Marguerite Parkes has held a lifelong passion for roses and her breeding of champion blooms was recognised this week when a special garden established at Maitland Visitor Information Centre was named after her.
About 40 members of the Hunter Regional Rose Society and her family attended to honour Mrs Parkes as a plaque was unveiled in the Marguerite Parkes Rose Garden.
“This is wonderful recognition – but I have always bred roses out of love, never to seek fame,” Mrs Parkes told The Mercury after the ceremony on Tuesday.
“I have been enchanted by roses all my life.
“It all began for me one Anzac Day when my husband, the historian William Stanley Parkes, presented me with a big bunch of flowers in Sydney.
“Among those flowers, I saw one beautiful little rose and that ignited my interest.
“That was many years ago and I began breeding them.”
Since then, Mrs Parkes believes she has won prizes for “five or six” in major competitions.
“I believe the big secret in breeding roses is the need to be carried away by an overwhelming interest in them,” she said. “And apart from looking good, prize roses must also have a beautiful scent.”
Bev Irwin, president of the Hunter Regional Rose Society, said their members had been honoured to have planted and nurtured the rose garden to make it an attractive place for visitors.
Among the champion flowers bred by Mrs Parkes and displayed at the garden yesterday were Pink Angel, and another called Emma’s Rose after her granddaughter, who was stillborn in 2004.
A bright red rose called Williams Rose was named in honour of her husband and her son.