Temecula Valley Rose Society

Established in 1991

The Vogel's Iris Garden at Rose Haven


The Norma & Leon Vogel Iris Garden

A portion of the Rose Haven Heritage Garden has been set aside to accom­modate the dona­tion of 50 irises by Norma and Leon Vogel. Their dona­tion, which is greatly appre­ciated, is des­cribed in the follow­ing article, taken from The Californian news­paper.

By JENNIFER KABBANY – for The Californian, March 14, 2009

TEMECULA —Norma and Leon Vogel's backyard boasts hundreds of irises, so donating 50 potted irises to the Temecula Valley Rose Society wasn't a stretch for the Murrieta couple, they said.

"We love irises, and we thought it would be a nice way to get them in front of the public," said Norma Vogel, 89.

The donation reinforced the couple's commitment to spreading the joy of gardening and their love of irises, society members said Saturday, as they worked to plant the flowers in their 3.4‑acre Rose Haven Heritage Garden.

Rebecca Weersing, past president of the society, said planting the irises also illustrates the continued growth and improvement of the heritage garden and the society's effort to offer something special and beautiful to the community. The Vogels are part of the Temecula Valley Garden Club, whose members were on hand Saturday to help with the planting. Chaparral High School students also pitched in as part of their Regional Occupational Program class.

"This is a wonderful step forward in our collaboration with other groups in developing the garden as a community resource," Weersing said. "The Vogels represent the beauty and the caring that can be shared through the love of gardening."

The garden is open from dawn to dusk all year and is free to visitors, she said.

In April and May, when the roses bloom, the garden comes alive with colors and fragrances, she said.

"It's very cathartic to come out to nature, to enjoy the quiet," Weersing said.

The garden's bloom will be an especially impressive sight this year thanks to the ongoing help of the ROP class, Weersing said. Over the last two months, the Chaparral students have helped with weeding, clearing debris, trimming trees and bushes, spreading mulch and other projects, she said.

Teacher Emmett Keith‑Jones said his marketing students are using this service‑learning project as a tool to practice their networking skills as well as create a lasting legacy in the community.

"It's marketing in action," he said.

Senior Jesse Parnell, 18, said the project has been a good thing so far, forcing him to practice his communication skills with society members and giving him a chance to tell people about his fledgling computer business.

"Helping (the society) people is what you should do," he said. "And marketing takes communication."

The rose society, founded in 1990, has about 100 members. It meets from 10:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month, except July, in the Community Room B of the Ronald H. Roberts Public Library on Pauba Road. Its heritage garden in southern Temecula off De Portola Road is home to more than 1,600 roses, according to society members.

As the teens helped spread mulch around the 18‑year‑old garden Saturday, others were busy at work planting the Vogel's irises in a special part of the garden lined with decorative rock.

The society plans to install a plaque in honor of the Vogels where the irises are planted.

"It's a marvelous thing they did," society President Ron Rumbold said of the donation. "It enhances the overall garden."

The Vogels, who have been married for 69 years, are not just iris lovers, but award-winning iris growers.

In 2005, their irises won best of show at the San Diego Iris Show, the Temecula Valley Garden Club Show and the Fallbrook Garden Club Show. Their backyard has also served as a backdrop for a UC Riverside landscaping class. Leon Vogel, 90, served as editor of the San Diego Iris Society monthly newsletter for about a decade.

On Saturday, Leon Vogel was a bit under the weather. He watched quietly as the irises were planted. In a written statement, he said it was a privilege to add his irises to the garden.

The Vogels have done their own work with community service projects. Leon Vogel used to play a large role in St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church's food pantry. Norma Vogel, a quilter, has donated her creations to Moms in Touch International, a Christian group of mothers across the globe who pray for their children and schools.

"They are Temecula treasures," society member Kathy Turgeon said of the Vogels, while watching some members work the ground to prepare to plant the irises.

"They have done so much for the community."

Irises In A Rose Garden?

Our October [2008] speaker is very well known in Southern California. He is Leon Vogel, best known for his beautiful, prize winning irises. Leon and his wife Norma have been growing irises for 67 years, and he has been in awe of these fantastic blooms for all those years. Irises have been called the perfect companion flower for the rose.

Leon belongs to various iris societies and is the immediate past president of the San Diego Iris Society. His irises have won many awards, including "Best of Show" for the past two years from the San Diego Iris Society, and the Temecula Valley Garden Club. He is also a well-known iris hybridizer and enjoys sharing his vast knowledge with all.

This month Leon will be demonstrating how to divide an iris clump and explain how to properly plant them. He will be explaining the difference between bulbs, tubers, and roots. Bring your iris questions and problems to the meeting for expert advice.

