Phelps Grove Roses
A most unusual Rose Garden makes its home in Springfield, Missouri's Phelps Grove Park.
Where nearly all public rose gardens highlight hybrid tea roses, this garden, a project of the Springfield-Greene County Parks Department, displays some 100 roses that include a few hybrid teas and a great many more shrub, miniature, and other lower-maintenance roses.
Believed to date back to the park's creation as a CCC project in the 1930's, the garden today because of budgetary constraints is tended by only one person, Ruth Smelser, a commercial photographer who has now been working with it for 18 years.
Beyond displaying beautiful roses, the Phelps Grove Rose Garden provides visitors an absolutely unique opportunity to see and learn about a great many types and varieties that are more versatile in the garden and landscape and, in addition, easier to care for.
That said, here is the garden. Note: Please bear with us for a bit, as we have many more roses to add.
The handcrafted sign above, created by the parks department stands at the main entry to the garden. This clematis, most likely the variety 'The President', is the first planting on the structure.
|Ruth at Work|
The new sign structure replaces this old and rickety metal arbor, now relocated to the east end of the garden. Here it frames Ruth Smelser as she goes about her work. As the only person now tending the garden, Ruth faces a formidable task in attempting to keep up with more than 100 rose plants.
The east side of the garden features a brick entryway and hedge.
Regarding the garden's design, Ruth says the effect she most strives for is "Serendipity." She hopes for visitors to be pleasantly surprised as often as possible as they go through the garden. We think she succeeds. Keeping the garden beautiful takes about 15 hours of her time each week, she says, adding, "It makes me happy."
The Home Run Rose is a winner all the way. It bears an abundance of richly flame-red single flowers with cheery yellow centers all season long and has excellent resistance to blackspot. and total resistance to mildew. This shrub rose grows 3-4 feet tall and as wide and superb in the garden or landscape. Introduced in 2006 by Weeks Roses, Home Run is descended from the Knock Out rose, 'Baby Love', and 'City of San Francisco'.
'Bonica' is a very special rose indeed. Named an All-America Rose in 1987, it was subsequently voted the World's Favorite Rose in 1997 by the World Federation of Rose Societies. 'Bonica' bears large sprays of mildly fragrant pink flowers on dark green foliage all season long. This bushy rose can grow 4-8 feet tall. Note: The flowers are said to be edible.
|'Captain Harry Stebbings'|
'Captain Harry Stebbings' is a highly popular hybrid tea rose for its highly fragrant, deep pink flowers. The plant grows upright to 6 feet tall and has good disease resistance.
'Carefree Sunshine' has been called by many "the best yellow shrub rose" for its compact, mounding habit, glossy medium-green foliage, and abundance of bright yellow flowers from May to frost. The flowers are semi-double, 3-4 inches wide, and appear 4 per floral stem. The plant grows to 4 feet tall and as wide and likes full sun and medium moisture. It's highly resistant to blackspot but highly susceptible to mildew and therefore must have good air circulation.
|'Carefree Sunshine' Buds|
The buds of 'Carefree Sunshine' are exceptionally attractive and, as noted, appear four per stem.
The 'Gene Boerner' floribunda rose is a favorite with many gardeners for its abundance of medium pink, slightly fragrant flowers all season long. Often described as "super vigorous," the plant grows to 4 feet tall and is excellent for borders, hedges, and mass plantings. Note: 'Gene Boerner' is named for the famed Jackson & Perkins hybridizer who developed some 60 floribunda roses in his lifetime, 11 of which received given All-America Rose Selections awards.
|A Wet White Miniature|
We've no idea what variety this miniature rose is, but we'll try to find out. We just liked the shape of the blossoms and the water from the drip irrigator. As for losing the details in the white petals, Ruth, as noted a professional photographer, explained to us that because of glare, direct sun is not at all the digital photographer's friend. We appreciated the point, as it explained no few of our own problematic photos.
'Nicole' is an exceptionally beautiful bicolor floribunda rose with semi-double flowers that are basically white with blushes of color that may range from pale pink to red. The blossoms appear in large clusters in summer and autumn. The plant grows 2-3 feet tall with a similar spread. It is susceptible to disease, especially in humid areas like the Ozarks, and may require some care.
'Fuchsia Meidiland' is a shrub rose that bears a profusion e of saucer-like mauve pink flowers all season long. Growing into a mound 2 feet high and 4 feet wide, it makes an excellent groundcover or garden plant. It's also highly disease resistant.
|A Pink Miniature|
This rose wasn't labeled, but it's clearly a miniature and we had to include it because, well, we love it.
One of the relatively few hybrid tea roses in the garden, 'Paradise' was an All-America Rose Selection in 1979, and for good reason. Gardeners love it for its exceptional vigor, prolific blooming, and the beauty of its almost-bicolor blossoms. A winner in any garden, this rose is also known as 'Burning Sky' and 'Passion'.
