The Rose Garden Tier

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The legendary rose. No other flower fascinates both gardeners and non-gardeners like the rose.  Frederick Vanderbilt was particularly fond of them. So, from 1910 – 1913, he consulted with Thomas Meehan and Sons to design additional tiers for the garden, which would be devoted to roses. Robert Cridland, who was associated with the Meehan firm at the time, was the primary designer, paying particular attention to the layout of color throughout. The Rose Garden is located to the east of the Perennial Garden, on two tiers. The centerpiece of the Rose Garden is a large fountain backed by a loggia designed to look like an Italian villa. Mrs. Vanderbilt would often host teas for visitors in this loggia.  A wire fence and pier system surrounded the Rose Garden.

The Rose Garden featured a variety of roses including, of course, hybrid tea roses. However, climbing and shrub roses were also extensively used. Photographs of the era show the use of annuals such as Canna from time to time. The original plan supported about 1400 roses.

 Mid-June through mid-July is the peak blooming season. However, there is sporadic bloom in the Fall. Many of the original roses were meant for a warmer area, and we have had to replace them with varieties for a colder area. These varieties include Canadian explorer, Fairy Tale, ground cover, polyantha, rambler and shrub roses. The total number of roses currently is 300 with the original color layout retained.

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