Eugene Pioneer Cemetery is a haven for Old Garden Roses in the heart of Eugene. It is estimated many of the roses are between 75-100 years old. The tradition of planting roses on a gravesite to commemorate a loved ones death goes back centuries. At Eugene Pioneer Cemetery the tradition is alive and well and still happening today.
For many years it was not known how many roses were at the cemetery or what kind but with the help of volunteers roses are being inventoried and identified. There are currently 128 plots with roses planted on them. It is estimated that there are at least 15 different classes of roses present in the cemetery among them; Tea, Eglantine, China, Damask, Bourbon, Gallica’s, Noisette, Polyantha and a few older varieties of modern Hybrid Teas. These are the roses of our great-grandparents. They represent a link to our floral past well as a connection to those who planted them. They deserve to be preserved and celebrated.
Volunteers tend the roses and are working on propagating the roses currently at the cemetery. Over time it is hoped to add other varieties of Old Garden Roses to the cemetery collection. Roses propagated from cuttings are sold each Memorial Day and proceeds go to support the care of the roses at the cemetery.