The Rose has long been a symbol of love, beauty, war and politics. The cultivation of roses began in 5,000 BC in Persia and China with the flower being used for display, food, medicine, and most commonly, perfume.
This Rose Garden is designed to portray a walled sunken European garden popular in the early twentieth century. Built in 1975, the high brick wall, covered by Ficus pumila Creeping Fig, shields the area from strong winds whilst the entrance paths are offset to encourage visitors to explore what lies within.
Sweeping the edges of the outer wall is a collection of perennials that creates year-round interest as flowers of all shapes, sizes, colours and texture appear from their rootstock.
The Rose Garden displays many rose cultivars and varieties including Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, Old Fashioned, Weeping and Standard.
Some of the roses on display include ‘Peace’ which was smuggled to America from occupied France in 1945 and The Wollongong Gold Rose, developed to mark the 50th anniversary of Wollongong City in 1997. The peak flowering period for roses commences in mid-October and continues to April, with many weddings and celebrations taking place during this time.
The Rose Garden has undergone several changes since its development. The initial sunken garden beds have been mounded to provide greater drainage for the plants, whilst the original timber arbour has given way to the central rotunda that is inscribed with poems of love and love lost.
A poem dedicated to the Aboriginal stolen generation on the rear wall and a number of bequests, including that of Poppy Harris in 2006 can be found within this garden.