Heritage Volunteers

Heritage Volunteers: Blackfriars Rose Garden Project.



The Parks & Gardens team began their project in Blackfriars Rose Gardens in September 2017 with a tour of the gardens led by David Whitehead, our Arts Society adviser, and Geoff Tarring, Parks Manager for Herefordshire Council and our adviser for onsite work. In autumn 2017, the team deadheaded and pruned surviving roses. Over the winter of 2017 – 2018, we worked in the Herefordshire Archives & Records Centre to research the history of the rose gardens. We established that they had been planted in March 1964 as a gift to the City of Hereford from the Hereford & West of England Rose Society to mark their centenary (1867 – 1967).


In March 2018, the team inspired the founding of Friends of Blackfriars Rose Gardens, a community group dedicated to reviving the rose gardens to their former beauty. The Friends are a non-profit society under the auspices of Hereford in Bloom. Over the spring and summer 2018, members of the Parks & Gardens team worked with the Friends volunteers to weed, feed, & deadhead the surviving roses, only about half those planted up through 2006, when funding for gardeners ended. In July Blackfriars Rose Gardens participated in England in Bloom, both in the small Cities category with Hereford in Bloom and in the neighbourhood category with Heart of England in Bloom. Despite three months of drought May – July, the old roses produced both colour and fragrance. 


Meanwhile, the Friends were able to raise funds through a grant from Hereford City Council and private donors and to obtain generous support from rose growers and other firms to begin replanting the 28 rose beds. In three planting days over October and November 2018, 12 rose beds were replanted by volunteers – the Mayor of Hereford was joined by the Parks & Gardens team, members of Hereford Lions, Friends of Blackfriars Rose Gardens, and others from the community.  In February 2019, another 6 rose beds were replanted. The Friends hope to replant the last 8 rose beds in November 2019.


Although work in the rose gardens continues, the team has now achieved its objectives in our Parks & Gardens project. Over the spring we will complete our final report to be filed with The Arts Society in London. We aim to prepare a presentation copy for Hereford City Council as well as The Arts Society.


To join the Parks & Gardens team or Friends of Blackfriars Rose Gardens, please contact Anne Harbour or a member of the committee. A welcome awaits you!