Although it's not the best kept secret, if you haven't been to the Tyler Rose Garden recently, you should certainly go soon! Tyler is known as the rose capital of the U.S. Field rose production has been a hallmark of Smith County in northeast Texas since the turn of the century. In celebration of the influence the rose industry has had on this area, Tyler developed a first-class rose garden.
This flowering jewel is located in the 1900 block of W. Front Street, just west of downtown Tyler. Known nation-wide for its outstanding display of roses, the Tyler Rose Garden is full of breath-taking beauty, especially in the spring and again in mid-October when the Rose Garden is in full bloom for the annual Texas Rose Festival.
Roses, of course, are the main attraction at the garden, though there are several other features in the 14 acre complex that compliment the roses.
Standing on the balcony of the Rose Garden Center looking over the garden, your senses will be overwhelmed with color when the garden is at its peak of bloom, which in the spring time is right about now!
Row upon row of hybrid tea and floribunda roses invite the visitor to come into the garden to smell and learn. There are at least 400 rose varieties and 30,000 bushes to experience. Every year 2000 or more bushes are replanted every year, keeping the garden current with the newest varieties.
Tyler Rose Garden is one of 24 All American Rose Selection (AARS) test gardens in the country where the newest varieties are evaluated over a two-year period. These are bushes not yet introduced, and the ones that pass the test for vigor, flowering, and disease resistance are then nationally introduced to the gardening public as AARS selections.
Many folks visiting the rose garden bring pad and pencil to write down favorite varieties, making notes on fragrance, color and form.
Climbing roses can be found parts of the garden, some ever blooming, some once bloomers that are solid sheets of color for a month every spring. Large, recently built arbors will enable more climbing roses to be grown in the garden.
You can also find many miniature roses in the Tyler Rose Garden. Miniature roses are just like their bigger cousins in every way but size and are ideal for the gardener with just a little sunny spot who wants a lot of different roses.
One of the newer sections is a large planting of most of David Austin Roses, also known as modern Old English Roses. Not far away is also a section featuring Earthkind Roses, roses selected by Texas Cooperative Extension as being more disease and insect tolerant.
Other attractions located in the Tyler Rose Garden include a meditation garden near quite pools and flowing fountains. The Rose Garden is a popular location for special photographic opportunities such as weddings and other special occasions.
On the southern end of the garden are several other garden features of interest to gardeners. A grove of pine and hardwood trees provide a shaded area ideal for the dozens of large camellias in the Vance Burks Memorial Camellia Garden which light up that end of the garden from November through March. Nearby, the East Texas Daylily Society maintains several daylily beds with hundreds of labeled daylily varieties are in full bloom in early summer. Picnic benches, fountains and teak benches dot area, making this shady retreat a favorite place to sit and enjoy the Garden.
Nestled in the southwestern corner of the garden is the Heritage Rose Garden, a fine collection of antique or heritage roses, including "Penelope", "Martha Gonzales", "Ducher", "Old Blush", and many more - over 50 varieties in all, along with many perennials bloom all summer long. The Heritage Garden is cooperative effort between the Smith Co. Master Gardeners, Dr. Brent Pemberton and the Tyler Parks Department to showcase hardy and colorful roses and perennials in an informal setting. A new irrigation system will support the new plants that are regularly added to the garden.
In a shady bed under the trees is a bed dedicated to testing and displaying plants adapted to shaded condtions. Hostas and ferns are some of the best perennials for shade, grown mainly for their large, attractive leaves. There are hundreds of hostaand fern varieties, and the goal of this area is to identify the best ones of the northeast Texas area. Plants are labeled, and you can decide for yourself which ones are the most appealing to you.
In the spring of 1999, the newest garden within the Tyler Rose Garden - the I.D.E.A. demonstration garden, an award-winning project of the Smith County Master Gardeners, was created. Initally funded by a grant from East Texas Council of Governments, this garden is designed to give visitors gardening ideas to take home and use in their own garden. The IDEA Garden features new and under-utilized plants for East Texas, a bog area, an area devoted to teaching composting, displays of various mulching materials, groundcover plants for sloping areas, a Northeast Texas Winners Circle display, and water-wise landscaping techniques. Signs and handouts interpret the garden and guide the visitors through the displays.
If you're into roses, the Tyler Rose Garden is the place to go and see roses at their best!