My Reminiscences of events, old and new, and travels, far and near
Saturday, October 5, 2013
A Rose Garden in Atlanta
While I was looking at roses on the Internet I found a rose garden in Atlanta that I did not know was there. It is called The Robert L. Staton Rose Garden. The garden was established in honor of Bob Staton as shown on the information plaque below.
The internet site indicated that this rose garden is one of only three test gardens in the United States that contain test roses from the All American Rose Selections (AARS) and American Rose Award of Excellence (ARS) miniature tests plants and donated roses (although this is no longer accurate, and I'll tell you about it below.) The garden consists of more than 1,000 rose bushes, is open free of charge near the Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta. One Friday September 20th we decided to go and have a look as the day was promising to be sunny and warm. At first we could not find the garden. We drove around the entrance to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History and I took a picture of the family of bronze dinosaurs greeting visitors. They are a hadrosaur species known as Lophorhothon atopus, and once lived in the region that is now Georgia. (Click on collage twice to enlarge.)
Driving to the parking lot I saw roses around a house at the far end of the parking area. This was the rose garden and the gate was open. There were many parking spaces but not a single car parked there. We walked through the gate and around the house to view the roses.
It was around 11 am and the sun was bright, the air was warm, not humid. With such dazzling light I knew my pictures would not be very good - but there were so many beautiful roses to photograph ... My husband went into a path, I went into another. The rose bushes were so tall that soon I could not see him.
The grass was a soft deep carpet under my feet.
In my garden in Decatur, GA., years ago, I grew a rose called Mister Lincoln - a deep red very fragrant rose. It grew to 6 feet tall and once, at Rich's Department Store in Atlanta, there was a rose show. I entered my best Mister Lincoln rose and won the "Novice" prize - a lovely silver bowl. Here, in this garden Mister Lincoln was more than 10 feet tall. I asked my husband, who is 6 ft. 1 to stand by the rose bush to give perspective on how tall Mister Lincoln is - maybe 11 feet tall ? I could not take a picture of a good rose specimen as the best ones were out of my reach.
I was able to take pictures of many other roses though - too many as usual, more than I can show here. There were several roses I did not know. One was a pretty Floribunda with an abundance of blooms going from white to cream and edged with pink. It has delicate frilly edges and is called Easter Basket.
A couple of roses had bright red blooms - one, a hybrid tea named Dolly Parton, had solitary blooms with a strong fragrance and big petals. The other, a landscaping shrub rose named Carefree Spirit had deep red blossoms with a sparkling of white around the eye.
For a rose lover, this garden was paradise - profusion of blooms everywhere, in every shape and shades, from little buds to masses of blossoms. How about these roses below, from cream and pale yellow to deep apricot ? The center rose is called Apricot Candy.
Some roses had few petals and a single color; others had many petals and were bi-color, such as the red and gold rose below named Perfect Moment.
Some rose bushes seem to be very prolific bloomers with clusters of flowers, such as Gourmet Popcorn on top left next to Cherry Parfait on the right. Below on the left is Peach Drift and I did not get the name of the rose on the bottom right.
One cutting of the rose below would fill a vase.
Almost October and there was still a wealth of roses. Luckily I had my sun hat on as it was quite warm under the noonday sun. I kept taking pictures though as each step brought more delights, like these pink roses.
I saw a small gazebo at the end of a path and slowly walked toward it to sit in the shade, but when I reached it - there was no bench inside.
I came back and sat on a "rose" bench but it was in full sun.
The garden on the other side of the house seemed to be shady so I walked to that area. There were many shrub roses. These roses are named Thrive and they sure do - in the beds, against and through the fence!
I did notice many "spent blooms" and that bothered me. At the Smith-Gilbert Gardens near our home volunteers come every week to cut the spent blooms. This encourages additional blooming, because if not, the plant will send its nutrients to the developing fruit - the rose hip, instead of producing more flowers. Critters also enjoy the spent roses and beetles and bugs nest in the fallen petals.
As we were leaving, a lady was walking in the parking lot. I asked her if she knew anything about these gardens and if there were some volunteers cutting the spent blooms. She told me that up to a couple of years ago it was a Test Garden with three paid rosarians to take care of the roses and Fernbank was not involved. After the last rosarian retired several months ago the garden was given to Fernbank Museum without prior notice. There are only two volunteers now taking care of the roses but one of them has hurt his back. Only ten visitors at the most come to the garden per month. She added that Fernbank was looking for another garden or association to take charge of the roses. Callaway Gardens has been approached and offered to move the roses to their gardens but they have not responded yet. As I mentioned at the start of this post, the internet information is not accurate. I hope the roses will stay where they are, near this old brick house - which belongs to Fernbank but is empty and needs restoration. It was close to 1:30 pm so we decided to go and have lunch close by. We went to Shorty's Pizza on North Druid Hill Road. (There are good reviews on their thin and crusty pizzas.) My husband had a small pepperoni cheese and I had a small Margherita pizza. We ended with their large warm chocolate chip cookie and whipped cream. Delicious!