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Tag: Flowers


Oct 16 • 2013 • ClimberContainerFlowersGardenRose of the WeekWhite

ROSE OF THE WEEK

White star

Climbing rose

2009  5-8ft

A lovely award winning small white climber which flowers all summer long. Plenty of attractive repeat blooms of white with golden stamens and the petals have a ruffled appearance. Quite versatile as it will grow on a South or North facing wall and is quite happy in the garden or container. Healthy glossy medium green foliage which is very disease resistant Scented. GOLD STANDARD AWARD WINNER

Since 2006 a few roses are selected each year for this prestigious award. Based on cumulative information from invited independent judges, the Gold Standard is awarded to worthy varieties. Health, floriferousness, scent and commercial appeal are all considered key factors in the final choice. For further information please see Gold Standard Roses on the Main Menu. Bred by Harkness. UK

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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May 19 • 2013 • FlowersGardenIrelandMazePeaceRose GardensWalledlakes

ROSE GARDENS

NORTHERN IRELAND GARDENS

Northern Ireland has a rich garden heritage with some of the most magnificent gardens in Europe. The Northern Ireland Tourist Board is encouraging people to make the most of this time of year by visiting some of these stunning outdoor spaces. From grand ornamental gardens to charming walled gardens, award-winning rose gardens, and woodland meadows with wild flowers and lakes, there is a wide range of magical green spaces to be discovered, many bursting with history and interesting local stories. Here are some of the garden attractions which can be found throughout Northern Ireland. The Peace Maze at Castlewellan Forest Park, County Down, is the largest and longest hedge maze in the world. It is planted with 6,000 yew trees. The maze is open to the public and is a must-see for adults and children alike. Over at Carnfunnock Country Park along the Causeway Coastal Route there is also a maze in the shape of Northern Ireland with seven central spaces, one for each county in Northern Ireland and one for Lough Neagh. At the Tropical Butterfly House at Seaforde Gardens, County Down, you will find the oldest maze in Ireland in the centre of the walled garden. Crom Estate in County Fermanagh is one of Ireland’s most important nature conservation areas and is home to an ancient yew tree, designated one of the 50 Greatest British Trees. This huge tree is actually two yews situated a few steps apart (one male, one female) thought to have been planted close together in the 17th century. They have grown to give the appearance of a single remarkable tree. The handkerchief tree Each year in May there is a pilgrimage to Rowallane Garden to see the magnificent spreading branches of the handkerchief tree, Davidia involucrata. It has massive wide spreading branches laden with fluttering white tissue-like flowers. The handkerchief tree was once considered the Holy Grail of exotic flora. The species was discovered in China and this particular tree was purchased in 1904 for seven shillings and sixpence (approx 75p) and planted in Rowallane by then owner Hugh Armytage Moore. Meanwhile the largest rhododendron bush in Europe, as verified by the Guinness Book of Records, can be found in the magnificent gardens inside the walls of Hillsborough Castle. Hillsborough Castle and Gardens are open to the public for tours each Saturday in May and June. Must-see gardens Mount Stewart, Newtownards, Co Down, is one of the most inspiring and unusual gardens in Northern Ireland. The gardens, planted in the 1920s, reflect great planting artistry that was the hallmark of Edith, Lady Londonderry, and the mild climate of Strangford Lough allows many rare plants to thrive. Visitors can enjoy formal gardens of clipped topiary, statuary and magnificent colour schemes and a picturesque lake surrounded by beautiful swathes of woodland. The formal areas exude a strong Mediterranean feel and resemble an Italian villa landscape and the wooded areas support a range of plants from all corners of the world, ensuring something to see whatever the season. Florence Court, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, enjoys a peaceful setting with a dramatic backdrop of mountains and forests. Visitors are invited to discover many serene and beautiful corners by exploring the pleasure grounds and the walled garden within this magnificent demesne where garden lovers will find the famous Florence Court yew, reputedly the 'parent' of all Irish yew trees. Other interesting features include a sawmill, original ice house, and charming summerhouse. Glenarm Castle Gardens, Ballymena, Co Antrim, is one of Ireland’s oldest walled gardens, dating from the 18th century. Beautiful in all seasons, the walled garden and tea room are open from May until the end of September, when the garden