For gardeners, the appeal of the rose is not only its beauty and fragrance, but also its variety. Roses come in different habits, a wide range of sizes, and in diverse shades.
I am not a rose gardener. Thorny stems, aphids, and diseases like “powdery mildew”, “black spot”, and “rust” have been enough to persuade me to leave these plants in more capable hands. So I love to visit other people’s rose gardens and have a deep respect for what they accomplish. Success in growing any plant requires the right soil, light, and water conditions, but I believe that roses require more – a positive attitude in the face of so many obstacles. French author Alphonse Karr captured what I mean well, “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” (from A Tour Round My Garden, 1856)
I recently had a chance to visit the Rudolf W. van der Goot rose garden at Colonial Park. It sits off the beaten path East Millstone, New Jersey and the rose garden was particularly magical.
The one-acre garden contains over 3,000 roses across 325 varieties. Its mission is to inspire home gardeners and to celebrate “old roses,” ones popular before World War II. It was created by Dutch horticulturalist Rudolph van der Goot in the 1950’s on what had been the formal garden of the Mettler Estate.
The garden continues with the Estate’s formal layout. The flagstone paving is original. Pink knock-out roses and boxwood hedges provide an elegant welcome. From there an axis runs along the main walk to a sunken “Dutch Garden” in the back. Rectangular plots surround a central circular fountain. Pergolas and arbors provide height and focal points. Brick marks the transition from one section to anther.
This garden’s collection is expansive. It contains Hybrid Teas such as “Broadway” and “Double Delight,” Floribundas “Iceberg” and “Scentimental,” and Grandifloras such as “Love” and “Camelot.” The shrubs have optimistic names such as “Knock out” and “Home Run.” Miniature roses come in both shrub and climbing habit. The climbers “City of York” and “American Pillar” steal the show.
The Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden is an accredited All-America Rose Selections display garden and open to the public as part of the Somerset County Park system. It won the 2015 World Federation of Rose Societies’ Garden of Excellence award.
For rose gardening inspiration, don’t miss this one.