The Rose Society of Victoria

Member society of the National Rose Society of Australia

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A beautiful prize

Well our dear RSV has ended the rosy year with heaps of fun, laughter and the happy company of friends, at the final meeting.

It was a really joyful party. We had a glorious dinner with an extraordinarily delicious selection of edibles contributed by culinary geniuses. There was general hilarity during the raffle with much coveting of the great rosy prizes. Lots of giggles also with Jacinta’s overseeing the quiz with intense competition and limited attention paid to hints referencing, as usual, The Rose News, our members’ journal. All the Spring Rose Show victors were anointed and burdened, in suffering, with silver trophies. Helen was a friendly and approachable speaker. It’s always fun to peruse the trading table and marvel at the perfection of the roses on the show bench, which participants lovingly take the trouble to prepare and transport and display for all. Rosalie’s floral arrangement was glorious.

It’s amazing what devotion and fellowship can accomplish. Thank you so much for this lovely gathering, all who generously put in your time energy and resources.

The vibe gets happier all the time. We have lots of new members and they bring loads of joy to our society, carrying us forward into the future, which in any sense you like, looks rosy!


Last weekend, Maureen and Paul Lucas of Rowville had an open day in their famed garden ‘Rosemont’. This was clearly very well attended; $642 was raised and has been contributed to support the fast-approaching 2021 World Rose Convention. Thank you so much Maureen and Paul for this generous effort!

Rosemont is an organic garden. It was planned that way from the beginning, back in 1994, when the approximately 1/3 of an acre vacant block was full of English Ivy, brambles and Wattles. Clearing was followed by ‘no-dig’ layering of newspaper, manure, compost and mulch. Those were the days, when there was still newspaper!

The plants fortunate enough to live in Rosemont are many of them drought-friendly perennials and shrubs; any and all plants suitable for our hot, dry summers, such as succulents, cacti, hundreds of bulbs, Iris, Salvias, Pelargoniums, Clivias, Plectranthus along with of course perhaps 100 roses (which once established are also quite able to go it alone even in the heat and dry). Maureen’s name for the garden is ‘Garden of 10,000 plants’.

The garden is beautiful in every season and is designated an official ‘Garden for Wildlife’.

There are no toxic chemical pest controls – but there isn’t a pest problem, because the garden is in a state of ecological balance in which any annoying species are naturally controlled by other organisms. This means also that there is a beautiful feeling in the garden as it buzzes with joyous life, being host to precious native bees, frogs, lizards, perhaps 30 species of birds, and of course the odd possum.

Everything was created and constructed by the couple. The design of the garden was Maureen’s domain, while Paul is the builder of all the structures: the potting shed, fences and edging, decking and arches.

What delight, a paragon and a model for all gardens here in the southern parts of the country.

Maureen and Paul are members of the Rose Society of Victoria Inc. Maureen was a judge at the RSV Spring Rose Show this year. She is a National Horticultural Judge, the Garden Writer for The Senior Newspaper in Australia, Editor of the Australian Horticultural Judges’ Magazine and the Travel Writer for the local Rowville/Lysterfield News. She also freelances for other publications. Paul, who was a past President of the Knox Home Garden Club, is an accredited National Photographic Judge, an award-winning photographer and the photography writer for the Rowville/Lysterfield News. He is on the Committee of the Garden Clubs of Australia.

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 will-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.

Tom Lyons

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:

Wonderful thorns, great hips and baby elephants all in a row…

With joy: triple celebration

lifelong membership Elizabeth Clive.JPG

Our rose society is all about our shared delight in the beauty of roses. All members have the opportunity reap the benefits of collective knowledge, skills and fellowship.

Some members do much, much more. They generously give of their time throughout their lives to keep the society thriving. They are the people who are the constant gardeners, the ones always there at every event, taking care of things so that we all feel the strength and security of our long association together.

This year is the RSVs 120th anniversary!

It is with great pleasure and in gratitude that the Society bestows upon two of its dearest, Clyde Laidlaw and Elizabeth Omond-Smith, the investitures of Honorary Life Membership.

The society delights in the re-election at last night’s Annual General Meeting (Tuesday 13 August) of Sandra Turner as RSV president. Thank you very much Sandra for once again taking up the yoke for all of us! We hope your time in the Rosy Throne will be fulfilling for you.

Front and centre in the above picture is the beautiful cake with which we celebrated our 120th anniversary as a rose society.

From left to right, continuing president Sandra, along with Lifetime Members Clyde and Elizabeth in a very happy moment, joining forces to cut the cake together, demonstrating the bond of fellowship that keeps our society such a strong family.

Wine-Lovers’ Alert


Australia has been awarded the honour and burden of hosting the 19th World Federation of Rose Societies Convention in 2022. The National Rose Society of Australia is now launching a splendid fundraiser for this event.

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