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HERSHEY ROSE GARDEN
Besides building a business, a town and a school for orphaned children, Milton S. Hershey’s support of local horticulture earned him his own rose.
Having a town named after you is cool enough, but having your own rose? Now that’s cool.
When asked to sponsor a national rosarium in Washington, D.C., Hershey instead decided to create a “nice garden of roses” in his hometown.
Working with horticulturist Harry Erdman, Hershey designed a 3½-acre rose garden that included a small pond and more than 12,000 rose bushes of 700 varieties. The Hershey Rose Garden opened to the public in 1937.
The following year, the American Rose Society honored Hershey’s support by naming a rose after him. In 1940, the M.S. Hershey Rose, a scarlet-crimson red (velvet-black red) was planted in Hershey Gardens.
Unfortunately, the number of M.S. Hershey Rose bushes dwindled over the years. But now officials and supporters have launched a campaign to bring the beautiful namesake rose back to its former glory.
Using cuttings from existing bushes, the rose is being bred by two nurseries. Several of the new bushes, developed with advanced methods to fight disease, will be planted this year. By next year, 75 of the rose bushes will bloom in the gardens.
The Hershey Gardens encompasses 23 acres of themed gardens, colorful seasonal displays, unusual trees, and a magnificent outdoor butterfly house that houses 300 butterflies.
As part of its 75th anniversary celebration, the garden is planning to create a M.S. Hershey Tribute Garden to showcase the revival of the special Hershey rose bush.
The new garden will feature a variety of trees and annuals. A special tribute to Hershey will feature a special circular seating area that will include 75 commemorative naming opportunities. A quote by Hershey also will feature prominently in the garden: “The more beautiful you can make the place look, the better life the people will have.”
The tribute garden will overlook the community that bears his name.
Hershey “dreamed of building a community where residents could enjoy a wonderful quality of life,” said anniversary co-chairwomen Trish Foulkrod and Ashie Santangelo.
“He valued horticultural beauty and made it a priority in his community. Attractive green lawns and manicured beds created a beautiful setting for his thriving town.
“Today, Mr. Hershey’s legacy of horticulture can still be found throughout our town.”
For more information on the 75 donor opportunities or the tribute garden, contact the Hershey Gardens membership office at 63 W. Chocolate Ave., Hershey or call 717-534-3492.
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