise Kronborg came to Tambellup so did Barry & Sue Thompson, the new Shire Administrator.  Barry was a dynamic administrator and it was a sad day when he left Tambellup to take up the same situation in Kojonup.  Through Barry’s drive, the suggestion of a Rose Maze being built on the main Albany Highway through the town was agreed upon.  It probably helped that Neil Young; Penny Young’s husband was at the time, a Councillor.  Penny Young was a very talented young woman, an artist with a wonderful sense of colour - her garden was testament to this.  Penny Young was the instigator of the Kojonup Rose Maze and the planner of roses planted. 


Lee left Tambellup at the end of 1996.  Over the next few years my friends began to retire mainly to Albany, Jamie & Louise relocated to Perth.  There is no Heritage Rose Group in Tambellup, Kojonup has amalgamated with Albany; this Group administered the National Executive in 2017/2018 as well as conduct the bi-Annual Conference. It was from these humble beginnings, the enjoyment of being with the people who were involved in the love of gardens that our love of Heritage Roses has gone from strength to strength.

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