Happy 100th, Stanley Park Roses
With a budget of $3600, the Stanley Park Rose Garden opened in 1920. The donation came courtesy of the Kiwanis Club who wanted to ‘demonstrate the possibilities of rose culture in Vancouver, The City Beautiful.’ Forty-seven years later, Vancouverites chose the rose as our city’s official flower.
Now, in its centennial year, the garden boasts 60 beds and more than 3,000 roses up for the blooming. We have: Ramblers, Climbers, Hybrid Tea, Long stem roses, Julia Child, Pink Beverleys, English form, Boulevard, Shrub, Grandiflora, Sweet Fragrance, Floribunda, Desmond Tutu roses, Flamingos.
The Stanley Park Rose Garden has gone through some awkward phases. In 2005, long-time Stanley Park gardener Rick Harrison took over the tending of the roses until his retirement. His extensive work included taking out some otherwise beautiful species – like the pink Brother Cadfael rose – that just did not work in the space. As Harrison told the Vancouver Sun in July of 2010: ““Last year was the first year I was not embarrassed by this garden. “I think today we can start to call it a rose garden again. This year, people have been raving about how good it looks.”
In 2014, a new gardener – Peter Norton – came in to once again rethink the Rose Garden approach, starting with the soil. Stanley Park gardener Jennifer Keskula has also pitched in to ready the rose garden for its second century.
Harding Memorial from Rose Gardens. 1929. City of Vancouver Archives
The memorial, designed by sculptor Charles Marega, was built for President Warren Harding who visited Vancouver in 1923. His speech – loudly cheered by more than 40,000 attendees – was celebrated as the first by a sitting US President in Canada. But then, after a faltering speech in Seattle, Harding suddenly died one week later in San Francisco.
A glimpse of the Harding Memorial, Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C. ~1925-30. Louis Denison Taylor
Stanley Park. Arthur Collier. 1956. City of Vancouver Archives.
Flowers in greenhouse in Stanley Park. 1957. City of Vancouver Archives
Rose Garden Cottage in Stanley Park. ~1986. City of Vancouver Archives
Stanley Park. Guillaume Bourdages. 2020
And while we’re in a rose mood, here is a peek at the Festival of Roses from the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
And their Beginner’s Guide to Growing Roses …
Header Photo: Poppie Pack