The Palace Rose Garden is set in part of the old Palace Gardens, site of the massive Garden Palace that was built to house the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879-80.
Although a catastrophic fire destroyed the Garden Palace in 1882, the garden features a delightful and historically significant Shelter Pavilion (1897). The pavilion was designed by Government Architect Walter Vernon and constructed with local Port Jackson sandstone.
The current rose garden is the ninth to be planted in the Botanic Garden, demonstrating both the enduring popularity of the genus Rosa and indicating some of the challenges that go hand-in-hand with growing roses in coastal Sydney’s humid climate.
Garden design, Sydney's humidity and plant selection present challenges
The previous rose garden (1987-2004) on the same site was surrounded by a large hedge and featured many old-fashioned roses amongst diverse plantings of the genus. Maintaining this garden proved challenging due to a combination of plant selection, garden design and the diseases and pests advantaged by Sydney’s humidity. These issues and our commitment to sustainable horticulture triggered a new approach.
The seeds of success were sown with sustainable gardening practices
A new concept for the garden was developed in 2001, removing hedges, improving air flow, enhancing vistas and creating an abundance of space for functions on the lawn. The new garden was completed in 2006 and the romance of roses and beautiful views has led to the Palace Rose Garden becoming one of Sydney’s most popular venues for garden weddings.
Our horticulturalists have planted modern roses in ‘Formal’ ‘Romantic’ and ‘Flamboyant’ themed beds, interspersed with complementary plants to increase biodiversity and attract beneficial insects such as lacewings and predatory ladybirds. This is part of an Integrated Pest Management strategy to reduce the use chemical fungicides and pesticides. A parasitic wasp, bred and released by our plant pathology unit has proven very successful in controlling the rose aphid, a major garden pest and vector for spreading disease on roses.
This garden is a great example of how our horticulturalists and scientists work together to adapt to the challenges of growing roses in Sydney – the rose garden is now brimming with vibrant colour and buzzing bees.
Visit the Palace Rose Garden and experience the romantic symphony of colour and aromas for yourself!