The Rose Garden was a suggestion of long term Island resident Elaine Iles and with the help of Margaret Aitken owner of the Interstate Hotel funds were raised to initiate the development of the Garden in the year 2000. The garden is on Council land which they offered for the purpose of creating a community garden for residents and visitors to enjoy. The block of land began as a grassy play area which was then striped of the Kikuyu grass, mapped out for the beds of roses and soil trucked in to create solid paths through the beds. A dedicated group of Islanders has volunteered many hours to see the Rose Garden come to life, along with Jan Lees dog “Missy Lees” who has been on site to supervise the devlopment and ongoing care of the roses and garden. Garden Caretaker Jan Lees works in the Garden every week on a Monday for a couple of hours and often visits during the week to trim, cut, weed and tender to the Roses. In the last 10 years the garden has had the paths concreted so everyone even those less able can come and enjoy the garden. A recent addition is that of the water feature and more donations are needed for Roses to fill the garden. Jan would love to see each rose have a small plaque to let visitors know where the rose came from and what it commentates. Every July Islanders gather in the Garden to prune the roses and take home a couple of cuttings for their own gardens. Kathy Boyes owner of Blue Rocks Soaps and Essentials uses the petals in a few of her soaps and various other islanders collect petals for potpourri and weddings.
There are over 300 varieties of Roses in the garden many of which have been donated often by a local islander to commentate a lost loved one or friend.
With seating and shelter from the sea breezes it is a lovely place to sit and soak up the perfume of the flowers especially during November & January when they are in full bloom. A wonderful location too for photos, the school leavers of Flinders Island District High School each year have they graduation photos taken in the Garden in December.
You can find the Rose Garden in Patrick Street, Whitemark behind the Council Chambers and Public Library. There are also public toilets between the library and garden.
The garden really is a combination of Island Spirit and the loving care of Jan Lees to create a relaxing place to sit down unwind and smell the roses.