Tour the Wilson Rose Garden
The Garden currently contains over 1200 rose plants consisting of 180 different varieties, ranging from old garden to modern hybrids. Types include Old Garden Roses, English Roses (David Austin roses), hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, climbing roses, miniatures and shrub roses. In March 2003, AARS issued the following statement: “All-America Rose Selections is proud to present you with our 2002 Award for Outstanding Maintenance. Our evaluators found the Wilson Rose Garden to be in excellent condition and a real tribute to the Queen of Flowers. AARS is truly grateful for your efforts.”
A recent visitor observed: “One of the most amazing and spiritual places I have seen in a very long time. Congratulations on the creation and maintenance of this magnificent garden.” A Pennsylvania visitor described the garden as “An oasis for the senses.” A Canadian, “Unbelievable variety and one of the nicest we’ve ever seen!” From Florida, “Absolutely Fabulous!” From Arkansas, “Simply breathtaking!” Numerous international visitors have toured the garden, representing Japan, England, Belarus, Spain, Italy, Germany and others.
The “handicapped friendly” garden is divided intonumerous areas to focus on the varying interests of individual guests. Wisitors should first stop at the desk at the entrance tothe main arbor to obtain a “Visitor’s Guuide,” which contains a map of the garden showing the various areas and listing each variety by type, name, and bed number. At the path to the right of the main entrance is a series of wrought iron information plaques presenting an educational tour of selected historical Old Garden Rose Varieties in the garden.
It has been said that, “A garden without art is like a home without pictures.” With this in mind, the Rose Garden Board has incorporated art into various areas of the garden. The centerpiece of the collection is this 10 foot tall Georgia marble fountain sculpture by internationally known sculptor Horace Farlowe.
Other works of art include bronze, wrought iron, and wooden features. At right is a bronze sculpture, “Child with Rose,” by Wilson sculptor Sherrod Duggan. This sculpture is located in the pool in the “fragrance garden” area, an intimate circle of fragrant hybrid tea and grandiflora rose varieties, and with convenient benches for visitors to sit and “smell the roses” and rest or meditate on the beauties of creation.
The wrought iron main arbor in the garden covers the front section of the walk from the main entrance of the garden. Covered with 1999 AARS selection, “Fourth of July” roses, the arbor forms a “Tunnel of Love” for the garden’s frequent bridal couples. Nearby, on the left, is a rectangular assembly area surrounded by hybrid tea and grandiflora rose varieties and featuring a pergola which serves as a stage for weddings and our annual “Sunday In The Rose Garden” public festival activities on the third Sunday in May.
As you stroll from the fountain to the gazebo, you will want to check your watch by the attractive armillary sundial, a symbol of the history of the rose in European and Asian cultures. You will then be in the area used for the display of the All America Rose Selections’s annual premier planting of the year’s winning varieties for national marketing introductions for the following year. The visitor’s guide will indicate the bed containing the current year’s planting.
Surrounded by “Fragrant Apricot” floribundas and “Royal Sunset” climbers, you may rest in the shade of the gazebo and enjoy the aroma of these fragrant roses. You will also enjoy an overview of much of the garden from this spot, due to the slope of the garden site.
Photographers find many interesting vistas and angles for capturing the beauty of the garden. The tall trees at the right of this view provide a shady spot for picnickers. Eight handicap accessible picnic tables are provided for guests. Modern restrooms are located at the opposite end of the bricked walkway leading through the center of the garden.
A festival, “Sunday in the Rose Garden,” is held each year on the third Sunday afternoon in May. Activities include music, art contests for youth and adult artists, refreshments, garden tours, May pole dances, rose care and culture lectures by Witherspoon Nursary, door prize drawings, etc.
The 2009 (twelth annual) festival will be held from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 17. In addition to the above activities, as an All-America Rose Selections, Inc., accredited Public Rose Garden, we will unveil the All-America Rose Selections chosen varieties for 2010.