Everything's Coming Up Roses
Although June is National Rose Month, Hershey Gardens celebrates roses all summer long with colorful blooms in virtually every hue. From pale yellows and pastel pinks, to vibrant reds and deep purples, the vast assortment of floribunda, grandiflora, shrub, climber and tea roses at Hershey Gardens is truly a sight to behold.
Boasting 3,500 rose bushes in 175 varieties, the Historic Rose Garden takes center stage at Hershey Gardens from early June through early September. Traditional red rose, yellow rose and pink rose varieties are abundantly displayed, as are more unique varieties, including Sentimental, with its marbled red and white petals, and Mardi Gras, with it orange sherbet and neon pink petals, to name a few. Peak bloom for the roses is usually early June, with a second peak in early September. Even outside of peak bloom times, however, one can usually catch a glimpse of the roses anytime in summer.
There’s one particular rose variety that’s holds a special place at Hershey Gardens: the M.S. Hershey rose.
In 1940 the American Rose Society named a rose in honor of Milton Hershey as a way to recognize the chocolate magnate for his love of horticulture. Visitors to Hershey Gardens can enjoy the M.S. Hershey rose in a special part of the garden called the M.S. Hershey Tribute Garden, which showcases 75 M.S. Hershey rose bushes and a special seating area, colorful plants and shrubs.
Roses, in fact, are the primary reason Hershey Gardens was established. In 1936, Mr. Hershey requested that “a nice garden of roses” be created for the community to enjoy. By 1937, Hershey Rose Garden opened. What began as a 3 ½-acre rose garden expanded to 23 acres by 1944. To this day, the original 3 ½-acre rose garden, now called the Historic Rose Garden, has remained virtually identical since 1937.
No words—regardless of how descriptive—come close to the beauty and fragrance one experiences by visiting Hershey Gardens in person when the roses are in bloom. Plan a visit during peak rose season and enjoy the color, the scent—and the history.
Hershey Gardens is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer. For tickets and additional information, please visit HersheyGardens.org.