The Rose Garden
Since ancient times roses, such as Rosa gallica, Rosa damascena, and Rosa alba, have been cultivated in gardens, but their isolation into a rose garden, called a 'rosarium' or 'rosery', is a 19th century practice. This was partly due to the popularity of the Gardenesque style, which displayed plants individually according to their kind, and to the introduction of the repeat-blooming China rose, Rosa chinensis, in the 1780's. Hybridization of the China rose to produce Bourbon, Noisette, Boursault, and Hybrid Perpetual roses capable of flowering from June to October enabled roses to become plants for 'modern' flower gardens.
The Rose GardenFrom the Annual Beds, pass through the pair of fastigate Irish yews (Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata') and spherical false arborvitae (Thujopsis dolobrata) into the Rose Garden. Four long rose beds repeat those of the Annual Beds (which were rose beds at one time). At the junction of the rose beds are four Yucca filamentosa specimens, backed by the shrub rose 'Scarlet Meidiland', both splendid in blossom in late June.
Within this Colonial Revival style rose garden, established in the 1950's from a student competition, a marble sundial terminates the primary garden axis. In the circular space surrounding the sundial four elliptically shaped beds are massed with the floribunda rose 'Lili Marleen'. To accentuate the circular design, an outer ring of white, pink, and red peonies are planted. Behind them are antique and modern shrub roses. The garden boasts over 100 rose varieties including historic moss and damask roses, such as the fragrant pale pink 'Celsiana' with tissue paper-like petals. It was given to the garden more than 20 years ago by the garden curator at Mount Vernon. The rose season begins each May with the pale yellow Scots rose (Rosa pimpinellifolia) and continues until frost halts the velvet crimson masses of 'Lili Marleen.' The Rose Garden
From the sundial, turn right into the early season (May, June, July) Perennial Garden or forward into the Beech Hedge Garden.