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Garden Tour & Dedications

by Marilyn Wellan

June 5, 2021 was a special day for so many reasons. It did not represent the completion of the Great Garden Restoration Project, but it was an occasion to commemorate a number of milestones at different garden sites that have been completed within America’s Rose Garden, even as the four circles of the “Watchworks Gardens” are being installed. And since that day, we are thrilled to have received the funding for the last two of the four circular gardens!

June 5th was the third day of a weekend of activities planned for the American Rose Society Board of Directors. At a gala dinner on June 3rd, President Bob Martin was honored with the Mary Johnston Award for his unprecedented support of the gardens as president. On June 4th, the Board held its spring meeting at Klima Rose Hall. On June 5th, the public was invited to join board members for a day of “Garden Tours and Dedications.”

We first noted improvements to our reception and meeting rooms, including new paint, carpet, chandeliers, wall sconces, exterior doors and drapes. We then moved into the gardens for the tour which began with a ribbon-cutting for the “Lions Legacy Garden & Pavilion.” Area Lions raised funds for their Centennial project – and chose America’s Rose Garden as the location where their funds would be “invested in the community.” We are thrilled to have the new Lions’ Pavilion, the paths, handicap ramp, fence and walls, all of which created a new entrance for the Gardens.

The tour continued to the sweetest spot in the garden, now known as “Donna’s Rose Garden.” It was donated by Donna Griffin’s family in her memory because it had been the site of family weddings, garden walks, and it helped them remember their mother’s love for our Roses.

We passed through and noted McFarland Plaza, and then stopped at the donor pedestal for the FIRST CIRCLE of the “Watchworks Gardens”, which honors Dr. and Mrs. Charles Beaird, and other donors who made the installation possible. On to the SECOND CIRCLE where Andrew Shehee was recognized for his gift to the gardens in memory of his mother, benefactor Virginia K. Shehee. The just completed SECOND CIRCLE also received a large and beautiful rose arbor, donated by the San Diego Rose Society in honor of President Bob Martin. We stopped to appreciate the numerous plantings of landscape trees and shrubs given to the Gardens by Dean and Carol Oswald and Chambersville Tree Farms.

A stroll around the main circular walkway took us to the “Deep South Garden of the Knock Out Family of Roses” in an area of other gardens which are collectively known as the Sustainability section. The next stop on the Tour was the new “Claude & Pamela Graves ‘Secret Garden,’” carved out of the edge of the woodlands, where a 90’ wide x 10’ high disappearing fence is planted with a collection of Rambler roses. This garden was designed by Claude Graves to be the site of weddings and small performances.

The Tour moved through the Asian Gardens to arrive at the magnificent “Windsounds Carillon Towers”, the towering 30’ garden’s signature, newly refurbished and painted, all white and beaming in the sunlight. The family of the designer, Calvin Bishop who created Windsounds about 50 years before, was on hand for the rededication ceremony. The area around Windsounds is the site of the ARC International Rose Trials.

Making our way back to the circular walkway, we passed the “Angel of Hope Sculpture Garden” and arrived at the new “David & Sandy ‘Never Forget’ Garden”, a garden under the American flag that honor Veterans who have served our nation.

After a great hamburger lunch, Claude Graves was honored with the ARS Klima Honor Medal and delivered the Klima Lecture titled “Fifty Years of Roses . . . and Still Counting.” Two excellent presentations by Bob Byers and Michael Shoup completed the day’s activities.


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