TRS & Pt Defiance grew up together

We are Washington’s oldest Rose Society, founded in 1911. But many rose activities had already been featured in Tacoma for almost 20 years by that time. Believe it or not, Tacoma even staged rose carnivals with rose parades in the period from 1896 – 1907 as we see below.

1907 Rose Convention Parade in Tacoma
1907 Rose Convention Parade in Tacoma

And planting roses at Point Defiance Park dates back to the very forming of the park property.

Pt. Defiance in the early days from a post card
Pt Defiance Park’s early layout. Note the amusement park in the open middle, ferry landing access road on the right edge, & the first park maintenance sheds are bottom left. Also visible is the duck pond and the walkway arches inside the circle drive.

In 1895 Pt. Defiance garden supervisor E. R. Roberts, a man born in North Wales who had trained at many European sites, including at Kew Gardens, asked for donations of rose cuttings and seeds from the public to get things started.  The response was overwhelming. . .

By 1907 the Metropolitan Park Board was formed to oversee Tacoma’s park system.  Park Superintendent G. A. Hill created a design for a rose garden featuring beds formed in the arcs of concentric circles, which is what we still see today.

Historic post card of the original rose arbor at Pt. Defiance Park
The 1st rose arch near the Lodge

TRS and the Pt. Defiance Rose Garden, formally dedicated in 1912, grew up together. We’ve helped with suggestions about rose varieties and other ideas, like the 10 ft fence, in the garden within the leadership of the Park since then. Some leaders of the Rose Society also served as elected members of the Metropolitan Park Board.

Pt. Defiance rose garden in summer bloom
The 2010 rose garden from the north

Jump forward beyond the two world wars, into the 1980s. An outside organization called attention to the decline of the rose garden; it was still beautiful on a macro scale, but it needed some serious work to restore the health of the garden and its plants. Again, TRS stepped forward under the supervision of Park staff to do the spade work – literally.

A decision was made to completely rebuild the main rose garden over a four year period. The rebuilding started in 1987, and in 1989 the results from the first two years were so impressive that the last half of the garden was redone that year.

If you ask any rose enthusiast in the Tacoma area where they will be on the first Saturday of March, they will immediately say ” I’ll be reporting for pruning duty in the Pt. Defiance Park Rose Garden.”

The morning kicks off with an educational session, then we break into groups and experienced members cover the rationale and techniques of spring pruning in each quadrant of the garden.

Questions are then answered and everyone gets to join in the fun of hands-on pruning the 1500 roses. With 25 to 40 volunteers beavering away, the job is often finished by noon.

Along with regularly experiencing the beauty of the Pt. Defiance Rose Garden, as a TRS volunteer you’ll also gain inspiration from the friendship of fellow volunteers, the opportunities for learning, and the sense of satisfaction associated with being a guardian of a most special place.

Our 2019 Deadheaders
Here’s our 2024 leadership
President – Debbie JacksonVice Presidents – Bruce Lind & Malcolm Davis
Secretary – Michelle ReganTreasurer – Barbara Lind
Rose Show Chair – Bruce LindConsulting Rosarian Chair – Bruce Lind
Program Chair – Ava BrockWebmaster – Steve Mitchell

Full 2024 Officers list

Some benefits of becoming a member of this historic society

  • ARS Continuing Education
  • Hands-on learning with tools
  • ARS national conventions
  • Yearly Elected Officers & Board
  • Monthly classes at our friendly meetings
  • The Queens Herald Newsletter & archive
  • Our Annual Rose show
  • Rose & perennial plant sales
  • Yearly ARS District Conference
  • Monthly events like garden shows

Questions Folks Often Ask

We mostly share rose knowledge among our members & the public, plus we help Metro Parks at the Pt. Defiance Rose Garden. You’ll often find us at fairs, home shows, and our public plant sales.

Nope. He’s a distinguished retired gentleman now. We see him and Marianne Binetti now only at the garden shows.

We met online using Zoom monthly for general Member meetings and monthly Board meetings to get TRS work done. Pruning in Pt Defiance was still done, with social distancing and mask protocols in place the same as the Metro Parks staff.

Not anymore. That’s more for Master Gardeners, or your brother-in-law. TRS Consulting Rosarians are more rose advisors and care guides than contractors or handymen.

There’s a form on the HOME page or the CONTACT page

Yes. It’s still only $20/household per year.

Sure. Use the email form on the Contact page to ask how.

The general membership votes. This is usually the subject of the November newsletter, since terms end in December each year.

Officers serve a 2 year term, with alternating year elections. We now have some Members in their 1st year of service & others in their 2nd year.

Yep. We’re a community volunteer group, so all members of local communities are welcome to join. Just plan on doing a little volunteer work. All gardening & office skill levels are encouraged. If you have other specialized skills or equipment, let us know. We are growing, and need more volunteers . . .

Sure. Email us of your interest and we’ll send you details about the next Meeting.

Yes. The memberships are “whole household”, not individual. Your signup includes all family members regardless of age under your roof. We start-em young . . .

No. During the quarantine period in 2020-2022, we were all meeting, planning, and supporting TRS on Zoom. We even had an online rose show.

Every month. When we meet in person, we add extra time to mix among rose friends. Eating well at the monthly meetings helps too . . .

Yes. We currently have years 2016 to 2024. They are on the Archive page. They’re full of good ideas & Q & A about successfully growing & showing roses.

The one sharing her good cheer in many ways on a personal level with TRS members.

Right now, it’s T-shirts & hats. Email us for further information or visit a meeting.