Vale Susan Irvine
In sight of her last bountiful Tasmanian spring, Susan Irvine died in the morning of 6 September, 2019.
Susan was born in Dalby, Queensland, far from the scent of roses and the glory that is spring in a cold climate. She obtained a B.A. in German and philosophy at the University of Queensland and did her post graduate work at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.
She taught in New South Wales and Tasmania before coming to Victoria, where she was head mistress of Lauriston Girls’ School from 1972 to 1982. She began work on the gardens at Bleak House in 1982. She was on the Council of Ornamental Plants Collections Association and was a member of the Rose Society. She has written for the Age gardening page and the Australian Garden Journal. (Garden of a Thousand Roses—Making a Rose Garden in Australia)
Susan Irvine’s books, “Garden of a Thousand Roses”, ”A Hillside of Roses”, “Rose Gardens of Australia”, The Garden at Forest Hall” and Rosehips & Crabapples” all convey her great love for gardening and roses in her unique and winning style.
In the 1980s her growing passion for roses led her to establish the well-known gardens of Bleak House, Erinvale and in the 1990s the preservation of the historic house Forest Hall at Elizabeth Town, Tasmania. The renovation and extension of the garden at Forest Hall, is remembered with love, by all who knew Susan. ( Rosehips & Crabapples—A Rose-lover’s Diary)
In 1994 she was recipient of the Australian Rose Award for her work, in particular, in tracing and preserving lost roses of the distinguished Australian rose breeder, Alister Clark. She was also a Life Member of Heritage Roses in Australia and in 2006 was awarded their Deane Ross Memorial Award for her outstanding contribution to the promotion and interest in and knowledge of Australia’s old roses.
A memorial Service to celebrate Susan’s life, was held at the C. T. Finney Centre, 34 Nunamina Ave, Kings Meadows, on Friday, 13th September 2019.
Susan was greatly admired among all members of the RSV. We have her excellent books in our library- they continue to provide much delight and inspiration, and with gratitude and fondness we will always remember her warmth and approachability as well as her knowledge and intelligence.
Here is a great blog post about Susan to prompt a smile in this sad time: