A Very Special Rose Garden

The very first garden
created in Springfield, Missouri's Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park was the Rose Garden.
      That was in 2002, and today the park complex has become the Springfield Botanical Gardens, and the Rose Garden now displays 160 hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda, and shrub roses, all grouped by color and planted in raised beds ringed in native stone.
      Sam McGowan, rose-lover extraordinaire, created the garden initially with the help of the Rose Society of the Ozarks and with the major contributions of 120 roses from the Jackson & Perkins company and 40 roses for the center bed from Theta Steinert of Steinert's Greenhouse & Gardens in Springfield. Theta Steinert has since donated, and continues to donate, all of the Garden's roses, and Sam through the years has maintained and improved the collection.
      In 2012, Sam finally decided to take a rest and stepped down to take his current advisory role, and the Garden came under the care of the Rose Society of the Ozarks with guidance by noted rosarian Dan Faflak.
      In 2014 noted garden writer and Master Gardener Bill Aldrich took over the care of the garden with the intention of raising and nurturing the flowers organically.
      The Springfield Botanical Gardens and Botanical Center are located at 2400 S. Scenic in Springfield, Missouri. We can't recommend highly enough that you pay this wonderful attraction a visit, including, of course, the Rose Garden.

Sam Watering
sam-watering-jpg.jpgSince 2002 Sam McGowan has been a familiar sight in the Rose Garden. Here, his prize 1953 Studebaker pickup at hand, he sprays water on the flowers, a practice some say encourages disease. Sam explained, however, that if the spraying is done early enough, plants can dry off, and overhead watering is beneficial. "I believe it cools them off," he said. The virtually perfect state of the flowers and foliage seemed to bear him out. 

The Classic

Sam's '53 Studi pickup in all its glory.

Sam and Dolly

Sam has some favorite roses, one of which is this rose, 'Dolly Parton,' a hybrid tea with coppery-red blooms and a sweet, spicy fragrance.

An Organic Approach

In 2014, Bill Aldrich, Master Gardener and former Chicago Sun-Times garden writer, now a Springfield resident, took over the care of the Rose Garden and is raising, nurturing, and protecting the roses organically. Here he works to prepare the Garden in early spring as wife Beth watches.

Some Spring Help

Master Gardener Tony Ahart lent a cheery hand in the Garden's early spring work in 2014.

'Fabulous', the floribunda rose shown at the top of the page, was introduced in 2001 and quickly became a favorite landscape rose. Vigorous and highly disease-resistant, it grows to 3 feet by 3 feet or larger and bears sprays of pure white camellia-like blossoms as wide as 4 inches each on long stems. 'Fabulous' has won countless rose show awards. It is also widely available in tree form.

'Ultimate Pink'
'Ultimate Pink' is for many the most beautiful of all pink roses. A hybrid tea, it grows to 4 1/2 feet tall with deep-pink blossoms 4 1/2 inches wide on very long stems. The flowers first appear as exquisite, pointed, ovoid buds. The blooms have a light, sweet fragrance. Withal, this rose was the Jackson & Perkins Rose of the Year in 1999.

'Oranges 'n' Lemons'
oranges-n-lemons.jpgThe 'Oranges 'n' Lemons' rose is a conversation piece wherever it grows. Commercially available as a floribunda, grandiflora, or hybrid tea rose, as a shrub rose it has a beautiful arching, fountain-like shape and can also be trained as a climber to 8 feet. The hybrid tea has very striking larger flowers. This rose has good disease resistance but does require spring freeze protection. The blooms have a moderate fruity fragrance.

'Mr. Lincoln'
Many gardeners throughout the world think 'Mr. Lincoln' "the best red rose" for its large, velvety dark red blossoms and intense fragrance. Blooms can be 6 inches wide and the plant six feet or more tall. The leaves are a rich, leathery green. A hybrid tea, 'Mr. Lincoln' was an All-America Rose Selection in 1965 and continues to win devotees. An extremely vigorous grower, it's best suited for the back of the rose bed.

'Veterans Honor'

Bravo! to the Rose Garden folk for including this elegant and uniquely beautiful hybrid tea rose in its public garden for all of us to see. 'Veterans' Honor' grows to 4' tall and 5' wide with exquisite blooms as much as 5" across. A bonus: as cut flowers in a vase, its long-stemmed blossoms last up to two weeks.

'Fragrant Cloud'
This hybrid tea rose developed in Germany in 1963 is classic for an intense fragrance described as "fruity," "tangerine-orange," and "strongly citrus." Indeed, 'Fragrant Cloud' won the James Alexander Gamble Fragrance Award in 1970. Other awards: the National Rose Society Presidents International Trophy, the Portland Gold Medal, and World's Favorite Rose. The plant is vigorous and compact for a hybrid tea and can reach 5 feet tall. Pointed buds open into red-orange blooms 5 inches wide on 18-inch stems. It's a winner in every way.

"Breathtaking" is the word for this floribunda rose. We'd never seen a rose so brilliant red in color or with so many blooms on each stem. 'Showbiz' blooms all season with 6-12 blossoms per stem on plants 2-3' tall. It's been around since 1985, the year it was named an All-American Rose Society Selections winner.

'First Kiss'

Its beauty as poignant as its name, 'First Kiss' is a floribunda rose that bears clusters of sweetly fragrant, semidouble blossoms throughout the season. The plant grows to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide with a bushy habit. It was introduced in 1991.

europeana.jpg'Europeana' is a classic rose developed in Holland, a winner of the Hague Gold Medal and the Golden Rose Award in 1962, All-America Rose Selection status in 1968, and the Portland Gold Medal in 1970. A floribunda, it bears clusters of dark red, fragrant flowers from spring to frost with as many as 20 blossoms on one stem. The plant grows to 3 feet by 3 feet and the foliage is an attractive bronze-green. The scent is said to be "mild tea". A superb landscaping rose, it's spectacular when planted in drifts.

'Betty Boop'

Named for the cartoon character, this shrub rose, which blooms all summer long, was an All-America Rose Selections winner in 1999. A floribunda, it grows 4-5' tall and 2-3' wide. Blossoms are red-edged white with a flush of yellow at the center.


'Sunbright' is the perfect name for this hybrid tea rose. Its blossoms are so brilliantly yellow that they confound the camera. 'Sunbright' blooms abundantly throughout the season. Long, urn-shaped buds open into blossoms up to 5 1/2 inches wide that have a slight fragrance. Plants are tall and handsome with glossy green foliage. 'Sunbright' was the 1984 Jackson & Perkins Rose of the Year.

'Melody Parfumee'
melody-parfumee.jpg'Melody Parfumee,' also known as 'Melody Parfume,' 'Melody Perfume,' and 'Zulu Royal,' is a hybrid tea rose of no little distinction. In 1995 it won both the Bagatelle Gold Medal in Paris and the Baden-Baden Fragrance Prize in Germany. The scent is frequently described as "antique rose" and "French spice." Plum-colored, pointed buds open into rich lavender flowers 4-5 inches wide, then take on a silvery cast. The plant grows to 4 1/2 feet tall. Flowers are borne on 15-inch stems.

'Blueberry Hill'

This distinctive floribunda rose sports lovely lilac-rose, semidouble blooms that have a unique apple-tart fragrance. 'Blueberry Hill' is so fragrant, in fact, that gardeners say a single bloom in a bouquet can scent an entire room. Plants are vigorous with glossy green foliage and reach about 3 feet tall. An increasingly popular rose.

'Simply Marvelous'

This floribunda rose, introduced in 2002, grows to 3 feet with pale lavendar blooms bearing a moderate, pleasantly sweet scent. It's one of the Jackson & Perkins "New Generation" roses, meaning that it's grown on its own root system, not grafted, and therefore survives even extreme winters and blooms the next season true to type.

This beautiful hybrid tea rose from New Zealand is known especially for its elegant appearance. Blooms are a luminous yellow that open to 4 1/2 inches wide. The fragrance is light and spicy. The plant is vigorous, upright, grow to 6 feet tall, and is a generous bloomer. Long stems and long duration in the vase make it a superb cut flower as well. Curiously enough, 'Aperitif' is often listed in catalogs as 'Apertif.' Oh, well, a rose by any other name....

'Spice Twice'

This hybrid tea rose sports long buds with a high center that open into double, coral-orange blooms with a creamy reverse. The plant is quite vigorous with long, straight stems and dark green foliage. It grows as tall as 5 feet and blooms generously throughout the season. The blossoms have a mild fragrance of ginger.

'Double Delight'
_double_delight_.jpgThe blossoms of this famed hybrid tea rose, 'Double Delight,' are white edged with red, becoming redder as they mature. They have 40 petals each and a strong spicy-fruit scent. The plant grows to 4 feet tall with dark green foliage and blooms profusely and continuously throughout the season. Introduced in 1977, 'Double Delight' was honored with an American Rose Society Gold Medal and a World Federation of Rose Society Award.


This exquisite rose has satiny white blooms with a light honeysuckle fragrance. Its exceptionally lovely pink-tinted buds open into blossoms 4-5 inches wide on 15-inch stems. 'Honor' grows to 4 feet tall.

'Easy Going'

'Easy Going' is true to its name. Exceptionally easy to grow, this floribunda rose flowers freely throughout the season, bearing double golden yellow blooms with a touch of apricot. A vigorous grower and highly disease-resistant, the plant has very glossy deep-green leaves and a bushy habit that can reach 3 feet tall by 4 feet. wide. The blossoms have a light fruit scent. An outstanding landscape plant.

'Purple Heart'

'Purple Heart' is a free-flowering floribunda rose whose blossoms have a fragrance of cloves and other spices. The blooms turn a deeper purple in color when temperatures are cool. The plant is vigorous, bushy, rounded and of medium height.

'Belinda's Dream'

Introduced in 1992, 'Belinda's Dream' is considered a superb landscape rose by virtue of its vigor, high disease resistance, and large, fragrant, double pink blossoms that appear in flushes of bloom from spring to frost. The plant grows 3-6 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. It performs beautifully as a specimen plant, shrub, hedge, or mass planting and is also good for cut flowers.

'Burgundy Iceberg'
The 'Burgundy Iceberg' floribunda rose, introduced in 2007, is beloved by gardeners for its glossy-green foliage and especially abundant production of showy clusters of flowers in deep-purple-burgundy with cream highlights. The plant has a neat rounded, bushy habit. Seemingly always in bloom, it grows to 3 feet tall with a similar spread. 'Burgundy Icebert' works beautifully as a specimen plant in the garden or massed in the landscape.

peace.jpg'Peace' is believed to be the all-time most famous and most successful rose. A hybrid tea, its blossoms are 5-6 inches in width, sweetly fragrant, contain 40 petals, and are golden yellow in color with blushing pink edging. The plant grows 4-6 feet tall with a 24-inch spread. Note: Originally named 'Madame A. Meilland' the name 'Peace' was requested by its developer, French horticulturist Francis Meilland, as a more enduring appellation. The new name was announced on April 29, 1945, the day Berlin surrendered to the Allies in World War II.

'Cinco de Mayo'
cinco-de-mayo.jpgThe 'Cinco de Mayo' rose is as festive as its name says. An offspring of the famed 'Julia Child' rose, this floribunda rose provides a profusion of flower clusters all season long. The blossoms are a unique smoky red-orange with a scent of fresh apple and the foliage glossy green with dark red new growth. Other virtues include a rounded, bushy habit that makes it superb for hedges and landscape plantings and very high disease resistance. The plant grows 3-4 feet tall with a similar spread.

'Pope John Paul II'

Debuted by Jackson & Perkins to honor the late John Paul II, this rose features pristine white blossoms with a crisp, clean, citrusy fragrance. This hybrid tea rose also features deep green, glossy leaves and grows upright to 5 feet tall. Note:
With high test-garden ratings in every category, 'Pope John Paul II' is praised by a great many rose aficionados as "the best white rose ever."


Gardeners love the 'Vavoom' floribunda rose for its glowing bright orange color, glossy green leaves, and mahogany red new growth, whith put it easily among the cheeriest and most striking roses to be found in gardens or landscapes. The plant grows to 3 feet tall and as wide, with a neat rounded, compact habit. Bonus: the blossoms have a strong, fruity, citrus fragrance.

'St. Patrick'

'St. Patrick' gets its name from its most curious coloration: as temperatures rise, its chartreuse blossoms take on a green cast. This hybrid tea rose has silvery-green foliage and grows to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Bonus: The flowers make superb cut flowers.


'Sunstruck' is a highly appealing hybrid tea rose with large blooms a pale apricot in color and foliage of a very deep green. The plant grows upright and reaches 4-5 feet tall. The double blossoms have a moderate, fruity fragrance. The rose gets its name from a bright yellow fan pattern on the back of each petal.


