Rose Garden Travelogue

Rose Garden Travelogue

When we think of traditional rose gardens we think of these elaborate layouts and designs of the most famous rose gardens around the world.  Rose gardens are often built that way to showcase the exquisite flowers and to offer visitors a true sensory experience by way of sight and smell.  Grassy paths take you around curving rows of roses bordered by clipped boxwood hedges; climbing roses cover expansive arched walkways; tree roses stand like soldiers at a sentry post neat and orderly. 

Summer, of course, is the best time to visit the acres dedicated to our nation’s most beloved flower; and if you have the means, international rose gardens offer an even greater splendor of travel.  If you can only venture a short distance from your home base, you’ll likely find that there is a rose garden within reach of your destination. 

Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden

I have met many rose enthusiasts over the years while working for Witherspoon.  Some have traveled far and wide to visit rose gardens.  It’s a passion I don’t think I’ll quite grasp as roses are not necessarily my favorite, but I have come to have an enthusiastic respect for this treasured flower.  From a horticultural standpoint it’s really quite an amazing shrub which continuously blooms its heart out from the beginning of the growing season to the end.  Most other ornamental shrubs will offer a period of bloom either early, mid or late in the growing season.  How the rose manages to keep up with itself is a great mystery.  There are a handful of roses that have their specific special time to put on their show, but overall most modern roses will reliably give the display over and over again. 

Close to home in the Piedmont of North Carolina you’ll discover an impressive variety of public rose gardens.  We’ll start with our very own rose garden on the grounds at Witherspoon in Durham where you’ll find a restful sitting area in the gazebo overlooking the entire rose garden.  The rose garden has approximately 2000 bushes of varying type from the miniature to the tree rose to the climbing rose.  Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the smells and sights of a rainbow of color in our rose garden. 

Gene Strowd Community Garden

Down the road, in either direction north or south, and you’ll find the Strowd Rose Garden in Chapel Hill or the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on Duke University’s campus in Durham.  Strowd’sgarden is all roses; Gene Strowd was an impassioned rose gardener and a beloved community resident.  Within the Sarah P.Duke Gardens you’ll find not only roses, but a grand botanical garden filled with many ornamental plants delighting every season of the year.

The Raleigh area is not without its own places to visit to see roses.  The first that comes to mind is the quietly hidden rose garden at the Raleigh Little Theatre.  Nestled in a small valley surrounded by towering trees, this is one of Raleigh’s best kept secrets.  Also, in Raleigh, is the JC RaulstonArboretum where you can see another superb botanical garden of ornamental plants, including roses, of course. 

Gene Strowd Community Garden

As you travel further outside the Triangle area you can visit the Rose Garden in Wilson, Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, and the McGillRose Garden in Charlotte.  For rose enthusiasts in North Carolina this is quite a list of places to visit. 

I’ve heard, though not experienced, that the International Rose Test Garden in Portland is an exceptional sight.  This garden serves not only public enjoyment, but also serves as (hence its name) an international test site for new roses for commerce.  The Portland area as a whole is abundant with places to visit to see all kinds of ornamental plants. 

J.C. Raulston Arboretum

The home of the American Rose Society in Louisiana is where you’ll see The Gardens of the American Rose Center.  The 118 acre garden area highlights over 65 distinct rose gardens and 20,000 rose bushes. 

Thinking about these elaborate places might prompt you for a mini vacation with only the rose in mind.  For the most ardent rose enthusiasts this is no big deal because they’re so enchanted by the rose.  For those not so passionate, but still admirers, you may have yourself a journey of a lifetime discovering new places to enjoy roses and rose gardens.  

J.C. Raulston Arboretum



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