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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


OARDC Heirloom Rose Garden, One of Largest in U.S., Holds June 11 Open House

June 1, 2011

WOOSTER, Ohio -- Their roots go back a century or more. They survived a tornado last fall. And they’re having a party soon.

Secrest Arboretum’s Garden of Roses of Legend and Romance, one of the largest collections of heirloom roses in the United States, will hold a free public open house June 11.

Most of the garden’s 1,500 specimens, representing 500 varieties, will be blooming. There will be rose experts on site, self-guided walking tours and a sale of heirloom rose plants. Hours are 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

The arboretum and garden are part of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), 1680 Madison Ave., in Wooster. Follow signs on the campus to the arboretum.

For more information, call 330-263-3612 or visit the garden’s website,

“We want to educate people about what a treasure we have here,” said the garden’s caretaker, Kelly King, an OARDC plant materials specialist and the event’s organizer. “We want people to come out, pack a picnic and enjoy the roses, especially in their peak bloom, which is usually right around the first couple of weeks of June.”

Also called antique, or old-fashioned, roses, heirloom roses are kinds that were grown before the advent of modern hybrid roses. Some types date to the 1700s. They’re known in part for their ease of care and also for their fragrance.

A tornado hit OARDC and the arboretum last September. Buildings and greenhouses were damaged, more than 1,000 trees went down, but almost all the roses survived.

Also on June 11 in the arboretum is a free public bird walk, 9-11 a.m., led by members of the Greater Mohican Audubon Society. Meet at the Seaman Orientation Plaza, located right across the road from the rose garden.

OARDC is the research arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

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Kurt Knebusch
Kelly King