'Voluptuous' is a lush hybrid tea rose with dark green foliage and satiny, fuchsia-pink blossoms with asweet fragrance. Tall and upright, it grows  to 5 feet tall. Note: This was the Jackson & Perkins Rose of the Year in 2005.

'Distant Drums'
'Distant Drums' is a vigorous modern shrub rose that, amazingly, produces clusters of reddish-purple double blossoms that open to reveal beautiful apricot centers. Flowers may change color unpredictably as they age. The foliage is dark green and the plant grows upright 2-5 feet tall and as wide. Said to be highly susceptible to disease and pests, it will do well if given the right controls.


'Moondance' is a lovely floribunda rose that was an All-America Rose in 2007. It features large clusters of prestine white double blossoms on 14-18-inch stems, and the blooms have a rich raspberry fragrance. Glossy dark green foliage makes a dramatic background for the white flowers. The plant is vigorous and grows 5-6 feet tall.


'Scentimental' stands out vividly in the garden with its red and white variegation, and it has other charms as well. A free-blooming floribunda rose, it bears 4-inch-wide blossoms with a sweet spice fragrance and also provides luxuriantly rich, glossy green foliage. It grows to 4 feet tall and 3 1/2 feet wide. 'Scentimental' is the first striped rose to be named an All-America Rose Selection. The photo at right shows how striking it is when viewed from any perspective.

A Closer Look

The 'Scentimental' flower viewed more closely reveals more of its unique coloration and pattern.


'Starina' is a miniature rose with glossy green leaves and an abundance of red-orange blossoms each about an inch wide. The plant can grow to 24 inches tall and as wide, making it excellent for low borders and mass plantings in the landscape. Disease resistance is very high. Note: 'Starina' also has the distinction of being the American Rose Society's highest-rated miniature rose.

'Crimson Bouquet'

'Crimson Bouquet' is a grandiflora rose famed for producing a great abundance of bright red blossoms on glossy, deep green foliage. The plant grows to 3 feet wide and 4 feet tall and is unusually vigorous, highly disease resistant, and extra cold-hardy. An All America Rose Selection in 2000, it does beautifully in the Ozarks.


'Shockwave' is a floribunda rose with very glossy green foliage and an abundance of beautiful blossoms so yellow they fairly glow in the garden. The blooms are mildly fragrant and hold their color till they fall and the plant grows in a neat, rounded habit to 3 feet tall and as wide. Gorgeous in the garden or landscape, this rose is also especially attractive in containers.


A closer look at 'Shockwave' reveals the full richness of its color.

'Prairie Star'

'Prairie Star' is a vigorous and highly engaging shrub rose with glossy green foliage and a great profusion of striking double blossoms white to very pale peach in color. The flowers also have a green apple scent and in cooler weather will take on a pink blush. The plant grows in a neatly rounded habit and in time can reach as tall as 4 feet with a similar spread.

'Angel Face'

'Angel Face' is a floribunda rose that bears a great abundance of unusually lovely, ruffled rich-lavendar. semi-double blossoms with ruby blushes at the edges. The foliage is dark green and the plant grows to 3 feet tall and as wide. Bonuses: 'Angel Face' is exceptionally fragrant, and this remarkable rose also will do well with some shade.

White Prairie Rose

The White Prairie Rose (Rosa foliolosa) is a small rose native to Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. It grows to a height of 1-2 feet with a similar spread.

'Radiant Perfume'

Jackson & Perkins calls the 'Radiant Perfume' Rose "Our most fragrant yellow rose ever, with an irresistible, strong citrus scent that's simply out of this world." To be sure, the blossoms of this  hybrid tea are wonderfully fragrant and their color a cheery note in any garden. Unfortunately, the only photo we have so far is of this nearly spent bloom, but we hope to correct that this spring, as in full fettle the long-stemmed flowers are truly beautiful. 'Radiant Perfume' also has dark green, glossy foliage and grows to 4 feet tall with a 5-6 foot spread.

'Crystal Fairy'

'Crystal Fairy' is a shrub rose that throughout the season bears a profusion of small, apple-scented, snow white blossoms that play well against its dark green, glossy leaves. Perfect especially for smaller gardens and containers, the plant has a nicely rounded growth habit and grows to 3-4 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

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