Cranford Rose Garden
The Cranford Rose Garden has been one of BBG’s most popular attractions since it first opened in 1928. In June, when the roses are in full bloom, tens of thousands of blossoms cascade down arches, climb up lattices, clamber over the pavilion, and pose in formal beds. Here, in one of the largest collections in North America, over a thousand kinds of roses are cultivated.
The Cranford Rose Garden is a repository for roses both old and modern, including wild species, old garden roses, hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, polyanthas, hybrid perpetuals, climbers, ramblers, and miniatures. Some of the original roses planted in 1927 are still in the garden today.
The Cranford Rose Garden is named for subway engineer and garden patron Walter Cranford, who donated the entire $15,000 cost of its initial construction. First designed by Harold A. Caparn and planted in 1927, the garden has undergone several renovations to become one of the largest and most revered rose collections in North America. With many All-America Rose Selections (AARS) winners as well as old garden roses and historically significant cultivars, the Rose Garden beautifully displays the horticultural legacy of this beloved flower.
In 2009, rose rosette disease (RRD) devastated many of the plants in the southern beds and led to a major renovation, remediation, and restoration of the garden.
Sarah Owens is the curator of the historic Cranford Rose Garden and the Rose Arc Pool. Prior to joining BBG, Sarah worked as the head gardener at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, where she helped select the plant material, installed and maintained the seasonal plantings of annuals, perennials, and bulbs throughout borders and containers, and attended to the seasonal pruning of shrubs in the museum’s historic English-style gardens. At the Battery Park Conservancy garden, located in lower Manhattan, Sarah worked to improve the garden’s aesthetics according to Piet Oudolf’s design, including plantings, cutbacks, and removals. Sarah also helped design and install the Native Plant Meadow and an edible garden there.
Sarah is an honors graduate of the School of Professional Horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden, where she helped renovate the Peggy Rockefeller rose collection at NYBG. Owens also has a BA in sculpture from Bellarmine University, Louisville, Kentucky, where she earned a Merit Scholarship from the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.
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Restoration of the Cranford Rose Garden
With more than a thousand different species and varieties, the Cranford Rose Garden is home to one of the most diverse rose selections in the country. Within its gates one can find a wide representation of species and heritage roses as well as prizewinning new cultivars developed for their beauty, disease resistance, and ease of care. In addition to presenting a lovely, fragrant landscape, the garden's display of recently introduced selections helps rose lovers make informed choices about what to grow in their own gardens, and its renowned collection of species and heritage varieties preserves the genetic diversity of roses.