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Meet Tiffany Bignold

Meet Tiffany Bignold, Heritage rose lover and Parramatta Park gardener

The Rumsey Rose Garden in Parramatta Park is a quiet place in the city fragrant with the blooms of 203 heritage roses.

Interview and images: Robin Powell


Meet Tiffany Bignold, Heritage rose lover and Parramatta Park gardener


When did you fall for old roses?

About three years ago, I was driving home one autumn afternoon and I saw a rose growing on an old chimney on a site in Box Hill that was being developed. It just drew my attention - a glowing soft golden rose. The builders said I could have it so I climbed in, dug out the rose, and brought it home with me. It obviously wasn't a modern rose and I wanted to know exactly what it was and through that I found the Heritage Rose society, and from there became an absolute rose nut.



And what was the rose?

It was ‘Lady Hillingdon’, the climbing form. We have the bush form here.


Tell us a bit about ‘here’.

This is the Rumsey Rose garden in Parramatta Park. The garden consists of 203 roses and was the idea of the rosarian Heather Rumsey. When she and her husband Roy closed the heritage rose nursery they’d had in Dural for decades, she gave two of every rose in the nursery to Heritage Roses in Australia, with the proviso that they use them to set up a public rose garden. That was in the late 1980s and this garden was opened in August 1995, sadly just months after Roy and Heather had died.



How how did you come to be here, just three year after having your rose moment in Box Hill?

After I finished my fine arts degree, I did a diploma in arboriculture. When this job came up, which is looking after the park and this garden, it just seemed a perfect fit.


How has being a member of Heritage Roses helped you take on this role?

It’s been lovely having that support and guidance - for this garden, as well as my own garden. And the sheer knowledge -if I don't know something, then one of the ladies within the society will, and they’re just a phone call or a message away. Their passion and generosity is wonderful.



Tell us a bit more about your own garden?

It’s a rambling kind of country garden. I’m a lover of dry stone walls, so they're incorporated, and there are lots of trees. And at home I have a few more roses than are in this garden. Lady Hilldingon started it all!

The Rumsey Rose Garden is near the Macquarie Street Gatehouse Tearooms and is open every day. The roses reach flowering peak in October/November and May. To find out more about heritage roses, contact Heritage Roses in Australia.


Had you been here before you took on the job?

On and off. The Heritage Rose Society come here twice a year to do a working bee, and it's a really a quiet and contemplative space, despite the road and the railway line!



About this article

Author: Robin Powell