is still rich with displays of herbaceous plants. The Argory, Co Armagh/ Tyrone is located in a wooded park above the River Blackwater. The early Victorian house of The Argory is surrounded by sweeping lawns with two formal gardens. The first, a charming rose garden with dwarf rose bushes in box-edged beds, is planted around a sundial. The second, much larger and called the Pleasure Ground, has a terrace overlooking the river, the view framed by a pair of striking, stone-built houses with Chinese-style windows. The surrounding borders reflect the taste for exotic trees and shrubs with a special feature being made of the many famous shrubs raised at the Slieve Donard nursery in County Down. Rowallane Garden, Saintfield, Co Down, is an enchanting garden enclosed within a demesne landscape. It was laid out from the mid-1860s by the Reverend John Moore and afterwards by his nephew, the plantsman and selector Hugh Armytage Moore, who established and developed connections with seedsmen and botanic gardens throughout the world. The garden reflects the beautiful natural landscape of the surrounding area with spectacular displays of shrubs and several areas managed as wildflower meadows. Castle Ward, Strangford, Co Down, has 40 acres of parkland and contains many enchanting historical garden features such as the Temple Water, an early 18th century formal canal created to reflect the picturesque ruins of Audley Castle and Lady Anne's Temple. Other features include the sunken garden with grass banks and Irish yew trees, and the rock garden created on a natural outcrop. The parkland grounds at Castle Ward are ideal for those interested in garden history and visitors can enjoy walking trails, an exotic garden, stunning vistas and a picturesque farmyard as well as woodland, lakeside and parkland walks with stunning viewpoints. Gardening events this summer Go on the Bangor Castle Walled Garden Tour on June 12 and get an insight into the garden and its history as well as enjoying a question and answer session. The walled garden was never open to the public when it was built in the 1840s and has recently been restored by North Down Borough Council. Shakespeare’s tragic tale of star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families has become one of the most enduring love stories with Romeo and Juliet becoming symbolic of young lovers. Make sure you don’t miss this famous love story in the surroundings of the beautiful walled gardens on July 24 and 25. Belfast’s Rose Week, a celebration of Northern Ireland’s rose heritage, is back from July 15 to 21 in the stunning grounds of Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park. The flower spectacular is the perfect opportunity for visitors to experience one of the world’s leading rose gardens, while enjoying flower related competitions, workshops, demonstrations, children’s entertainment, and the judging of the international trial roses by a panel of experts. The City of Belfast International Rose Garden has made the park world famous. The park contains more than 30,000 blooms in the summer, divided into trial and display beds, an historical section, and a heritage garden that displays the best roses from local breeders. The Antrim Garden Trail is now in its second season. The trail includes the most distinguished public and private open gardens in Country Antrim, offering garden lovers the chance to discover ancient plots, glorious flower beds, scented walkways, and charming garden walks. The self-guided trail lists a series of nine must-see gardens throughout Antrim including the Belfast Botanic Gardens, Benvarden Garden in Dervock, close to the north coast, and large public gardens such as Antrim Castle Gardens and Clotworthy House in Antrim. The trail offers garden enthusiasts, groups, families, and couples great variety as well as a unique insight into County Antrim. Each of these nine stunning spaces is a haven for garden lovers and some of the features waiting to be discovered include 17th century and Victorian ornamental gardens, sundials, a cobbled stable yard, two of Europe’s finest early greenhouses, and a hornbeam maze in the shape of Northern Ireland. To learn more about Northern Ireland’s gardens, events, and seasonal highlights, or for further information on places to stay or things to see and do in Northern Ireland, contact the Northern Ireland Tourist Board on CallSave 1850 230 230 or click on www.discovernorthernireland.com  

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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May 15 • 2013 • EnglishFlowersPink.CuppedPrunedRose of the Weekbloomsbushyclustersseasonshrub

Rose Of The Week

ENGLAND'S ROSE

English Shrub rose 2010   4ft

A new English rose which is a particularly tough and reliable variety of medium size, with flowers of deep glowing pink.  They are shallowly cupped at first; the outer petals eventually reflexing back and revealing an attractive button eye.