A Little Iris History:

Culture and Propagation for Fun and Beauty

by Leon Vogel

Iris blooms have been traced back in stories as early as 5 A.D. In the early 1920's, Irisarian W. R. Dykes started keeping historical facts of iris events, characteristics and growing habits, blooming traits and other cultural facts.

By hybridizing, the flower has been improved so that today we have larger blooms, stronger bloom stalks, re‑bloomers, more blooms on each stalk, and plants which are disease resistant.

It is the only flower that I know of where hybridizers go out in early morning, with coffee in hand, to see the new blooms that have opened during the night. It is like a new child. No one has ever seen this new bloom – mostly the new color, but other features like a horn or a flounce from the beard.

Even local Irisarians go out the same each morning to see the first bloom of their purchases the previous fall. It is very exciting. I have a couple of blossoms that I must go out more than once to have a look. It's just hard to get enough of that gorgeous bloom.

The iris was the inspiration for the artist who drew the fleur‑de‑leis – the flower used on French currency for many years.

An Iris Demonstration Garden to be Created

by Kathy Katz, November 2008

Hello All. At our October meeting many of us enjoyed learning about irises from Leon Vogel. He and his wife Norma have worked for irises like we have worked for roses, tirelessly and for years. The use of irises as companion plants to roses is well known and we hope to demonstrate this at Rose Haven.

To honor the Vogel's work, and with the support of The Temecula Valley Garden Club, we intend to create a demonstration Iris Garden at Rose Haven. Intermixed with the roses, in a special bed and with a special marker, will be the Norma and Leon Vogel Demonstration Iris Garden. With the combined work of the two clubs we hope to continue to remind and educate everyone who will listen that, while not everything will grow well in the Temecula Valley, some things grow superbly here. Irises and roses forever. Sincerely, Kathy.

Co-President's Message

by Kathy Katz, December 2008

I hope all of you heard Leon Vogel speak about iris last month, how well they grow here and what good companions they are to roses.

There is a corner in Rose Haven that will become an iris garden. The Temecula Valley Garden Club will help with the project, a marker will identify it as the "Norma and Leon Vogel Iris Demonstration Garden." The Vogels have not waited long for the project to progress. They have already dug and potted more than fifty prize iris, some too lovely to describe. I have begun tilling the area, and the Vogels have begun a plan. Norma knows how to make stone walls for a raised bed. Perhaps she will give us a class in the spring.

There is a committee forming and you're invited. There are already six of us. We will make sure nobody has too much to do, nothing too hard, lots of fun and good information, and probably some iris after a while.

Legacy Iris Garden: A Special Tribute

by Kathy Katz

From the April 2009 newsletter: It is with great personal thanks and gratitude to everyone who participated in or gave support to the iris planting at Rose Haven, either with your hands or your heart. Pulling together a tribute to the Vogel's iris passion and expertise took a lot of planning and work, rocks and determination.

While the Vogel Iris Bed is a joint venture of the Temecula Valley Garden Club and the Rose Society, the whole project hung on the talents of Norma and Leon Vogel. The moment Norma told me we would try for planting on Saturday, March 14th, I called our publicity chair Kathy Turgeon. It is hard to believe that Kathy had both the Valley News and The Californian, with photo­graphers and report­ers on such short notice!

The articles were published, one on the front page of the B section of the Californian the next day with gorgeous photos and wonderful words, and the other the next week on page 12 of the Valley News – again, with color pictures. This is the kind of publicity we usually just dream about and certainly the kind of tribute to our Temecula Treasures Norma and Leon Vogel that we hoped for.

It was great fun for me to take Norma to pick out rocks, one by one; for us to buy just the right kind of peat moss and gypsum to create the perfect iris bed; to watch the mulch spread by those wonderful young men from Chaparral High School; to till and water and build rock borders in which to plant those great iris donated from the garden of Norma and Leon.

Our planting day at Rose Haven was a perfect sunshiny day and we are so happy that Leon was able to join us in the garden on Saturday, March 14. His health continued to decline, and we were sad to learn that he passed away March 24, 2009. Our heartfelt condol­ences go out to Norma.

We are so thankful to have our Legacy Iris Garden at Rose Haven, planned by Leon and Norma, as a lasting tribute to their love of this wonderful, companion plant to roses.

Norma & Leon Vogel, 2009

Norma Vogel, 2009

The early iris bed

This is what it's all about!

Iris and roses, 2009

Iris in bloom, 2011

Splitting irises, 2013

Planting the splits, 2013

Iris in bloom, 2015

New drip irrigation system, 2017