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!


Note:  Blogger Break - post pre-programmed.


DJan said...

Beautiful roses, VB. I wondered if in the warm sun the scent of the roses filled the air. I notice that happens at the local garden shop when it's sunny. I do hope these roses stay where they are and someone else will come to tend them.

David said...

Vagabonde, Beautiful photos as usual! I couldn't believe the size of those rose bushes... Those gardens reminded me of my Aunt's property in Buckhead. She married a businessman who became the CEO of Coca Cola and her passion was flowers. With her 'staff', she maintained beautiful gardens...replacing them each time a storm damaged the flowers! Since her passing, I've always wondered what happened to that property. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Pondside said...

I think I spied you in one of the pictures!
I enjoyed this post, and if I could have one rose, it would be the Easter Basket. So sad that the roses aren't being cared for - there is a dearth of volunteers everywhere. said...

Such a magnificent rose garden.
I recognise some of the roses.
They are my favorite of all flowers..
I like the way you have used pickmonkey and would love to know how you did the different angle ones..
A great old home.. its so good to know there are poeple that look after these lovely places to visit.
nice post..enjoyed the tour.

Jojo said...

My daughter went to Paideia so we were lucky to get to see this rose garden quite often several years ago. I'm so sad to read that the roses may need to find a new home. It would be lovely to keep them right where they are. It's beautiful there.

I watched a gardening program several years ago that made me cry. It was a beautiful garden in Virginia. The gardner/owner was aging and talking about moving to a senior living home and talking about how there was no promise of selling his home (garden) to someone who could love and tend his plants. My mom is old and feeble and she has spent almost all of her savings on trying to keep up her garden. She loves it so much and every plant means something to her but who will tend it when she is gone. We need to have estate planning for beautiful gardens!!!

Down by the sea said...

So many roses and they are so beautiful, what a shame that hardly anyone knows about it and so it is not appreciated.
Sarah x

Kay said...

These are such gorgeous photos! I do LOVE rose gardens. I can almost smell these beautiful blooms.

Elephant's Child said...

What a glorious spot. I do hope they find a caretaker.
And I too could almost smell these beauties. (And for me a rose without a scent isn't a rose).

Ann said...

i had no idea there were that many different kinds of roses!!
the photos are beautiful....i am partial to the Carefree Spirit and Easter Basket roses!!!
one would think that this garden would get more than 10 visitors a month.
thank you for sharing these photos..i learned about many more roses!!!
the pizza looks soooooooooo good!!

Marja said...

Gorgeous roses I love them We have a beautiful rose garden in Hagley park here in chch. I will send your posts to my friend She is in Atlanta at the moment to sell her beautiful house there. Sad that the roses don't get looked after properly anymore. Let's hope for the best

Marja said...

Gorgeous roses I love them We have a beautiful rose garden in Hagley park here in chch. I will send your posts to my friend She is in Atlanta at the moment to sell her beautiful house there. Sad that the roses don't get looked after properly anymore. Let's hope for the best

Jenny Woolf said...

I do so love rose gardens. There is a wonderful one in Regents Park in the centre of London and I always try to go there in June. One of these days I will get out to the National Rose Gardens in Hertfordshire. I visited many years ago and kept a postcard to remind me which I found the other day. Only problem is I have to wait till June now ! :)

I love the dinosaurs. They remind me a bit of the ones at Crystal palace that I posted about a few weeks ago.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Another Beautiful place with so much to take in...! It is astounding that there were still so very many Roses and here it is, WAS almost October....
Those dinosaurs are quite wonderful---and such an interesting contrast to all those amazingly exquisite Roses. And to think they once Roamed right there in Georgia! Beautiful pictures, as always....!

Fennie said...

A beautiful garden but how strange that it (and the house) appear to have been abandoned. Would be very sad if all were lost. Still roses are very hardy and will soldier on years after years despite the weeds and neglect. Why so few visitors, I wonder. A ghostly park, truly.

bayou said...

What a joy and what a great discovery! But how sad that only so few people come and admire all this beauty. I hope for you, this garden will remain - it looks very tidy btw and will offer you more moments of pleasure. Great, that they are labelled, often labels disappear. Have you not a bit of spare time to go as a volunteer? I love the ruffled white/pink in the beginning - so romantic!

Jeanie said...

These really are dazzling. It's hard to imagine that there are so many varieties and so many look so different. Thanks for taking us there!

Pat said...

I love late roses- such a treat.
I hadn't heard the word Rosarian before but it is in my dictionary.

Fancy a gazebo with no seat! I would share your frustration.
I wonder if the roses were heavily scented? It seems ages since I really smelt a rose's fragrance.

Nadezda said...

Vagabond, you open for us new and new gardens, thank you! I love it' love roses and this one Apricot Candy, is wonderful.The lunch looks delicious!

Jocelyn said...

I am a gardener and a flower lover, but the appeal of roses hasn't struck me fully. However, this post takes me a far ways closer to believing I will one day become Rose Smitten.

Anonymous said...

gorgeous roses, and my grandmother had Mr Lincoln and Queen Elizabeth...they were her favorites
Thanks for sharing

Thérèse said...

Wondering if the Lophorhothon atopus(i?) would be mentionned in the KY Creation Museum? :-)
A post for rose lovers! Wow! I always admire the names given to roses: cherry, popcorn... so much fun.
Just hoping this garden will have a long life and will find volunteers of some kind.

Dee said...

Dear Vagabonde, thank you, once again, for sharing the beauty that you discover in nature. The roses are lovely. I never realized that one--like Mister Lincoln--could grow so tall. As to personal favorites, I liked the white popcorn one best because I prefer the single petalled rose, rather than multi-petals. They seem more simple to me; less complex and that that appeals to my sense of beauty.

I'm sorry to learn about the prospect upheaval of the garden. I know nothing about roses but I'm wondering how well they'd thrive if they were all dug up and planted elsewhere. Peace.

Margaret said...

Your photos turned out quite well considering the sun. I love the "Mr Lincoln" roses and I too wish more people would visit.

sonia a. mascaro said...

What a wonderful place! I can feel the fragrance...
Love the "rose" bench.
Thanks for sharing so beautiful post.

Perpetua said...

I'm so late getting to this, Vagabonde, but I really enjoyed it. Such wonderful blooms. You really do have some glorious gardens where you live.

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