'England's Rose' flowers more or less continually from June right through until the end of the season, in October or even November.

The blooms are nicely held in large clusters.   This is a healthy weather resistant rose, even in periods of continual rain the blooms do not ball and the petals drop cleanly.

It will form an attractive, bushy shrub of about 4ft in height and 3ft across, although it could easily grow taller if pruned lightly.

An ideal variety for planting in a rose border or for mixing with perennials.

The fragrance is particularly fine; strong warm and spicy with a classic Old Rose character.

 

Essential reading for all English Rose enthusiasts.

‘The English Roses’ by David Austin.

Please go to  GARDENERS GIFT SHOP on the main Menu.

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

 

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Apr 03 • 2013 • AromaticChicagoFloridaFlowersGardenIslandsRoseRose Gardens

ROSE GARDENS

RINGLING ROSE GARDEN

What's A Few Weeds !!!

Before ground was broken for their Venetian-style Sarasota mansion, Ca' d'Zan, before all the paintings, tapestries and sculpture that would form the collection of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art were bought, Mable Ringling started her rose garden.

The Italianate wagon wheel of heady aromatic roses that was completed in 1913 turns 100 this month, making it the oldest tended rose garden in Florida.

John Ringling was a tall, blunt, all-business lover of excitement and the grandiose, perfect traits for a circus magnate. His Ohio farm girl wife was a pretty, petite and gracious lover of flowers, who was also an avid reader and a quick and lifelong learner.

The couple traveled throughout Europe. While John scouted new acts for the family's "Greatest Show on Earth," Mable spent her time in museums honing her taste. Together they bought what pleased them, especially in Italy.

Mable decorated all their homes - in addition to Ca' d'Zan, there was a 100-acre estate in Alpine, N.J., now part of Palisades Interstate Park; 636 Fifth Ave., now Rockefeller Center; a property in Chicago; and the neo-classical Worcester Home on Bird Key, part of a chain of barrier islands between mainland Sarasota and the Gulf of Mexico. The Ringlings also owned 100,000 acres in Oklahoma and Montana.

They began wintering in Sarasota in 1911. When working with architects and craftsmen, Mable was as determined as her husband to have it her way. She must have been, to envision a formal rose garden in the 20-acre jungle of mangrove swamp, rattlesnakes, water moccasins and alligators along Sarasota Bay that they selected for their winter estate.

"We have records of her working wearing a gun on her hip and high boots," said Ron McCarty, curator of Ca' d'Zan for 32 years. "She was quite a woman."

Mable hated snakes, but they weren't going to stop progress on her rose garden. There was nothing like it in the Sarasota of those days, a quiet enclave of 800 souls when the Ringlings arrived.

Not that the Ringlings and the Florida land boom allowed it to stay that way for long. John became the area's largest landowner and built the causeway from Sarasota to St. Armands, Longboat, Lido and Bird keys, which he then developed.

After creating the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, he was instrumental in founding what has become the Ringling College of Art and Design.

Mable was elected first president of the first Sarasota garden club, the Founders Circle, and strongly supported beautifying the city growing around their winter home.

She was elected president of the Sarasota Woman's Club a year later. She commissioned the New York architect responsible for the exterior of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to design their art museum in Sarasota.

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from. (click below)

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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Mar 19 • 2013 • BloomingColourClustersFlowersPetalsRose of the WeekYearclimbingfoliage

Rose Of The Week

PENNY LANE Climbing Rose 1998  14-15ft

Rose Of The Year 1998 This is the first climber to be voted Rose Of The Year in the UK. It is a significant addition to the range of repeat blooming climbers, because of the old fashioned nature of the flowers. They are filled with ruffled, informal petals which become larger and more beautiful as they expand. The colour is pearly blush with light apricot in the depths of the fragrant flower. 'Penny Lane' blooms continuously through summer and autumn on long slender shoots, usually singly, and sometimes in small clusters. The plant has flexible stems and grows vigorously to average height or more, making it ideal for pillars, pergolas, arches, wall and fences. The plentiful foliage is healthy, dark green and shiny with excellent disease resistance. Fragrant. Highly Recommended.

AWARDS Rose Of The Year 1998. GOLD STANDARD AWARD WINNER 2008 PENNY LANE   (Hardwell) Since 2006 a few roses are selected each year for this prestigious award.   Based on cumulative information from invited independent judges, the Gold Standard is awarded to worthy varieties.  Health,  floriferousness,  scent and commercial appeal are all considered key factors in the final choice. Bred by Harkness Roses. UK For further information  please see  Gold Standard Roses on the Main Menu.

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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Mar 04 • 2013 • ClimberFlowersHealthyNew Roses For 2013PurpleStripedWhitebloomsfoliage

NEW ROSES FOR 2013

OH WOW

CLIMBING ROSE

8FT-10FT

OH WOW is exactly the reaction you will have when you see this beautiful climber.

Purple and white striped blooms cover this stunner all summer long. The large exotic flowers appear in flushes from spring to autumn and are a real head turner. A very healthy rose with glossy medium green foliage which has excellent disease resistance and will tolerate a little shade. The perfume is not very strong but quite pleasant. Makes quite an unusual show as a cut flower.

Bred in the USA by Tom Carruth where it is known as 'Purple Splash'

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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Feb 25 • 2013 • EnglishFlowersGardenRoseRose GardensScentsSummerperfume

ROSE GARDENS

LEVENS HALL ROSE GARDEN

Nothing can compare with the sights and scents of a traditional english rose garden in full bloom throughout the summer. There is an abundance of flowers, delicate confections in pinks and whites or deeper velvety reds, each with its own rich and individual exotic perfume.

This area is planted throughout with 'English’ roses. The result of hybridising the wonderful older roses with modern repeat flowering varieties to get the best features of both. They include: 'Belle story', 'Perdita', 'Chaucer', 'Gertrude Jekyll', 'Mary Rose', 'The Countryman' and 'Wife of Bath', all in shades of pink. 'LD. Braithwaite' and 'Wenlock' in crimsons, and 'Winchester Cathedral' in white. Drink deeply of their heady perfume. Breathe in the scents of summer...

The old rose garden at Levens Hall is charmingly set in an intricate pattern of low hedges and enticing winding pathways. The tree at its centre is the Maidenhair tree Ginkgo biloba, a unique survivor. Once known only through fossil records, the species was re-discovered in China in 1758. The Levens specimen in the centre of the rose garden is about 60 years old. Unusually for a conifer, the Ginkgo is deciduous and has flat fan shaped leaves which turn a lovely yellow colour before falling in the Autumn

Opening Times & Ticket Prices

31 March - 10 October

Open Sundays to Thursdays

(Closed on Fridays and Saturdays during the Season, ALSO CLOSED SUNDAY 9th JUNE)

The Gardens

10.00am - 5.00pm

The House

Open 12 noon - 4.30pm

(Last admission 4.00 pm)

Admission

House & Gardens - £12.50

Gardens Only - £8.50

No charge for Children under 16 - accompanied by an adult (four children per adult maximum)

Free admission to the Gift Shop and Bellingham Buttery.

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from. (click below)

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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Feb 06 • 2013 • Climbing.AwardFlowersGoldenNew Roses For 2013PatioSmall.WhiteSummerrepeat

NEW ROSES FOR 2013

WHITE STAR

Patio Climbing rose 6ft-8ft A lovely award winning small white climber which flowers all summer long.

Plenty of attractive repeat blooms of white with golden stamens and the petals have a ruffled appearance.

Quite versatile as it will grow on a South or North facing wall and is quite happy in the garden or container.

Healthy glossy medium green foliage which is very disease resistant

Scented.

GOLD STANDARD AWARD WINNER

 

Since 2006 a few roses are selected each year for this prestigious award.   Based on cumulative information from invited independent judges, the Gold Standard is awarded to worthy varieties. 

Health,  floriferousness,  scent and commercial appeal are all considered key factors in the final choice.

For further information  please see  Gold Standard Roses on the Main Menu.

Bred by Harkness. UK Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from. (click below)

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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Sep 09 • 2012 • BloomBudsFlowersFragranceGardenNew Roses For 2013Wonderfulfloribundaplant

NEW ROSES FOR 2013

EBB TIDE

Floribunda  2ft-3ft

EBB TIDE is a wonderful floribunda to add to your garden. Deep smoky purple buds open to full old-fashioned flowers the colour of rich plum velvet. Intense spicy clove fragrance only adds to the attractiveness of this rose. This very hardy floribunda will bloom all season long well into frost.  A captivating garden focal point that keeps getting better the longer it's established. Please note that young Ebb Tide plants may bloom in shades with a pinkish or reddish cast. The blooms will darken to purple as the plant matures.

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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Sep 02 • 2012 • ColourfulFlowersHealthyNew Roses For 2013Rosebloomsclimbingfoliageperfumeseason

NEW ROSES FOR 2013

CANDYLAND

Climbing Rose  10ft-12ft  2008 An attractive and colourful climber from the USA.

The blooms are a great combination of ivory yellow over pink on well formed flowers. Easy to grow and flowers right through the season.

A vigorous and healthy rose with a pleasant apple perfume. Glossy mid green foliage. A real eye catcher. Bred by Carruth. USA

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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Aug 30 • 2012 • CastleFlowersGardenGardeningRoseRose NewsWalled

ROSE NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

SCOTLAND

NEW ROYAL ROSE GARDEN

A NEW rose garden was officially opened at the Castle of Mey at the weekend to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the death of the Queen Mother.

The unveiling of the rose garden plaque was carried out by Caithness Lord Lieutenant Anne Dunnett and Ashe Windham, the chairman of the Castle of Mey Trust on Saturday.

The event celebrated this year’s Diamond Jubilee and commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Queen Mother’s passing.

The flowers for the Diamond Jubilee Rose Garden were all chosen by Prince Charles, who is known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland.

The garden was created within the walled garden, which was a favourite place of the Queen Mum and her corgis. She regularly frequented the Shell Garden on her visits to her Caithness home.

Commenting on the opening, Ashe Windham, said: "2012 has been an important year in the history of the royal family as well as the Castle of Mey and we are delighted that we have been able to commemorate such important milestones with such fitting tributes – our new rose garden and our exhibition.

"The Queen Mother bought the Castle of Mey in 1952 and the castle, as well as the gardens, had been neglected for some years. However, the Queen Mother’s dedication to the building as well as her passion for gardening ensured that life within and outwith the castle thrived.

"We are proud to have continued the work that was started here 60 years ago with as much pride, love and hard work as there has ever been."

From 1962, head gardener James Sinclair began work in restoring the gardens. Sandy Webster continued the work while in 2000, Grant Napier became head gardener and in 2011, Olga Ridley took over the role.

The new rose garden is the second tribute made by the trust, which has already launched an exclusive exhibition of photographs of the Queen Mum within Caithness and the Castle of Mey as well as displaying exclusive images and memorabilia from the 1952 coronation.

The exhibition, which was curated by Christine Shearer, is housed in Chauffeur’s Cottage in the castle grounds. It has already been a popular addition with the castle’s visitors.

The Queen Mum’s legacy lives on through the trust, the annual visits to the Castle by Prince Charles, and the North Highland Initiative, which he launched in August 2005 to promote and develop the economy and to support the rural communities of the North Highlands.

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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Aug 29 • 2012 • ColourFlowersHybridNew Roses For 2013Rosebrightbushyshrub

NEW ROSES FOR 2013

BRIGHT AS A BUTTON

Shrub Rose  2012.  3ft Produces an eyecatching display of cascading colour, this lovely Persica hybrid blooms freely with small pretty pink flowers with red and gold centres, nice easily managed bushy growth with exceptionally high disease resistance associated with the Persica’s.    Scented.

Available from November 2012

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

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Aug 27 • 2012 • BoscobelEnglishFlowersNew Roses For 2013Roseshrub

NEW ROSES FOR 2013

BOSCOBEL

English Shrub Rose.  David Austin. 2012  3ft

English Leander hybrid, ‘Boscobel’, bears rich salmon coloured flowers. “They commence as red buds which open at first to pretty cups, gradually developing into perfectly formed blooms of classic rosette formation”, says the rose breeder. The numerous small petals are of varying shades, mingling to provide a most pleasing effect. The delightful, medium-strong myrrh fragrance has a hawthorn character with hints of elderflower, pear and almond. It forms an upright shrub of medium size, with dark green, glossy foliage. All new varieties, according to David Austin Roses, are vigorous and healthy. Boscobel House, owned by English Heritage, was built in 1632. It is famous for the fact that Charles II hid there in an oak tree, whilst being pursued by Cromwell’s soldiers during the English Civil War. Available from November 2012

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

       

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Aug 25 • 2012 • FlowersGlossyGrowingGrowthHybridLeavesNew Roses For 2013Scentedplant

NEW ROSES FOR 2013

ALWAYS REMEMBER ME

Hybrid Tea Rose 3ft

The flowers of this hybrid tea are a soft peachy apricot, lightly scented and produced singly. Leaves are glossy and large and new growth is a bright copper red. Habit is upright. Rosa Always Remember Me is a medium growing plant reaching about 3 feet (100cms). Do you remember PC Bill Barker? His name is synonymous with the Cumbrian floods of 2009 when he was swept away from a collapsing bridge in Workington when ensuring the safety of others. His family and the community will never forget the courage of a people’s hero. And in years to come, a new rose called “Always Remember Me�? will blossom in memory of PC Barker’s steadfast nature. Sales of the rose will benefit the Air Rescue, an important charity nominated by PC Barker.

Available from Country Garden Roses from December 2012.

Details of all our roses are available on our web site.

Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

 

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Jul 09 • 2012 • BushesFlowersGardenGrassesLeavesRoseRose GardensTrees

Rose News From Around The World

USA

Hershey Rose Garden. Pennsylvania

The Hershey Rose Gardens  Well Worth A Visit

 Mention Hershey, Pennsylvania to anyone and they will immediately identify it with chocolate kisses and candy bars, and if they haven't got a sweet tooth, they may think of the gut-wrenching yet exhilarating roller coasters of Hershey Park. Touted as the “sweetest place on earth,” the streets are lined with alternating brown and silver street lights designed to look like chocolate kisses, wrapped in foil and unwrapped. But unless you're a lover of flowers, you probably haven't heard of the Hershey Rose Garden.

Having lived but a few miles from Hershey for most of my life, I was aware of the rose gardens, but like most people who live close to an attraction, I never made time to visit. It was always one of those things that I planned to do one day, but simply didn't have it on my list of priorities. The rose is my favorite flower and has been for as long as I can remember.

I'm especially attracted to the miniature ones and have purchased them for my mother almost every Mother's Day. Every time Mother's Day rolls around, I'm reminded that I still haven't made my trek to the gardens. I make my purchase and then promise myself that this will be the year I'll visit, only to become busy with some project that takes up all my time and before I realize it, the leaves are falling from the trees and I'm pulling out the winter hats and coats.

This year was different. My boyfriend decided it was time I made that visit. He started with little suggestions now and then, which I sort of heard and nodded an absent minded “uh-huh” to. Then he stepped it up to reminiscing about visits he had made so many years ago with his parents. Again, I gave the obligatory nod and mumbled response. I was always just so busy being focused on other things. Finally, he simply said he thought we should go on a particular day the coming week and me being my usual preoccupied self, nodded absentmindedly and went on about my business as usual.

The night before the chosen day, he asked me what time I wanted to leave to go over to the gardens and I realized I'd been had. I didn't want to get up early to go look at some flowers and I surely didn't want to rush around to get there. I picked early afternoon, thinking one or two hours for visiting would be plenty before heading home so I could make dinner. As it turned out, I was terribly wrong, but that comes later.

We arrived at about one in the afternoon and walked along a shaded walk lined with flowers and decorative bushes and grasses. It was very pretty and a nice hint at what may be waiting beyond the admission building. When we stepped up to the window to pay for two adult admissions, I thought my eyes were going to bug out of my head. Without a word, I handed over the $22 fee for the two of us. As we headed around the corner of the building to enter the gardens, I leaned toward Mark and told him quietly I couldn't believe we'd just paid that much money to look at a few flowers. After all, I could walk down any residential street in our neighborhood and look at them for free.

We stepped beyond the tall trees surrounding the admissions building and a whole new world was opened for me. It was breath taking! Those “few” flowers I'd been griping about only seconds before, were spread out before me in a magnificent display of wonder. 5,000 rose bushes of 275 varieties and various colors grew in perfectly placed bed after bed, row after row, all surrounding a gorgeous pond with a fabulous water fountain in the very center.

I stood there awestruck for quite a few moments, my mind furiously trying to figure out how in the world I would see all there was to see in the little bit of time I had allotted. There are over 23 acres providing a home for a marvelous collection of eleven different themed gardens, one of which is a children's garden, in addition to the Butterfly House.

Finally, I simply decided to remain within the central part of the grounds, surrounded by roses. I knew we wouldn't get to see all the other gardens, and wished I had been smart enough to begin my visit earlier so I wouldn't feel as though I had to rush to see everything. As it turned out, I was able to see the perennials garden, the Children's Garden, and the Butterfly House before we finally took our leave almost five hours later.

As one would expect with roses, there's a bit of a romantic story attached to the Hershey Rose Gardens. Milton Hershey and his wife Catherine (Kitty) lived in a mansion they named High Point, appropriately named due to its position on a rise overlooking the Hershey chocolate factory. He was 41 and she was only 26 when they married in 1898. As the story goes, Milton gave Kitty a bouquet of fresh flowers every day of their marriage, as she took great pleasure in gardens and their flowers. Milton, too, was a lover of horticulture and flowers.

Their idyllic marriage ended in 1915 when Kitty died following an extended illness. Three years later, a memorial rose garden in her honor was planted at High Point by her husband who was never to remarry. The garden and grounds had always been open to visitors from the moment the Hershey's had completed construction. Kitty had been active in adding her personal gardening touches throughout the town with plantings of flowers and trees, believing the people would enjoy their homes more if they were made “nice”.

The Hershey Rose Gardens opened in 1937 on only 3.5 acres, but there were 12,000 roses bushes to see. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the gardens, and with the celebration, the rose named for Milton S. Hershey in 1940 has been reintroduced. It was originally planted in the garden in 1941 and over the years, the number of bushes had dwindled to just six of them. As a result, budwood was sent to growers in South Carolina and Canada in time to have 20 of the bushes planted for this year. It's expected that there will be about 75 by next year, with enough in 2014 to be able to sell to visitors and flower shops.

By the time we left the gardens, I had captured more than 400 pictures of the most gorgeous flowers I've ever seen. I rushed to my computer to get them downloaded so I could look at them all over again. While I was busy with my camera and computer, Mark took to reading the garden brochure given to all visitors. We discovered, to our disappointment, that there are yearly memberships to be had. The cost is $60 per couple or $75 for families with children under the age of 18. The family membership also covers grandchildren under the age of 18. Our disappointment stemmed from the fact that had we read the brochure while we were at the gardens and decided we wanted a membership, they would have counted our admission fee toward the membership.

Mark picked up the phone on the slim chance that their membership director might cut us a break. When he reached the woman in charge of memberships, he explained what had happened and asked if they would be willing to consider the day's admission price if we came the next day to purchase a membership. Not only did she give us the discount, but she gave us more than a few days. And to make sure there was no mix up she gave Mark her name and business number, as well as emailed the folks at the admissions building to inform them of the arrangement. When we took my grandson a few days later, they not only were aware of the arrangement, but they knew us by name.

In addition to the right to view the gardens, there are many planned activities throughout the year for which both children and adults are invited without cost as a member. There is an annual reception and newsletters sent out to inform members of events and issues. My favorite perk is the one where a membership to the Hershey Gardens is reciprocated at a number of other botanical gardens across the country.

We've been to the gardens three times so far since we joined a month ago. I still have not seen everything there is to see. I can't think of any other activity or organization I've belonged to that has provided so much for the money spent. If you're coming to Hershey, The Gardens is one attraction well worth visiting, but make sure you've given yourself plenty of time to take it all in!

The more beautiful you make something which people can see and use, the more enjoyment they will get out of it.” ~~~Milton S. Hershey

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk

 

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