Connecticut has so much to offer for nature lovers – including a large selection of parks, nature reserves, gardens, and other beautiful natural settings. The Rose Garden in Elizabeth Park may be the most iconic among them. This famous garden opened in 1904 and was the first municipal rose garden in the United States. It is still the third largest in the country today. Our Connecticut adoption agents love taking family visits here and think that all Connecticut families should see the garden in person at least once. Some interesting aspects of the Elizabeth Park Rose Garden include:
In 1903, Theodore Wirth began designing the garden. It was completed and opened in 1904, beginning with approximately 190 varieties of roses. By the 1950s, their collection had swelled to nearly 1,000 varieties. The rose garden became the first official test garden for the American Rose Society in 1912, with the intention to test and gather information on roses for the public. When this happened, a half-circular section of the garden was added to the south side of the main square. In 1937, the American Rose Society asked the garden to add an additional semi-circle, which was the final addition to the 2.5-acre garden as we know it today.
Features of the Garden
The “square” is the original main garden, measuring an acre in size and featuring 132 rose beds. The original design of a square and center circle with eight pathways remains intact today. In total, there are 475 rose beds and eight grass pathways. The pathways were designed wide in order to allow for large crowds.
The garden has a total of over 15,000 rose bushes and 800 varieties of both old and new roses. Some noteworthy varieties include:
- Hybrid Tea
- Hybrid Perpetual
- Pillar Roses
- Austin Roses
- Arch Roses
There is a Rustic Summer House, or gazebo, which is adorned in Ramblers overgrowing its arches. The Gazebo is as old as the garden it itself, built in 1904 as part of Wirth’s original plan. However, in 2005 it was reconstructed with the original plans using red cedar.
To get the best view of the arches, visit the rose garden in late June or early July. This is when they’re in full bloom and are truly a sight to behold. They only bloom once. Several other varieties of roses found in the garden bloom all the way until fall. We highly recommend stopping by the rose garden, the gazebo, and the arches during any visit to Elizabeth Park.