In 1993, a band of volunteers rose to the occasion to save one of Werribee’s biggest assets.
Twenty-five years later, the Victoria State Rose Garden remains in full bloom thanks to their efforts.
Rose garden founder James Priestly ran a public appeal through The Werribee Banner calling for volunteers to assist in maintaining the garden to keep it up and running.
At that stage the rose garden, which was developed in 1986, was being looked after by five stalwarts of the Rose Society of Victoria –all of whom lived in the eastern suburbs and were of retirement age.
When the Victoria State Rose Garden Supporters group took over, the grass was out of control and the roses were covered in hips and deadheads. These days, about 120 volunteers look after the rose garden each Wednesday and Saturday, putting in more than 10,000 collective hours of gardening a year to keep the blooms in peak condition.
Last week, the volunteers came together for a morning tea to celebrate 25 years of the Victoria State Rose Garden Supporters Group.
Life member Wal Johnston, who signed up when he saw The Banner appeal, said he loved the friendship.
Long-time volunteer Shirley Cameron said she found the work therapeutic.
“I don’t even have roses at home, but I love the companionship and having something so beautiful as the rose garden brings great joy to me,” she said.
Victoria State Rose Garden Supporters president Lex Hodge added: “Our biggest kick is getting the international visitors come just to see the garden. We’re very proud of that.”
To become a volunteer, call Lex on 9974 2302.