In 1992 the Annual General Meeting of the National Rose Society of Australia Inc. was held in Sydney, NSW and attended by  Members of all State Rose Societies, where it was decided to investigate the possibility of establishing a Rose Trial Garden in Australia.

This was deemed necessary, as at least 95% of new roses introduced into Australia came from overseas breeders. Up to that time, each introducing nursery or agent undertook some trial before new roses were released,  and unfortunately in many cases, this was insufficient for Australian climatic conditions.

Experience had suggested that many overseas roses did not perform well when introduced to Australian conditions, or alternatively, performed too well (for example, Graham Thomas – which is a fine shrub in England, is more suitable as a climber or pillar rose in Australia).

By trialing these roses, it is hoped that the buying public can receive accurate information on how these roses will perform in Australia. In addition, the trial ground offers the opportunity to test and promote Australian bred roses.

At that meeting, 3 main parameters were set for the proposed garden:

  1. Close proximity to a major city
  2. Provide reasonable security
  3. Free access to the public during daylight hours

Delegates from the various Australian States were asked to present their proposals at a meeting the following year. South Australia put forward a proposal which met all 3 criteria. It proposed the establishment of a trial garden within the grounds of the Adelaide Botanic Garden, which is within easy walking distance from the city centre, has free access and is reasonably secure.

The proposal was accepted, and its implementation was handed over to the South Australian Rose Society.