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



Themes of past RERS Rose Annual Spring Shows
51st Annual  |  Aloha! | April 29, 2017   

50th Annual | Golden Anniversary |  May 21, 2016                                            

49th Annual  | Roses Dancing in Our Garden | May 2, 2015

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

47th Annual | Star Wars (Tours) | May 11, 2013

46th Annual | Roses in Wine Country | May 5, 2012

45th Annual | Roses on Parade | May 7, 2011 | Fall NCNH Dist. Show “Last Rose of Summer”

44th Annual | Picture Perfect | May 1, 2010

43rd Annual| Simple Pleasures | May 2, 2009

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

41st  Annual | Stop and Smell The Roses | May 5, 2007

40th Annual | Mardi Gras | May 7, 2006

39th Annual | Fire and Ice | May 7, 2005

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

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

36th Annual | The Year of The Rose | May 4, 2002

35th Annual | The Rose Our National Flower | May 5, 2001

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

33rd Annual | Come Rain or Shine | May 1, 1999  | Fall “Sonoma County in the 1900s”

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

31st  Annual | The Rose: Legend & Lore | May 3, 1997Fall “Sonoma County Landmarks II”

30th Annual | California The Golden State | May 4, 1996Fall “Sonoma County Landmarks”

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

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

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

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

25th  Annual |  Happy 25th Anniversary | May 4, 1991

24th  Annual | Days of Wine & Roses  | May 5, 1990

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

19th  Annual** | Land, Near and Far | May 11, 1988

18th  Annual** | Olympics | May 12, 1984

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

15th  Annual | Rose Garden | May 3, 1981

First Annual Spring Show  | April 30-May 1, 1966