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."