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O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

Robbie Burns. 1794

Roses have to be the most symbolic of flowers, synonymous with romance. They are a perennial on Valentines’ Day and beloved of poets and writers.  A walk in a rose garden is a journey of the senses. The stunning colours and variegations, the exquisite forms and of course the fragrance. The use of roses in gardens is long and enduring and defies the vagaries of fashion. They first rose were believed to come from central asia. Through centuries of breeding we now enjoy our floribundas, bourbons,  our climbers and standards and there will be more to come as breeders seek that special hybrid.

Rose gardens are unusual as they are is purposely designed to showcase the extent of the species Rosacea. Most designs are formal taking their inspiration from the French or Italian tradition rather than the naturalistic English mode. The central feature at Werribee is a Tudor rose. This motif originated in the 1450 at the end of the war of the roses and signifies unity.


From the carpark you enter the garden through a contemporary entrance gate and begin at the Tudor Rose. It is divided into five sections arranged symmetrically around a central gazebo. Between each petal runs a pathway called an Alle that begins with an arch of climbing roses. Each alle is lined with standard roses. On the outer edge of each petals is a curved festoon, supported on nine posts creating a living garland of rambling roses trailing along graceful long looping wires in a curve. Each petal contains many formally laid out beds of Hybrid teas & Bush roses, arranged symmetrically .  To provide scale, tripods of climbing roses as well as weeping Standards of every colour are spread throughout the petals.

Leading away from the Tudor Rose, on the far side a pathway symbolizing a rose stem passes between two viewing mounds, placed there to fully appreciate the formal garden from a higher viewpoint. Passing the mounds you come on to the later additions  ‘the leaf” and a “the rosebud”.


The Federation Leaf was planted to commemorate the Centenary of Federation of Australia. It contains beds of Australian roses bred over the period of Federation and also contains a beautiful small traditional gazebo.


The “rosebud” is planted with English Roses bred by David Austin. Find your way back along The Heritage Border created along the fence line between the Mansion.


The border is now about 450 metres long and contains over 500 varieties of beautiful and historic roses that guaranteed to have exceptional fragrance. 

The Victoria State Rose Garden was officially opened in 1986 with a design by Mervyn Hayman Danker FRAIA and James Priestly.

The Perfect Rose

A single flow’r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet—
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
“My fragile leaves,” it said, “his heart enclose.”

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