'Memorial Day' is a hybrid tea rose of real distinction. An All-America Rose Selection in 2004, it features very large, full blossoms with more than 50 petals, unusually long cutting stems, and rich green foliage. The flower is almost singularly fragrant and the color a beautiful pink touched with lavender. The plant grows upright to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide, and disease resistance is very good.
'Morden Fireglow' is an exceptionally compact shrub rose with very fragrant red-orange flowers all season long. It grows vigorously to 1 1/2-3 feet tall by 2-3 feet wide and is ideal for beds, borders, and containers.
'Iceberg' is often referred to by gardeners and garden writers as "the best white rose of all time." This floribunda rose grows into a mounding shrub 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide and is covered throughout the season with pure-white double flowers with a distinct honey fragrance, making it superb for beds, borders, hedges, or mass landscape plantings. Bonus: 'Iceberg' is also available as a climbing rose, in which form it's been known to reach 30 feet in length.
'Wild Thing' is a shrub rose often described as "spectacular" and "breathtaking." It blooms in flushes throughout the season with an amazing abundance of very striking coral pink flowers with yellow centers and white throats. It grows to 4 feet tall and as wide and disease resistance is good, making it a marvelous rose in beds, borders, or the landscape.
'Nearly Wild' is a newly developed floribunda shrub rose with the beloved "wild rose" look so desired today. Growing 2-3 feet tall, it bears large clusters of fragrant single pink roses all season long. Ideal for borders, containers, barriers, and mass plantings, this rose also attracts butterflies and is excellent for cut flowers.
'Lavender Simplicity' is one of the 'Simplicity' series of roses called hedge roses that were developed to provide 4-5-foot tall walls of color. These roses are known for their vigor, disease resistance, and clusters of beautiful flowers all summer long. 'Lavender Simplicity' stands out especially for its rich, orange-blossom fragrance. The series also includes yellow, pink, and white roses.
is a hybrid tea rose believed by many to be "the best red rose" for its rich, leathery green foliage; large, velvety, dark-red blossoms; and
intense fragrance. The blooms can be 6 inches in diameter and the plant 6 feet or
more tall. An All-America Rose Selection in 1965, 'Mr. Lincoln' continues to win
devotees. An extremely vigorous grower, it's of course best suited for the back of
the rose bed.
|'Brilliant Pink Iceberg'|
'Brilliant Pink Iceberg' is a floribunda rose with dark green foliage and clusters of beautiful, deep-pink semi-double flowers from spring to frost. The blossoms are mildly fragrant and their color deepens in cooler weather. Great for mass plantings, borders, and hedges, grows upright, bushy, and rounded and can reach 3 1/2 feet tall and as wide.
|'Graham Thomas' (?)|
In 2009 the 'Graham Thomas' rose received the voted award as the World's Favourite Rose by the World Federation of Rose Societies, which represents 41 member countries. The blossom color is officially described as "an unusually rich and pure yellow." So why is this rose closer to white with the merest hint of yellow? We haven't a clue, but we'll try to find out. At any rate, this medium shrub or short climbing English rose is bred by David Austin Roses and named after famed rosarian Graham Stuart Thomas. The plant is very hardy and a repeat bloomer and the flowers have a strong tea fragrance.
|'Touch of Class'|
'Touch of Class' is a hybrid tea rose considered a classic for its lovely, large coral pink flowers and graceful, dark green foliage. The plant has a beautiful vase shape, can reach 6 feet tall, and blooms from spring to frost. The flowers are 5-7 inches wide with long stems, making it a favorite of exhibitors.
'Sunsprite' is a highly popular floribunda rose that bears a profusion of bright yellow double, ruffled flowers all season long from spring to frost. The plant is compact and grows upright to about 3 feet tall and as wide. Borne in clusters, the blossoms have an intense, sweetly spicy fragrance.
'Cherish' is a favorite of many, many gardeners. A cluster-flowered floribunda rose, it produces beautiful, perfectly formed, shell-pink flowers all season long. The blossoms have a slight spicy scent. The plant is compact and symmetrical and grows to 4 feet in height. Withal, this one is a superb choice for the garden.
|A September View|
The 'Carefree Wonder' rose, a 1991 All-America Rose Selection, is aptly named, given its spectacular profusion of bright pink flowers from spring till frost, glossy green foliage, compact habit, vigorous growth, and high disease resistance. The plant grows 3-4 feet tall and as wide and the semidouble blooms are 4 inches wide and deepen in color in cooler weather. A Bonus: Fall and winter rose hips are bright orange.
|'Flower Carpet Red'|
|East Entrance in September|
|Hyacinth Bean Pods|
|Glory in the Morning|
|An Unlabeled Beauty|
|The Sunflower That Ate Seattle|
What else can we about this monstrous sunflower some seven feet in length with a five-inch-thick stem?
|'Carefree' Up Close|
|Unknown But Nice|
|'Lady Elsie May'|
|Phelps Grove Roses Sign|
|South Entrance Roses|
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