Not too many people stick with a job for 40 years, but for Pam Roose there’s no other place she would rather work than a Botanic Gardens. When you love plants and nature as much as Pam does, the years seem to fly by. Pam began as a volunteer in the Gardens in 1983 and has continued in various capacities ever since.
Pam came to the Gardens with a wealth of experience and plant knowledge. She graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK with a degree in Plant Biology and immediately began working at Moorbank Gardens and Kilbryde Botanic Gardens, both part of Newcastle University. After one year she went back to school and received her Master’s degree in Marine Botany from Newcastle University. For the next three years she worked at the University of Liverpool’s Ness Botanic Gardens. It was there that she met Mikeal Roose, a US post doc at the University of Liverpool. After they married, they moved to Riverside when Mikeal was hired by UCR into a citrus research faculty position. Pam immediately began volunteering at the UCR Botanic Gardens. Dennis Kucera, the manager of the Gardens at the time, had her working wherever there was a need. She remembers her first job was working in full sun in the Iris Garden and how difficult that was for her since she was used to the cool weather of England. That didn’t stop her! She kept coming back and worked in many different areas of the Gardens.
In the mid-1980s Emeritus Director Dr. Waines hired Pam to propagate autumn sage cuttings and run field trials at Agricultural Operations on campus. He had received a grant from the Elvenia J. Slossen Fund for Ornamental Horticulture Research to test Salvia hybrids. That was the beginning of all the colorful Salvia x jamensis hybrids that have been named after people who have had a significant involvement with the Botanic Gardens. This year Dr. Waines named a new hybrid after Pam! It has a pale lilac pink lip and a darker hood.
Pam also worked with Dr. Irwin Ting on a Ficus project and in the Botany and Plant Sciences Department as the Lab Coordinator from 1986 – 1989, all the while still helping out at the Gardens. In 1989 she had her first child; and from then on she has been working at the Botanic Gardens part time. Her main areas of work have been the North American Desert, South Africa, the greenhouse, and the dome, her favorite being the greenhouse.
It has been my privilege to work closely with Pam the last six years. I have learned a lot from her about plants, enjoyed her incredible humor, and learned to relax and take a daily tea break. We are very fortunate to have Pam working at the Gardens for so many years.