Heritage Rose Garden
15 Jan, 2022 - Natasha West
Among the hidden treasures at Rookwood Cemetery are beautiful old roses, cared for by volunteers. For more than 150 years, people have been planting roses at the graves of loved ones. As the cemetery developed, many of them were being destroyed by herbicides and the clearing of grave sites.
With the help of Heritage Roses Australia, they were propagated and planted in the Rookwood Heritage Rose Garden, also called Barbara’s Garden to honour the woman who spearheaded the project to them.
Barbara's Garden is a living catalogue of low-maintenance, long-lived rosy beauties suitable for Sydney. The roses are only watered when it rains, fed every few years and are never sprayed.
The endangered roses are cared for by members of Heritage Roses Australia. As many of the roses propagated from old graves and have been officially identified, they are classified as “found roses” and are named after the grave where they were found. An example of this is the “Mrs Dudley Cross”, a tea rose from 1907.
Did you know that only 10% of the heritage varieties can be identified. Today, volunteers from Heritage Roses work regularly at Rookwood in order to maintain this garden and tend to these special roses. Many of the roses are in flower all year, but spring is the most popular time to visit when the rest of Rookwood is in bloom.