The Rose Garden at Huntington Park is our city’s gift to the community. The garden is located in historic Huntington Park which was donated to the City of Newport News in 1924 by Henry E. Huntington, an official of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. He was the nephew of Collis P. Huntington (1821-1900) who brought the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway to Newport News Point in the 1880’s and founded the modern city of Newport News. During the 1960’s our city decided that we needed a public rose garden. The garden opened in 1970 as a joint effort between the city and the Virginia Peninsula Rose Society. The garden has been added to and renovated many times over the last 38 years. In the spring of 2008, 25 beds had total soil replacement to a depth of 18 inches and new roses were planted which included 54 new varieties and a trellis was installed (photo to the left) to the main entrance of the garden with “New Dawn” climbing roses (not in bloom at the moment unfortunately). All of the projects are supported through donations. This garden can be reserved for weddings and tours as well as educational programs to learn more about growing roses. There are 74 varieties in the 1000 bush garden which include Hybrid Teas, Grandifloras, Floribundas, Climbers, Shrub and Miniature Roses. Most of the roses planted were chosen for their adaptability and hardiness. In the 1980’s trellises were added in four beds to grow climbing roses and brick edging borders were installed in the beds. On the trellis to the left they planted “Don Juan” climbing roses. They are a beautiful deep red fragrant climber. You can see the brick edging and the formal layout of the beds. There are miniature white “Cinderella” roses planted around the border of this bed. The opposite side of the garden has trellises with “Iceberg” climbing roses. The beds were arranged by color and grouped by variety with plaques attached to the brick edging to identify each variety. The city has hired a rosarian team to maintain the gardens. I found several varieties that I would like to grow in my own garden. For example, this beautiful red rose (picture to the right) is the Hybrid Tea “Opening Night”. While a lot of the roses were getting ready for their second big flush and trying to recover from a week of rain, this diva was in full glory. Another rose that caught my eye was this charming yellow rose called “Mellow Yellow” (picture to the left). The blooms were buttery yellow with a white striping almost on their outer petals. I love yellow roses, but it has been my experience that they don’t seem to be as robust and hardy in my garden as say the red and pink rose varieties. This one seems to be an exception to that though. In fact, I think I would be willing to give this variety a try in my rose bed. I also noticed that it didn’t seem to be as susceptible to the dreaded “black spot” as some of the other hybrid teas they had growing there. Of course, we have had quite a lot of rain so far this summer and that has probably caused some problems with fungus and other diseases in The Rose Garden, especially with the amount of hybrid teas they have planted there. They also have an area devoted to the “Knockout” collection of roses on the market now. I have those growing in my own garden and have found them quite hardy and almost completely void of disease. But I have to say my favorite part was the gazebo that was located in the center of the garden. Isn’t this a charming place to sit and enjoy not only the beauty of these roses but the simple elegance of this formal setting in the middle of a city park? Wouldn’t you just love to just spend the afternoon here with a book absorbing all of nature around you? I know I would, and I hope you enjoyed the visit to The Rose Garden at Huntington Park in Newport News, Virginia. Another treasure my city should be proud to exhibit to the public and visitors to our area.