Organized 1965
In the early 1960’s Commander Harry E. Stebbings, fresh from sea duty, encountered his first rose bush. Actually, there were 21 bushes and they came with a house he purchased in San Mateo, California. Not having the opportunity to grow roses at sea, he sought the expertise of the San Mateo County Rose Society to educate himself on the care and feeding of roses. After two of the members visited his home and identified the varieties as well as provided advice on nurturing them, he became an active member in the society and an ARS horticulture judge. When he completed his tour of duty at Treasure Island, Captain Stebbings moved to Santa Rosa.

His new home did not come with roses but he was quick to remedy that. Santa Rosa did not have a rose society but with the collaboration of Dr. Dennison Morey, they established the first rose society in Santa Rosa. The first meeting of the Redwood Empire Rose Society was on September 23, 1965 at Harry Stebbings’ home. An ARS officer from San Diego attended. As of March 2004, Dr. Morey is the only surviving member who attended that original meeting. Since that inaugural meeting, RERS has met on the third Thursday of the month. Starting in January of 1966 the meetings have been held at the Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center.

The RERS has been very active in the Santa Rosa community. Each year the Spring Rose Show is attended by many non-members. The RERS entered in the Hall of Flowers Garden Contest at the Sonoma County Fair up to 2003. We are planning to reestablish this activity as our membership numbers are improved.

Thirty-two rosarians have served as President of RERS. Many are distinguished contributors to ARS and the Sonoma County community. Our first President was Capt. Harry Stebbings.


ARS Bronze Medal for Outstanding Service to a Local Society Awards 
1993 Rachel Wall*
1994 Margaret Martin*
1995 Sally Joy*
1996 Capt. Harry Stebbings*
1997 Virginia and Eugene Howard*
1998 Inez Smith*
1999 Eleanor Kelling*
2000 James C. King*
2002 Dr. Tom Villa-Lovoz
2005 Phyllis Saccani
2006 Barbara Ellis
2008 Ann Barbaro
2009 Karen Ernsberger
2010 Karl Scheurman & Ruth Browning
2012 Martin Kooi



History of RERS Rose Annual Spring Shows

2017       Aloha!                                       April 29   51st Annual

2016       Golden Anniversary                                       May 21    50th Annual

2015       Roses Dancing in Our Garden                     May 2   49th Annual

2014       Rain Drops are Dancing on My Petals       May 17  48th Annual*

2013       Star Wars (Tours)                                           May 11  47th Annual

2012       Roses in Wine Country                                  May 5   46th Annual

2011       Roses on Parade                 May 7   45th Annual         – Fall NCNH District Show”Last Rose of Summer”

2010      Picture Perfect                                                 May 1    44th Annual

2009      Simple Pleasures                                            May 2   43rd Annual

2008      Change is in the Air!                                      May 3   42nd Annual

2007      Stop and Smell The Roses                            May 5   41st  Annual

2006      Mardi Gras                                                       May 7   40th Annual

2005      Fire and Ice                                                      May 7   39th Annual

2004      Chase The Clouds Away                                May 8    38th Annual**

2003      Remember The Good Things in Life          May 10   37th Annual**

2002      The Year of The Rose                                    May 4   36th Annual

2001      The Rose Our National Flower                    May 5   35th Annual

2000      A History of the Rose Through the Ages   May 6  34th Annual         – Fall “It’s a Rose Show” Charlie Brown

1999       Come Rain or Shine                                       May 1    33rd Annual         – Fall Sonoma County in the 1900’s

1998       Stars: The Roses of the Angels                    May 2   32nd Annual        – Fall ?

1997       “The Rose in Legend and Lore”                   May 3   31st  Annual         – Fall “Sonoma County Landmarks II”

1996       California The Golden State                         May4    30th Annual         – Fall “Sonoma County Landmarks”

1995       Run For The Roses                              May 6    29th Annual        – Fall NCNH District Show”Circus of Roses”

1994       Wine and Roses                                          May 14-15    28th Annual**     – Fall “On The Road With Roses”

1993       Tribute to Modern Composer Sammy Cahn           May 1-2   27th  Annual

1992       Rock “n” Roll “n” Roses                                 May 2    26th  Annual          Fall A Centennial Celebration

1991       Happy 25th Anniversary                                 May 4    25th  Annual

1990       Days of Wine & Roses                                    May 5    24th  Annual

1989       Summer Dream                                               May  6     23rd  Annual          – Fall Symphony of Roses

1985       Land, Near and Far                                         May 11   19th  Annual**

1984       Olympics                                                           May 12  18th  Annual**

1983       Let’s go to the Parade of Roses                     May 14  17th  Annual**

1981       Rose Garden                                                      May 3    15th  Annual

1966       First Annual Spring Rose Show                    April 30-May 1