Rosa who was well known to older residents has died aged 98. She lived at 118 College Road with her elderly mother with whom she shared a great love of gardening; a pursuit to which she was able to devote more time when she retired from the family advertising business. In addition to her love of gardening she was passionate about trees, wildlife and beekeeping and she served on the Dulwich Society’s Trees, Wildlife and Gardens committees. She knew the trees of Dulwich intimately and could direct an enquirer where to find a Bhutan pine or an Indian horse chestnut or indeed any other unusual tree. She was responsible for the planting of a number of trees in Dulwich including the Wellingtonia in the Gallery garden and the replacement for the Zelkova at the junction of College Road and the South Circular.
One delightful story told about her enthusiasm for planting, concerns a guided walk she attended with a colleague to Sydenham Hill Wood. On the way around the wood the London Wildlife Trust warden pointed out a clump of Butchers’ Broom. He went on to explain that the presence of this plant was evidence that Sydenham and Dulwich Woods were once ancient forest. Whilst no one disputed the warden’s statement, Rosa quietly confided in her colleague, “I planted that clump of Butchers Broom!”
One of Rosa’s great qualities was if she thought something needed doing she invariably went out and did it. With the help of Glynis Williams she surveyed various Dulwich ponds, transferring frogs, newts and spawn; even from a building site near Tower Bridge. This she accomplished by getting through the railings and wading in to collect the wildlife for transfer to the safety of a Dulwich pond. Characteristically, as soon as she moved to Beckenham she took up the cause of Kelsey Park. Her enthusiasm was boundless and we all owe her a great debt. The Dulwich Society proposes to plant a tree in her memory.