This summer day I decide to take my five-year-old granddaughter Ainsley to the American Rose Society Public Gardens, located just west of Shreveport, Louisiana. It’s only an hour’s drive from our East Texas homes.
Ahead of our visit I read that the gardens exist to promote the culture, preservation and appreciation of the rose, and to improve its standard of excellence for all people, through education and research. The society was established in 1892 in Washington, DC. The society established offices at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania before relocating in 1954 to Columbus, Ohio.
In 1974 the society and gardens moved to Louisiana motivated by the region’s sandy and well-drained soil, longer blooming season, and national accessibility enhanced by Interstate 20.
As it turns out, I will learn, the prime times to visit the gardens are spring and fall, not the middle of July. There’s no one here except one friendly maintenance man.
But that’s OK, Ainsley and I wander from one blooming bush to the next. The blooms are sparce, but we seek out just the right flowers to photograph.
The park is nation’s largest park dedicated to roses, it is divided into small plots featuring companion plants, sculptures and fountains, including a grand reflection pool. Ainsley and I spent more than an hour here. A great day in the bosom of the summer south.
Admission is a $5 donation. The gardens are open April 1 through October 31. During the holidays the gardens are magically transformed into a winter wonderland of twinkling lights – Christmas at Roseland.
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