Straw Hats at van der Goot Rose Garden
The Middlesex County Master Gardeners sponsored a trip to the Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden. The original date of the trip was changed due to a death in the family of the MG that was leading the tour. For some reason, I wasn’t on the list of MG’s that were going so I was never notified about the date change. No matter. I had invited “A” to come as my guest so we converted it into a Straw Hat Adventure.
The van der Goot Rose Garden is one acre in size and contains more than 3,000 roses of 325 varieties. As an AARS display garden, it displays AARS award winners including the current winners one year before their release to the public. The garden was named in honor of Rudolf W. van der Goot, the first horticulturist with the Somerset County Park Commission.
The garden is divided into three sections. The first section is part of the original Mettler Estate which was once a working farm. The flagstone walks and pond are original to the estate.
The pond had me confused for a bit. My first reaction was that I didn’t know of a single rose that enjoys having its feet wet. Then I realized that none of them do and that the rosebed was separate from the pond.
The second section of the garden is framed by a trellis which supports a variety of climbing roses.
I really loved this trellis because it looks like a simple arbor and could be very effective in a small space. Like my tiny yard!
The third section is called the Dutch Garden and is designed in the formal Dutch Style with raised beds which are framed by low growing perennials.
This is another structure that I loved. There is a bench inside of it. The combination of clematis and climbing roses was used both on these arbors (there is another facing it on the other side of the garden) and the trellis in the previous garden. I’ve never seen that combination before. It works really, really well. I’m definitely stealing that idea!
Other ways that the roses were displayed were as “tree roses”
and along fences.
I saw many familiar roses there such Harison’s Yellow, the Apothecary Rose, Therese Bugnet and Zephirine Drouhin. I had no trouble ID’ing this one:
The Fairy, covered with tiny pink flowers. This next one was a lot tougher. It was so familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
When I saw the tag, my jaw literally dropped. It was Ballerina! I hope mine doesn’t get that big.
We saw some unusual roses.
The Green Rose, which is grown more as an oddity than for its looks.
Speaking of oddities, this is Clothilde Soupert (Polyantha, 1890).
Those round balls are the buds.
Dainty Bess (Hybrid Tea, 1925) caught my eye.
The stamens are red instead of the usual yellow.
There was a wonderful building used as a shed that was probably original to the estate. It has a real slate roof and a gorgeous cottage garden planted around all four sides.
At the far end of the rose garden is the Fragrance and Sensory Garden which is planted specifically for those who are visually or physically impaired. “A” and I agreed that while the plantings were appropriate, the walkways were not. They are of very uneven flagstones that would make navigation by wheelchair or walker extremely difficult and could easily trip up anyone who is visually impaired.
Visitors are encouraged to touch and smell the herbs. Annuals and perennials provide a colorful background.
Look at the size of that Walking Onion!
We concluded our day with a stroll through the Perennial Garden located within the same park. It is five acres in size and was originally established as a lilac collection.
All of the gardens we visited are part of the Arboretum at Colonial Park, a 144 acre living tree museum with flowering trees, evergreens, shade trees, dwarf conifers and flowering shrubs. It was established to display ornamental trees and shrubs which grow well in central New Jersey.
We couldn’t figure out why all of the Blue Spruces were, ahem, topless. Any arborists out there who would care to enlighten us?
It seemed that everywhere I looked in the Rose Garden, the Fragrance Garden and here again in the Perennial Garden, I saw Rose Campion. I lost mine over the winter, victims of the unusual weather. Seeing them brightening the beds makes me determined to try them again.
“A” and I loved these gardens so much that we are coming back on July 21 for the Garden Party featuring lectures, workshops and plants for sale. Join us! Just look for our Straw Hats.
More photos of our tour can be found on Flickr.
Special thanks to "A" for so graciously posing to provide scale in the photos.