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Rose Marsh

Noelene Drage and Carol Mansfield describe Rose as the person who introduced them and many others to the beauty of Old Roses.


Rose stated that she just loved old roses, they were growing on old farms and houses and in true “Roses Rustler” fashion she took cuttings and grew them. She gathered a collection of pinks from her expeditions. When Odile Masqueiiers visited Rose they tried to identify them but it was so difficult as the French breeders bred so many pink roses, they remained unknown. Rose donated these roses to Eildon Rose Farm at Mt Barker. Hopefully they are growing in some gardens in the South.

Rose's Story

Rose’s garden days were renowned for both their hospitality and inspiration. Rose cooked turkey, provided salads and cake with the aim of letting people know about the old roses. It was how Rose met Lea Newing who then caught the rose bug after writing to Rose with a query about her roses on the farm at Tambellup.


Rose wrote many letters to Dean Ross in SA, and compared rose varieties with the Janssen’s and Don Allen. Peter Janssen of Rose Hill in Roleystone and Don Allen in Carmel both grew old roses, which were so limited to find in WA. Rose had visits from the Janssen’s to acquire bud wood from her garden and she also sent bud wood to Don Allan.

Trevor Nottle approached her to start a Heritage Rose Group. There were visits to Jam Valley from Dean Ross, Don Allen, Noelene Drage and many of the emerging members of Heritage Roses in Perth and the Rose Society. Rose recalls that there were hundreds of letters going to and fro from Heritage Roses to the Eastern States, to nurserymen and members. suggested that a Lower Southern Group of Heritage Roses be developed. Jamie Kronberg became the President and Lea Newing, the Secretary of this group.


Letters from Lyn Williams to Rose in1981 indicate that there was a great deal of exploration and excited discovery of Heritage Roses in Meadow St and under Barkers Bridge Guildford by Lyn and her daughter Robin, near the river. Lyn sent the cuttings to Rose along with a map of their locality to hopefully ensure their conservation and eventual identification. Rose, as Coordinator, then sent a letter to the Shire Clerk of the City of Swan in 1981 that provided the Council with a history of the Guildford roses and specifically the roses on the Meadow St verge, Swan St and James St. In consideration of these roses the council suggested that the roses could be recovered and provided to the Pinjarra rose garden. Lyn Williams one of our first members.


There were a great many challenges for the Rose Garden at Pinjarra.when it looked as though it was to be demolished. The shire had asked their gardener at the time to prune and spray the garden, which resulted in a loss of some of the roses including one Noel Frost, had bred in memory of his wife. After collecting and growing the roses for the garden for 12 months Rose and the Pinjarra Group was devastated When they heard of these plans Rose, her husband William, Ruth Hoskins and the Hutton's from Pinjarra collected cuttings and bud wood which was sent to South Australia to save the remaining roses.


We also see that in 1982 a letter from Barbara Dundas to Rose as the Regional Coordinator requesting assistance to identify the roses in her home, “Kings Cottage “ which she and Graham had just purchased “some of which were reputed to be Teas and roses of significance”


On visiting Strawberry Hill Farm in Albany with William, Rose observed a man hacking the old roses to the ground. William cringed as Rose said “Those roses are just as historically important as that old house” The “hacker” turned out to be Robert Goodman who was attached to the National Trust. She then organised Heritage Roses to be donated the Strawberry Hill Farm and the Old Church. Robert Goodman and his wife Verna became life long friends after visiting one of Rose’s Garden Days.


Rose recalls that the development of Heritage Roses in Australia and the Regions was very scattered with Coordinators in each state and then Regional Coordinators appointed as the interest grew. Dean Ross, was the rose expert along with his wife Maureen and Trevor Nottle got everyone working together. In WA Hillary Merrifield was a great source of knowledge and there was a team of enthusiasts who were on the ground, creating the Pinjarra Heritage Rose Garden, Araluen and Falls Farm and also identifying and propagating foundlings.


Les Wilson was a nurseryman and florist in Fremantle. Every August a mailbox parcel would arrive for Rose, it was a bunch of G. Nabonnand. They had numerous discussions on the discrepancies between rose varieties. Rose was able to send roses such as Golden Vision to John Nieuwestieg in Victoria for cultivation and Pat Toolan would send over roses from SA, as did Robert Pearce, Ari Bos, and Esmond Jones. It was a time of great development and excitement as more opportunities for nurturing old roses in Public Gardens became possible. Heritage Rose Members took on a range of responsibilities to make sure this practice continued. Lea commented to Rose at the time “ Why don’t you do a potted history of Heritage Roses and the Perth Region” Hopefully this little piece will start Rose off.

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