Keen gardener Jean will be sorely missed by loved ones

editorial image


Born in Alexandria, August 16, 1921. Died in Melrose, June 2, 2015, aged 93

The funeral has taken place in Melrose of a long standing and beloved member of the local Borders community , Mrs Margaret Jean Roger (“Jean”) of Dean Place Newstead who died recently at the age of 93.

Jean was born in Alexandria , Egypt , in 1921,to a serving officer Lt. Col. Dymock and her mother Amy (nee Bernard). Her mother was the daughter of Charles B. Bernard an accomplished artist who made his home with his Japanese wife in Japan arriving there in 1875.

Jean spent a pretty idyllic childhood in the South of England but whilst on a Scottish holiday with her family found herself unable to return home due to the outbreak of war.

During the war years whilst living in Kemnay, Aberdeenshire she attended Gray’s School of Art under the tutelage of Robert Sivell one of the Kirkcudbright group of painters where Jean spent many a summer sailing and painting.

Jean loved to walk and paint in the Cairngorms and It was there that she met her future husband John Grant Roger who became an eminent Scottish botanist . After several years living near Buxton in the Peak District, the family set up home in Edinburgh where Jean immersed herself in the vibrant cultural scene as well as devoting herself to her children and many visitors.

In 1975 Jean and Grant retired to the country renting a house “Blakehope” in Caddonfoot (near Galashiels) for three years.

They loved the Borders so much they decided to make it their permanent home. In 1978 they moved to Newstead, to a house they named “Morrone” after the hill above Braemar where they honeymooned and on whose slopes Jean’s ashes will join those of her beloved Grant.

Their house was a delightfully bohemian profusion of books , plants, paintings , fossils , precious stones , mementos from field trips and exotic forays abroad, and was surrounded by a magnificent multi tiered garden that was Jean’s pride and joy, birch trees , wild flower copses, ponds, alpine borders, ferneries, rock gardens and a myriad of secret nooks and crannies that made this a garden of a naturally gifted plantswoman and artist.

For Jean was also a talented artist who illustrated much flora as well as painting and sketching a variety of subjects including her family and four children.

Fiercely interested in all the arts, politics , current affairs , literature, nature and music she had travelled widely soaking up different cultures and never lost her passion for knowledge and debate.

Her mind , inquisitiveness and intelligence never faltered even as her health did in recent years . She was very interested in people and drew a lot of affection from both her many loyal friends, neighbours and those who professionally cared for her and who also then became her friends. Jean was well known for her profuse and eloquent letter writing.

She was a familiar presence at The Scottish Rock Garden Club (Borders Group) events and in the afternoon tea lounges of the Ednam House and Dryburgh Abbey hotels as well as in the Melrose Abbey Fine Wines where she loved her baked potatoes and a good chat with all who came by.

She was in her element when visiting local plant nurseries especially nearby Lowood where she was a well loved visitor.

She loved company and loved to know people’s stories and interests.

People of all ages and backgrounds flocked to her house for tea and to hear her stories, and she was a familiar site at her flower bedecked front door , her fine mane of white hair blowing in the wind and a hearty wave goodbye “until next time“

Jean will be sorely missed by all her family and friends.