The Modern Rose Garden will be receiving over 390 additional roses at Fellows Riverside Gardens. These additional roses will be part of a total replacement of seven beds and will be additional fill-ins to twenty beds. “Two of the past three winters were extremely cold which can cause cells in rose canes to burst and die, essentially causing all above ground growth to die. Extreme temperatures can also cause death of root systems therefore death of the entire plant. Finally, last year’s winter was cold without much snow cover. Snow cover helps protect rose plants and without it, the plants are subjected to the same conditions mentioned above,” explains Gardens Director, Andrew Pratt.
The ordering of the roses will take place in stages based on availability, with the first order to be placed this fall. Dennis Penner, Gardens Supervisor uses the American Rose Society’s (ARS) rose ratings as a guide to purchasing roses that are of exceptional rating. The Combined Rose List 2016 is also a publication used as a guide. “I will be glad to get the beds filled again, those two really cold winters took its toll on the roses,” says Dennis.
Beginning in 1963, the Modern Rose Garden was the first garden area to be constructed and planted. The will of Elizabeth Fellows who bequeathed the land which is now Fellows Riverside Gardens today reads: “The hillsides of the property so bequeathed now have or can be developed to have the same natural beauty as Mill Creek Park. The balance of this property shall be landscaped and developed as a rose garden with appropriate small shrubbery and flowers, so that the same become a beauty spot to be enjoy by all, and particularly the poor.”
The project has an anticipated completion date by the end of 2017, however based on availability of preferred roses, it may be extended to 2018. There are also plans to update the irrigation system for the roses themselves by the end of fall or early spring 2017, it is currently in the quoting process. “This reinvestment by the MetroParks into one of our most visited locations will ensure the continued status of Fellows Riverside Gardens as the premier display garden in the region,” says Mill Creek MetroParks Executive Director Aaron Young.”