Ross Roses is a unique company like few others in Australia, covering all aspects of the rose from hybridising and introducing new varieties through to growing and selling direct to the customer.
We take care in creating all the plants we sell and are not mass plant producers. This gives us total control of our plant quality and accuracy with very few plants ever needing replacement. We do adhere to the old ways to create ‘hard’ plants which are ideal for relocation into customers gardens. To care for the environment we do try to make the largest possible size plant with the smallest amounts of natural resources. Having all our plants as 2 year old’s the amount of feed and water is only used when required saving these precious commodities. Integrated pest management is not known by many but uses natural methods to control as many rose problems as we can without the need for chemicals.
Our specialties are the old Heritage roses, early developed varieties from those introduced in early 1900’s together with the largest collection of Australian bred roses, both old and new. To complete our list are the all time favourites from all over the world and grown successfully here in Australia. In total close to 1,000 varieties we stock with many others in our collection able to be sourced if the need arises.
Our philosophy is to provide our customers with a rose plant that will be in perfect condition to grow in their gardens, always be correct, and be backed by cultural information few others can match. A full replacement guarantee is always there in case of problems.
Established in 1902 by George Ross, four generations of the Ross family have grown roses for the Australian market, making our company one of the most respected names in the rose industry.
George began growing roses in the hills around Adelaide, South Australia. He originally grew fruit trees for the emerging orchards of Adelaide, but also grew roses for gardeners in the Adelaide area.
George’s son Alexander joined him in the business supplying wholesale roses to nurseries interstate as well as New Zealand, so the name Ross became widely known as an authority on roses. Alex’s reputation as an expert rosarian was growing and he became well known as Australia’s most knowledgeable and respected rosarians of those years. His knowledge and passion saw him instrumental in being one of the founders of the Rose Society of South Australia and a highly qualified Rose Judge.
Deane joined his father Alex in 1952 and the business expanded further concentrating on retail sales directly to the public. During the next forty years Deane became known as the Father of Heritage roses (previously called ‘old world’ roses) with his importing into Australia these rare and beautiful roses. Close to half of all these interesting roses at present growing in Australia were the basis of Deane’s collection which became his passion.
Today, Ross Roses is managed by the fourth generation Andrew Ross together with Deane’s wife Maureen (Deane died in 1993) so making it truly a family business of generations spent with roses. Andrew’s passion is different with plant hybridizing his future and developing the garden as a major attraction for visitors but never dismissing the key that has made the business, the supply of our plants to gardens across Australia.
THE ROSE GARDEN
One aspect Ross Roses is widely known for is its famous display garden. First created when at the Edwardstown property in the 1950’s then enlarged at the Sturt property in the 1960’s and then made a fully landscaped garden when the Willunga property was developed.
Our current garden is ‘The Garden of the Rose’ and is considered to be one of the most informative and extensive rose gardens in Australia, visited by tens of thousands of people each year. The garden possesses many thousands of plants with over 1000 different varieties on display, including close to 700 Heritage and species roses.
With changes at various other rose collections the need for a National Collection saw a massive renovation and expansion of the garden occur in 2019 to accommodate ALL known Heritage roses in Australia, all Australian bred roses prior to the year 1990 plus most of the significant modern developed roses from local breeders.
Future plantings will feature the most significant roses from 1900 to the 1970’s, the largest collection of David Austin bred roses, an enclosed Wedding Garden all linked with paths and masses of cottage garden plants, shrubs and trees. Planned is a ‘Garden of Ideas’ which will illustrate different landscaping styles which can easily be achieved.
Over time we feel this garden will be a significant place to see when visiting South Australia.
A ‘Friends of the Garden’ is pending and any interested persons wanting to help make this a major garden of interest will be keenly welcomed.
TRIALS & TESTING
Although a major rose growing and selling company one aspect we have conducted for the benefit of all our customers is research on all aspects of rose growing to make growing of roses easier and with less misconceptions.
Deane Ross was fully aware of the confusion involved with many in the public being told different information and became totally confused with what to do. So he wrote several books on his knowledge of various aspects of rose growing.
For more accurate information Deane also started our trials with pruning being the first. Dispelling the myths of pruning was vital to make gardening more enjoyable and help make the rose perform to its peak. Deane devised the 50/50 method promoted by many now as the ideal way to prune. Please see fact sheets for more information.
Other trials are still underway on watering, mulching, fertilising and spraying with initial findings published on our fact sheets. Please see Rose Problems for this information.
The name Ross would unquestionably be linked with some of the finest roses grown in Australian gardens. Few gardens would not possess a variety identified and released by the Ross family.
Some will see our list without a lot of recent introductions. With so many roses being introduced each year we only will add a new variety if it is better than an existing one, fills a gap in the list for colour, size, flower form, or is Australian developed.
Too many times we have been told of new introductions not coming up to expectation. We believe our customers should not have to ‘trial’ a new variety, as it is our job to fully test any new rose prior to making it to our list. Many just do not make it.
Our priority currently is Australian Bred roses. With locally bred roses most of the testing has been performed by the breeder prior to selecting for introduction and all we have to do is verify the breeder’s observations.
A large trial bed is always being added to with locally bred roses, which we continue to monitor through phases of the varieties growth in different climatic conditions.
Ross Roses has always been an industry leader through innovation and development. Deane being an inventor, made many rose growing machines and through knowledge of what was needed, also developed techniques few others used.
Some of Deane’s creations were a ‘budding bike’ for plant propagation, a bundling machine to tie rose orders together, the first over-row tractor for spraying and digging, and pot handing lifters prior to any other nursery. He was instrumental in the changing from budding plastic to a rubber strip, with many tests to find the correct strength rubber.
Also Deane’s son Andrew has seen the need to change from overhead watering to in-line drippers increasing crop size and saving 2/3 of water used. In conjunction with a computer friend they created Australia’s first rose nursery web-site and ordering system for speed and accuracy.
With the rose industry now working with so much more efficiency, the days of invention through necessity are probably lost, however the way their minds work if something is not efficient may need to be created.
With such a vast knowledge on all aspects of rose growing and culture we use this knowledge to help our customers with many aspects of rose growing.
Some of the services we offer are:
Rose identification – The knowledge of thousands of roses for accurate identification.
Rose problems – A knowledge of all rose problems and how to correct.
Design service – Assistance with planning a rose garden from layout to selection.
Consultancy – Australia’s leading consultants with working arrangements in every state.
Special budding – The ability to make any rose or propagate a variety not commercially available.
Garden visits – Flexibility to visit a garden if a need arises.
Although no one can really predict the future, understanding the present can lead the company in the right direction to be ahead of all others before it happens.
We have seen changes in consumer needs so have changed the products we now stock. Changes in property sizes or garden space has now seen us include more varieties which are smaller growers including a wonderful range of small growing varieties. Changes to gardener’s limited time has seen us develop many time saving measures giving good flowering for low effort and more gardeners being health and environmentally conscious has led to identifying products better for our health.
No matter what the future brings the Ross company will always be the one to turn to for wonderful proven varieties and correct information to make your rose growing both easy and rewarding.